The Garden Guide

Book: C.M Villiers Stuart Gardens of the Great Mughals
Chapter: Chapter 5 Gardens of the Plains - Delhi

Seven cities of Delhi

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Six Delhis lie between Purana Kila and the Ridge; six capitals of Empires each famous in its day; but the plain has conquered all save one: the vast, relentless, sandy plain, broken only where the Kutb Tower of Victory soars up against the sky, the grim dark walls of Tughlakabad rise deserted but defiant; or the fairy gates of Indraspat catch the sunset light on the site of Yudistharas legendary citadel. Shah Jahanabad, modern Delhi as we call it, still stands, and a wonderful city it is. A palace, fort, and city built at one time, by one man, and that man an Emperor, an artist, and the greatest builder of his day. Fergusson, in his Indian Architecture, says that the whole conception of the palace-fort, with its entrance built to look straight down the Chandi Chauk (the Moonlight Market), with its trees and long canal full of running water, forms the finest approach to 'the most magnificent palace in the East-perhaps in the world.' Near the fort, too, stands the grand Jama Masjid, the cathedral mosque of India, yet with all these magnificent buildings the strangest thing about this wonderful city is the fact that it cannot long claim our sole interest: the plains triumph even here, for Shah Jahanabad is only one of many Delhis. [Note: following the construction of New Delhi, discussed by Villiers-Stuart in Chapter 12, Delhi comprises seven capitals]