The early Delhi Sultanate and the "seven cities" of Delhi

Delhi is often said to be the site of *Indraprastha*, the Pandavas' capital in the Mahabharata; but archaeological evidence is lacking

An overview of the rapid rise, constant fluctuations, and steep decline of the Sultanate; and here's a *dynastic chart* and a *map of early Delhi monuments*; and a great *coin site*

"Dilli," the Tomar Rajput capital from c.736 onwards, had been enhanced in the 900's by Suraj Pal, who constructed the Suraj Kund

(1) LAL KOT-- Built c.1060 by the Tomar ruler Anang Pal II, it was conquered by Prithviraj Chauhan of Ajmer in the late 1100's and became "Qila Rai Pithora"; conquered by the Ghurid general Qutbuddin Aibak in 1192, it became the Qutb Minar area in Mehrauli

Mu'izz ud-Din Muhammad Ghuri's (and Aibak's) empire-building also included the *Adhai din ka Jhompra* in Ajmer, a mosque made out of portions of an earlier Jain temple on the site; and the minting of some very Indic coins
In 1198 or thereabouts, the Ghurid general Muhammad Bakhtiyar conquered northwest Bengal, and established his capital in the town of GAUR
Qutb ud-Din Aibak (r.1192-1210, first as a Ghurid general, then after Mu'izz ud-Din's death in 1206 as an independent ruler) built most of the Qutb Minar and the Qubbat ul-Islam ("Refuge of Islam") Mosque; the complex was also extended and augmented by later Delhi sultans
Qutb ud-Din Aibak died in Lahore, and is buried there in a tomb dating from the 1970's (the original one was destroyed by the Mongols in 1241)
Iltutmish (r.1210-35), his son-in-law, completed the Qutb and continued his predecessor's work elsewhere as well; his beautiful *tomb* is in the Qutb complex
Iltutmish's promising daughter and heir Sultan Raziyya (r.1236-40) was dethroned and killed; in the chaos after her death, Hulagu Khan and his Mongols sacked Lahore (1241)
Ghiyas ud-Din Balban ruled from 1246 to 1286/7 (though for the first 20 years he was officially a prime minister) and did much to consolidate the Sultanate's power
In 1258, Hulagu Khan sacked Baghdad and killed the last 'Abbasid Caliph; the *Mongol onslaught* was the worst thing that ever happened to the Islamic world
In the late 1200's, the Delhi Sultans celebrated their eastern conquests with another huge "victory tower," in Chhota Pandua (near Calcutta) in Bengal

*The story continues in the 1300's...*

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