The Mehrauli Archaeological Park is one of the least known and yet, most interesting places in the city of Delhi. It is the poorer cousin of the Qutb Complex, adjacent to it, which is a World Heritage Site. The ruins in this Mehrauli park stretch all the way up to Andheria More. Our heritage walk this Sunday covers a small part of the Mehrauli Archaeological Park. There is a small clearing near the entrance to the park, beyond a gateway, which is a recent site of archaeological excavations. If we were here a little more than a year ago, the ground level was at least a feet higher and covered with vegetation. Now, one can see parts of rooms, some graves which are visible after excavations. There are probably remains of a settlement built around a courtyard. Balban’s tomb stands right next to it. A completely ruined structure, the main chamber of the tomb doesn’t even have the grave of the ruler for whom, it was built. But the remains are magnificent in their proportions. The adjacent chamber of the tomb has a grave said to be that of Balban’s favourite son, Khan Shaheed who died fighting the Mongols. The same part of the tomb retains some plaster decoration and a hint of tile work, which gives us an idea how the tomb might have been.� We walked through the remains of the residential settlement to the monument which gives the park its local name: the Jamali Kamali mosque and tomb. Very few would know the Park as Mehrauli Archaeological Park; Jamali Kamali what the locals call it. The tomb is a well preserved example of plaster decoration and tile work, almost like a tiny jewel box, within which lie the tombs of sufi and poet Jamali and his companion, Kamali. As one walks further on in the Park, there is a small canopy upon a hillock. This is Metcalfe’s folly. The British Resident, Thomas Metcalfe purchased the entire land around this area and converted it into his weekend retreat, the Dilkusha. He purchased a Mughal tomb, converted it into his residence; diverted a stream into an artificial lake; a Lodi period dovecot into a boat house! The last stop was the Lodi period step well: Rajon ki Baoli.
(posted by Kanika Singh, team member, Delhi Heritage Walks; photos by Hariprasad, a heritage enthusiast)