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Right from the time of the Rajputs, more than a thousand years ago, straight down to 21st century independent India, Delhi has always remained a centre of power. Over the past millennium, the region has passed through a great number of famous ‘eras’ and has been ruled by innumerable powerful dynasties. And with power comes splendour. Each of the rulers have contributed in their own way to the magnificent architectural heritage that the city boasts of today. Be it the early Sultanate monuments such as the tomb of Nasiruddin Mahmud (Sultan Ghari), or the mature Mughal masterpieces such as the Red Fort, the entire city is a sprawling museum of built heritage from varied time periods. Many structures such as the Old Fort or the Jami Masjid are well known to tourists and enjoy a stream of regular visitors. Other structures such as the tomb of Tilangani or that of Balban, despite being of immense architectural and historical importance, are hardly known to even local residents, and stand today in pitiable states of repair, crying out for urgent attention.

This section of The Speaking Arch is dedicated to the celebration of Delhi’s ‘Millennium of Splendour’. The celebration of a thousand years of magnificence.

The Alai Darwaza (1310) against the backdrop of the Qutb Minar (started 1202).
The Alai Darwaza (1310) against the backdrop of the Qutb Minar (started 1202).

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