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The fort Bush will speak from

rediff Features Bureau | February 28, 2006

History will be made anew at the Purana Quila in Old Delhi when George W Bush stops by on Friday, March 3, to make a public address.

The last time history unfolded at this fort was when the Mughal Emperor Humayun fell down the library steps, apparently in his hurry to answer a call to prayer and died, aged just 48.

In recent times, the Purana Quila has been a spot of special tranquility, visited only by courting couples, school children and tourists. Its current state does not reflect its sense of history.

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A cluster of a couple of buildings -- a few gatehouses, a mosque -- on a hill overlooking the Yamuna river, the Purana Quila is said to be located on the site of Indraprastha, the capital of the Pandavas. Excavations in this area have revealed that habitation existed on this spot for 2,500 years.

The fort building itself dates back to the 16th century. It was built by Humayun, when he built the sixth city of Delhi - Dinpanah. It was further embellished by his rival (and nemesis) Sher Shah Suri, but never completed, say some historians.

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After his return from Hyderabad, at his public engagement in India, the American President will address members of Parliament, thinkers, artistes and prominent businessmen at this historic location. American Ambassador David Mulford is said to have pushed for this majestic venue believing it would make a great photo opportunity with its sepia-toned stone walls and natural surroundings.

Above left: Tourists take a boat ride at the Purana Quila
Above right: Visitors to the fort are frisked ahead of the Bush visit

Complete coverage: President Bush in India Dr Singh in the US

Photographs: Prakash Singh/Getty Images

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