The 16th-century stone fort finds a mention in the epic Mahabharata and it is said that near it lie the remnants of the legendary city of Indraprastha. Excavations in the fort show the area was inhabited even around 300 BC.

The thick walls of the somewhat rectangular fort are crowned by merlons and have three gateways with bastions on either side. In ancient times, the fort was surrounded by a wide moat that was connected to River Yamuna, which flowed to the east of the fort. The Northern Gate is a blend of the Islamic pointed arch and the Hindu chhatris and brackets. The walls and the gateway of the fort were built by Mughal emperor Humayun and his work was carried forward by Sher Shah Suri, the Afghan ruler who ruled Delhi in the mid-16th century after defeating Humayun. Inside are a stepwell, a tower used as a library-cum-observatory, and a mosque. Humayun started construction in 1533, but was defeated after a few years by Sher Shah. Around 15 years later, Humayun re-captured the fort but soon after tripped down the stairs of the library and died. A spectacular light and sound show held every evening retells the story.

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