Union Minister Shri G Kishan Reddy visited the historic site of Purana Qila in Delhi to inspect the ongoing excavation work today.
The site, identified as the ancient city of Indraprastha, has been a subject of archaeological interest for several decades. The excavation has unearthed significant findings, providing insights into Delhi’s continuous history spanning over 2500 years.
Highlighting the significance of Purana Qila, Union Minister Shri G Kishan Reddy stated, “This is the only site in Delhi NCR where one can witness the continuous history of Delhi from the Pre-Mauryan to Mughal period through the excavated remains. The findings showcase the rich cultural heritage of our country.”
The ongoing excavation, initiated again in January 2023, aims to establish a complete chronology of the site. Currently, structures from the early Kushana level have been exposed, with a depth of 5.50 meters reached thus far. This excavation is expected to provide further insights into the ancient city of Indraprastha.
The excavation has yielded a remarkable collection of artifacts. Notable findings include a stone image of Vaikuntha Vishnu, a terracotta plaque of Gaja Laxmi, a stone image of Ganesha, seals and sealings, coins, terracotta figurines of humans and animals, beads of various stones, T.C., and a bone needle. These artifacts, along with pottery and other antiquities, offer valuable insights into the ancient civilization and trade activities at the site.
The excavation has revealed a continuous existence of human habitation and activities spanning 2500 years, underscoring the historical importance of Purana Qila. More than 136 coins and 35 seals and sealings have been discovered from a small excavated area, indicating the site’s pivotal role as a center for trade activities.
In an announcement made during the visit, Minister of Culture & Tourism and Development of North-East Region, Shri G. Kishan Reddy, said . “The excavated remains will be preserved, conserved, and provided with a shed. The site will be showcased as an Open Air Site Museum, allowing visitors to experience the rich historical legacy of Delhi,”
Furthermore, the excavated remains at Purana Qila will serve as a point of attraction for the delegates of the G20 summit, consisting of Head of States, scheduled to be held in Delhi in September 2023.
Purana Qila stands as a testament to India’s rich heritage and cultural diversity, and the ongoing excavation work promises to deepen our understanding of the region’s historical significance. The conservation and preservation efforts, coupled with the establishment of an Open Air Site Museum, will ensure that this historical treasure can be appreciated by present and future generations.
Purana Qila has witnessed multiple excavations in the past. Notably, Padma Shri Prof. B.B. Lal conducted excavations in 1955 and 1969-73, followed by excavations led by Dr. Vasant Kumar Swarnkar of the Archaeological Survey of India in 2013-14 and 2017-18. These efforts have revealed nine cultural levels, representing different historical periods, including Pre-Mauryan, Mauryan, Sunga, Kushana, Gupta, Post Gupta, Rajput, Sultanate, and Mughal.
General view of Excavation Trenches
Mauryan period ring well Vaikuntha Vishnu
Photographs from Hon’ble Minister’s visit