(Last Updated on : 18/04/2016)
The Gates of Delhi were built in Delhi
by various rulers of different dynasties. These can be dated from 8th century to 20th century. These gates helped to keep the city secured from any intruders or attacks. There are several gates located in the eight cities of Delhi. However, only few of them have fortunately survived the ravages of time. Rest all other are in ruined state. These gates have been made in a simple way with plain architectural designs. In 1611, the European merchant William Finch had described Delhi as the city of seven castles (forts) and fifty two gates. Many gates were also built during the rule of the Mughal Dynasty and also during the rule of the British Raj. Presently only 13 gates can be seen.
Gates in the First City
In the first city of Delhi, 13 gates were built in the 11th century citadel of Lal Kot. However, only a few of them remain now. These are the Chaumukha, Sohan, Ranjit, Fateh, Hauz Rani, Barka, Badaun and Budayuni gates. Among these the Chaumukha, Ranjit, Sohan and Fateh darwazas are regarded as heritage monuments by the INTACH.
The Chaumukha Darwaza, is the gate way of Lal Kot. It is located close to the Qutub Complex and is conserved by the Archaeological Survey of India
. That architectural style of the gate belongs to the Tuglaq period. The Ranjit gate located towards the north wall of Lal Kot is in ruined state now. It is through this gate that the Turks had entered the city. Presently only part of the gate can be seen. The Fateh Gate has been made in a complicated way and is about 24 m in diameter. The Sohan Gate here is guarded by a large bastion. Hauz Rani and Budayuni Gates, which were once prominent gates, are now in ruins. The Budayuni gate was earlier the chief gate of the city by Ibn Battuta. It is here that Ala-ud-din Khilji broke all his wine caskets and shunned drinking. The guilty were also punished here. Ala-ud-din Khilji
wanted to build four darwazas (gates). He could however build only one, the Alai Darwaza
. It has a wide and bulging dome and is built of red sandstone.
Gates of Second City
The second medieval city comprises of the Siri Fort. It was built during the reign of Ala-ud-Din Khalji of the Delhi Sultanate
. It was built to protect the city from the terror of the Mongols. When the city was built it was adorned with palaces and other rich structures. It then had seven gates for entry and exit. However, only the South eastern gate exists presently. Rest all were destroyed by the local rulers of subsequent dynasties to establish their own buildings and palaces.
Gates of Third City
The third city, Tughlaqabad of the medieval Delhi was erected by Ghazi Malik well known as Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq. He is known for establishing the Tughluq Dynasty
in 1321. The city was enclosed within a massive fort that was built within four years. When the city was built it is said to have 52 gates but only 13 remain today. Rest all the other gates are in ruins now. The architectural design of the main entry gate to the fort resembles the Patthan style. It had been made of red sand stone with sloping face and jambs.
Gates of Fourth City
In the fourth city Muhammad bin Tughluq, first built Adilabad
, then Nai-ka-Kot, two small fortresses. These were built in the southern direction of Tughlaqabad. Soon he established a new city and named it as Jahanpanah in 1334. The city had 13 gates. Presently only the ruins of these two fortresses and some portions of the Jahanpanah can be seen.
Gates of Fifth City
The fifth city, Firuzabad was built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq
on the banks of the Yamuna River
in 1351. The fort had been built in a simple way. It has earlier three palaces and a citadel known as Feroz Shah Kotla
. The quarters of the king as well his wife's were all sited along the riverfront. No gates of this period exist today as all have been demolished.
Gates of Sixth City
, the Sixth City was built by Sher Shah Suri
. It has three main gates on the north, south and west direction. The west gate is for entering the Qila and is known as the Bara Darwaza (big gate). All three gates are double storied structures that are built of red sandstone and have chhatris. The northern gate is called the Talaqi Darwaza and was built in 1543 to 1544. The gate has been built of rubble masonry and has a tall arch enclosed by two smaller arched openings. There are two openings on the second floor of the gate. It is adorned with coloured tiles. The Purana Qila that was left half done was later complete by Humayun. The southern gate is called the Humayun
Darwaza. There is an inscription in ink on the gate. It refers to Sher Shah with the date as 950 A.H.
Sher Shah Gate
Sher Shah Gate is situated to the south of Khairu'l Manazil Masjid. It served as an entrance to the city of Delhi. It was built by Sher Shah in red sandstone with the use of local grey quartzite in its upper storey. It is also known as Lal Darwaza or red gate. Arcades were built from this gate into the city. The ASI has undertaken the task of conservation of the gate and its surroundings.
Gates of Seventh City
The Seventh City Shahjahanabad was built by Shah Jahan
in 1649. It had 14 entry gates. The fort had high red brick walls and 16 wicket gates called windows. These gates were built for the security of the city as well as to help people access the city and to go to other places. Of the 14 gates presently only 5 gates have survived. These are, the Kashmiri Gate on the north, the Ajmeri Gate on the south-west, the Delhi Gate on the south-east, Turqman Gate on the south and the Nigambodh Gate on the north-east.
Kashmiri Gate or double gateway was built by Shah Jahan. The royal processions of emperors and Queens used to pass through the gate on their trips to Kashmir
. However, when the British came to this walled city they altered many of the structures. Local people also call it as Truckman gate. It has a square plan and has two openings, one for entry and another for exit.
The Ajmeri Gate
is located in the south-west of Shahjahanabad in Delhi constructed in the year 1644. The design and the architectural pattern of the gate are very simple. Ajmeri Gate is symmetrical in plan and has a square formation.
is situated in the southern part of the old walled city, in front of the Ramlila
Ground. It has been named after one of the pioneers of Sufism
in India, Hazrat Shah Turqman Bayabani. Turqman Gate is a solid, square shaped building made of red sandstone
Red Fort Gates
The Red Fort
has two well maintained gates, Lahori gate and the Delhi gate. The Lahori gate connects the Lahore gate of the Red Fort. It includes the Lahori bazaar and the Chandni Chowk. There is a grain market inside the Lahori gate. There is a mosque outside built by Sirhindi Begum, wife of Shah Jahan. Delhi gate was the main entrance that connected Red fort with the city. It is used by the public now. In the 1980s it was used for the Indian Independence Day
celebrations on 15 August for the flag hoisting.
Nigambodh Gate had been after the Nigambodh Ghat the burial ground here. It has been constructed on the north eastern side of the Shahajahanabad on the Ring Road near the Yamuna Bazaar. The word Nigambodh is derived from Sanskrit words, 'Nigam' meaning "Ved" and 'bodh' means "knowledge." According to a legend once Lord Brahma
took a bath here in the ghat of Yamuna River
for recovering his lost memory. After taking the holy he retained back his memory and also remembered the place he had kept his sacred books.
is one of the famous gates located in Shahjahanabad. This gate is situated in the centre of the road in Daryaganj. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1638.
Bahadur Shahi Gate
Bahadur Shahi Gate was constructed by Bahadur Shah II
in 1854-55 AD. It was built for entering the fort of Salimgarh Fort from the northern side. The gate was built of brick masonry with red sandstone. The fort was used during the Uprising in 1857. It also held Zebunnisa, daughter of Aurangzeb as a prisoner here. Many freedom fighters of Indian National Army
were also imprisoned here by the British.
Khooni Darwaza also known as Kabuli Gate is located on the Mathura
road opposite to the Feroz Shah Kotla. It was constructed during the rule of Sher Shah Suri. It is a double storied structure built largely with grey stone and red stones. During The Great Revolt of 1857
the sons of Bahadur Shah were be headed by the British officer named Captain William Hudson here. It is for this reason that the gate is known as Khooni Darwaza.
Gates of Eighth City
The British made Delhi their capital and with the shift the new city of New Delhi was established. Shahajahanabad became Old Delhi. The new city was built within a span of 20 years based on the designs of Edwin Lutyens. The most important structure built during this time was the India Gate
. Built in 1921, it is officially known as All India War Memorial. It was built in memory of the Indian soldiers killed in the World War I. The Gate has an impressive stone arch of 42 m in height. It has the names of the 90,000 soldiers engraved on it. In the evening the place is beautifully lighted and looks spectacular.