Fact-Check: King Anangpal Tomar Built Lal Kot, Not The Red Fort!
The Red Fort was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century.
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A claim that has been shared several times over the years on social media states that Delhi's Red Fort was built by King Anangpal Tomar – Prithviraj Chauhan's grandfather – in 1052 and not by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
What does the claim say: Those sharing the claim say that the Mughals changed the history by stating that Shah Jahan built the Red Fort, while it was actually a Hindu king that built the iconic monument.
(Similar claims have been shared previously, archives of which can be found here and here.)
The truth: The claim is misleading. We found that Anangpal Tomar built a structure called Lal Kot (Red Fort) in the eighth century. However, it's different from the Red Fort or Lal Qila built by Shah Jahan. The distance between Lal-Kot (Qila Rai Pithora) and Lal Qila is around 23 kms.
Who Built The Red Fort?
Red Fort, also known as Lal Qila and Qila-i-Mubarak, was built in Shahjahanabad, the seventh city of Delhi by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
According to the Central Government’s Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the construction of the Red Fort started in 1639 and was completed on the 16 April 1648.
The building is a World Heritage Site and is where the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation on the occasion of Independence Day.
What About King Anangpal Tomar and Lal-Kot?
ASI’s book 'Delhi and Its Neighbourhood' states that the Tomar Dynasty ruled parts of present-day Delhi and Haryana between the 8th and 12th centuries.
In an article in The Hindu, historian Rana Safvi said that Raja Anangpal Tomar built Lal-Kot, which was the citadel of the Tomar dynasty.
Lal Kot was later known as Quila Rai Pithora and became the first city of Delhi and is situated in Mehrauli, while Lal Qila, the seventh city of Shahjahanabad, is situated 23 km away, Safvi writes.
We reached out to Pratyay Nath, assistant professor of history at Ashoka University, who said that the confusion between the two monuments could have arisen from the fact that both Lal Kot and Lal Qila are loosely rendered as Red Fort in English.
Explaining further in detail, Nath told The Quint that the Lal Kot was the first known fort in Delhi and was built around the 11th century. Prithviraj Chauhan captured and expanded the Lal Kot and the new fort came to be called Qila Rai Pithora, or the fort of King Prithvi.
"Both these forts stood in today’s Mehrauli area in southwest Delhi, at quite some distance away from the Yamuna," Professor Nath said.
More information on Lal Kot can also be found on the Delhi Tourism's website.
It's clear that Lal Kot and Lal Qila are two different monuments built by two different kings with centuries between them. While the names of both roughly translate to Red Fort in English, there is a clear distinction between the two.
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