darwaje sar phod rahe hain, kaun iss ghar ko chod gaye hain
Tthe doors are banging their heads, who has left his house like this
– Nasir Kazmi
The ‘lal kot’ palace is historically the first “fortification” of Delhi”. King Anangapal Tomara is credited to have built the Lal Kot palace and the fortification around it. Today, the remains of this fort are scattered across South Delhi and can be seen in the Saket, Mehrauli, Kishanganj and Vasant Kunj areas. Historically, there is little evidence to associate Lal Kot, which is believed to have been built by the rulers of the Tomara dynasty. It is well known as the original red fort of Delhi and provides quite a view of the city from its walls.
Within the fortification of ‘lal kot’ was the legendary ‘yogmaayaa temple’ of the ‘mahaabhaarat’ era. It is believed that the Pandavas, at the end of Mahabharata war, built this temple. It was renovated during the reign of Akbar II (1806-37) by Lala Sethmal and has survived the several attempts by Muslim rulers to convert it into a mosque. It is a Shakti peeth, as the main idol is the incarnation of the illusory power of Durga. Born as Krishna’s sister who was killed at the time of birth by Kamsa, she vanished towards the skies and predicted the death of Kamsa at the hands of her brother who was yet to be born.
12th-century Jain scriptures, mention Yoginipura, possibly after the temple, in reference to the area we consider as Mehrauli. According to local priests this is one of those 27 temples destroyed by Mahmud Ghazni and later by Mamluks and it is the only surviving temple belonging to pre-sultanate period which is still in use. Hindu king Samrat Vikramaditya Hemu reconstructed the temple and brought back the temple from ruins. During Aurangzeb’s reign a rectangular hall was added to the temple which is a witness of a failed attempt by Mughals to convert this ancient temple into a mosque which was later turned into a store room for Devi’s vastra. Though it’s original (300-200 BC) architecture could never be restored after its deconstruction by Muslims, but its reconstruction had been carried out repetitively by the locals.
King Anangapal Tomara is credited to have built the Lal Kot palace and the fortification around it. Today the remains of this fort are scattered across South Delhi and can be seen in the Saket, Mehrauli, Kishanganj and Vasant Kunj areas. Built in an oblong shape, the fort in its current form occupies a circumference of about 2.25 kilometres and has 7 gates. It is a ruined structure, walls of which are built in rubble masonry. The walls are protected by a ditch varying about 18-35 feet in width. It is also known as the original red fort (lal kot) of Delhi.
b. “Monuments of Delhi: Lasting Splendour of the Great Mughals and Others. Volume III Mehrauli Zail.”1997.