NEW DELHI: Did the Pandavas ever build Indraprastha—the capital of their kingdom—in Delhi? Was Old Fort their lavish abode once? In a bid to prove their existence in the capital city, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is planning to begin excavation at the Old Fort soon.
A senior official of the ASI said, “The plan on starting the excavation will be finalised at the Central Advisory Board of Archaeology (CABA) meeting that will be held in September. The excavation may continue up to three years this time.”
Recently, when Ministry of Culture Additional Secretary Sujata Prasad visited the Old fort, the issue was discussed with the ASI officials. “The officer also took stock of the excavation that was initiated in January 2014, but was stopped after four months due to some internal issues and untimely rains,” the ASI official.
Sources said the official concerned was also transferred from Delhi for halting the excavation. The purpose is to identify the presence of Painted Grey Ware, which if found, would establish the site’s link to Indraprastha. The official said in the earlier excavation pieces of grey ware were found at the site, but, presence of such utensils could not be established.
During the excavation conducted near the eastern walls of fort in 1954-55 by B B Lal, shreds of the painted grey ware and remains of the Kushan periods were found. “Pottery from the Kushan and Gupta periods, structures from the Rajput and Kushan periods, copper coins, and terracotta human figurines have been found, so far,” said the official.
Another excavation was conducted between 1969 and 1973, which revealed the continuous existence of the Mauryan era, Sunga era.