Most people associate Siri Fort with either the very prominent auditorium that takes its name from this historical monument, or the Sports Complex, also named after this. My review, however, is of the Siri Fort itself, or what remains of it—a portion of the wall.
Delhi has seen many rulers build forts (Lal Kot, Qila Rai Pithora, Tughlaqabad, Adilabad, Firoz Shah Kotla, Salimgarh, Purana Qila and Lal Qila among those today extant). Of these, the first Muslim ruler to have built a fort is supposed to have been Alauddin Khalji, who built Siri in 1303 AD in an attempt to ward off attacking Mongols. Folk lore has it that the word ‘siri’ is a corruption of ‘sir’ or ‘sar’ (‘head’), with people suggesting that Alauddin used the decapitated heads of slain Mongol soldiers as the foundations for the fort’s walls.
The walled city of Siri is supposed to have been approximately oval in shape, and is said to have had seven gates. The fortified city itself would have contained palaces and other buildings, but all of that has since disappeared—even the few medieval buildings (like the Tuhfewala Gumbad) that still exist within the area date from after Khalji’s time. The only remnants of Siri itself are sections of the peripheral wall.
A long strip of land along this wall has been fenced off and landscaped, under the Archaeological Survey of India. You enter through the gate (entry is free) from just opposite the ASI Children’s Museum, and can walk along, seeing the wall on your right. It’s there in sections, at places bulging out into bastions and in one section even with the remains of a shallow moat. The only historical monument that can be seen here other than the wall is the beautiful Mohammadwali Masjid, though that was built well after Siri.
While there isn’t very much to see here besides the mosque and parts of the wall, this is a lovely stretch of space. It’s green and beautiful, you can get to see lots of flowering plants and trees (we saw plenty of amla trees on our walk), and there are birds—we saw lapwings, and heard peafowl and barbets. Very pleasant for both nature-lovers as well as history buffs.