NEW DELHI: The
National Monuments Authority
(NMA) under the Union ministry of culture has sought a project to rediscover “the glory of Indian rule” by retracing how Delhi was founded and named.
At a seminar on Thursday where the NMA brought together scholars from IIT, JNU, BHU,
and archaeologists from the ASI to discuss ‘
: The Founder of Delhi (Dhillika),' President
Ram Nath Kovind
in a note said, “Delhi has an enriching historical legacy since its inception as Indraprastha till Dhillika, later founded by the Tomar kings. It is a significant move to have scholars from different academic hues like history and archaeology to sit together and contemplate on the various aspects of our glorious past."
At the two-day seminar, there were three sessions — on tradition and literature, on coins and epigraphs (inscriptions), and on archaeological evidence — in which historians drew on the epic
and other mythological and historical references to talk about Tomar Rajputs.
The conclusion the NMA wants to work towards is that Anangapala II set up Delhi, “which was then known as Dhilli or Dhillika.” The NMA said that inscriptions on the Mehrauli pillar and “bardic traditions” indicate that already.
ASI archaeologist BR Mani, whose report had laid the foundation of the temple beneath the Babri Masjid argument, told TOI, “The Killi-Dhilli Katha mentioned by a number of authorities becomes very relevant.” He was referring to a section of the 12th century epic poem ‘Prithviraj Raso,’ a tale of how Delhi got its name. He added, “The truth is Anangapala II established the city and wanted to uproot the iron pillar, which was supposed to be the nail of the earth. Scholars warned him against that. It was colloquially called Killi, and then came to be known as Dhili. That, later, became Dhillika or Dhillikapuri.”
Against this backdrop, the NMA has sought a pilot project to conduct vertical excavations at Anangapala’s fortress Lalkot, find more coins from the time he ruled and conduct more research based on these primary findings. Former director of Arabic and Persian epigraphy at ASI Dr GS Khwaja said, “I suggest more vertical excavations be conducted at Lalkot to establish the legends of Tomar.”