Mehrauli area of Delhi is one of those sites of the world that has a history of continuous habitation for almost a thousand years. One of the most famous monuments of India, the Qutb Minar (built in the early 13th century) is located in this area. But there are many other tombs, palaces, baolis (stepwell), shrines, mosques and other historical structures that are to be found there. Mehrauli Archaeological Park has trails developed around medieval monuments dating from the 13th to the 19th century. In other words, beginning from what is commonly referred to as the time of the Slave dynasty right up to the early colonial period.
Archive for the ‘Mehrauli Archaeological Park Heritage Walks’ Category
Many of us know that Delhi has the unfortunate title of one of the most polluted cities in the world. However, standing at the gate of Mehrauli Archaeological Park, an expansive 100-acre space, with greenery all around, it’s quite easy to forget about the pollution. To be sure, the park has many stories to tell; the Mehrauli area is the oldest continuously inhabited part of Delhi. From the 11th century Rajput cities of Lalkot, and Qila Rai Pithora, to monuments from Delhi Sultanate, the Mughal, and the British era— there is perhaps no other place in Delhi with such a diverse history. We started our exploration at Balban’s Tomb, the resting place of the Mamluk king who ruled Delhi in the 13th century. Interestingly, the only grave remaining in the tomb complex is not Balban’s, but that of his son, Khan Shahid. Khan Shahid was not known to be a religious figure, but people do pray in front of his grave, and the enclosure often smells of incense. An example of the past and present interacting— popular memory does not always follow historical accuracy.
One of the lesser known sites of Delhi, this 100 acres green land has 70 odd monuments scattered around. The reason why Mehrauli Archaeological Park fascinates history lovers is because of its wild, un-kept look interspersed with monuments dating back from the first fortified capital, Lal Kot up till British period. The first monument we covered on this heritage walk was built by one of the powerful ‘slave kings’, Sultan Balban. (more…)
Mehrauli Village is one of the more unusual trudges in our list of heritage walks. It is a historic village, the first cities of Delhi came up here, & there is plenty of evidence of prehistoric settlements on the ridge area where Mehrauli area if one is careful enough to look.
Our walk this Sunday covered some of the medieval monuments which stand hidden among modern construction in Mehrauli. We meet at Adam Khan’s tomb which is the most prominent building here. (more…)