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Not just about cricket

Associated mostly with the sport, the ground is part of what was the fifth city of Delhi built by Feroz Shah Tughlaq. Nivedita Khandekar writes.

delhi Updated: Jan 20, 2013 00:37 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

In the Capital of a nation where cricket is a religion, Kotla Feroz Shah is equated only with cricket.

Few know about the original Kotla, right next to the stadium, the 14th century citadel - also known as Kushk-i-Firuz - the Fifth City of Delhi.

This medieval city on the banks of Yamuna was built by Feroz Shah Tughlaq (1351-88). From the ruins, one can make out the original three rubble-built walled rectangular enclosures, the central one larger than the other two.

There are two gems within the citadel. One is a circular baoli (step well), with three-tiered structure having rooms in one of the layers below ground level. The Archaeological Survey of India uses it to keep the lawns lush green.

Second is the Ashokan Pillar built during the reign of King Ashok (273-236 BC) and brought to Delhi some 650 years ago. An information board describes how Feroz Shah brought it from Topra Kalan village (Yamuna Nagar district in Haryana) and installed it atop the three-storey structure.

The place is also popular with the devout, who throng every Thursday to light a candle for the jinnat (spirits) believing it would cure mental illnesses.

"Unfortunately, people need to be told about the monument. While describing my office location, I have to direct them to reach the entrance of the monument from the stadium," rued Rakesh Agarwal of NGO Nyayabhoomi, situation in Vikram Nagar, the extended portion of the old citadel.