The members of Hindi Department, Indraprastha College for Women, Delhi University visited the Mehrauli Archeological Park for a heritage walk cum picnic. Being students of literature, many were familiar with the characters & events whose stories unfolded here: Prithvi Raj Chauhan, Qutb ud din Aibak, Balban, the Sufis, Lodi sultans, Thomas Metcalfe, 1857.
We started from Balban’s tomb, walked through the ruins of what might have been a residential settlement, and reached Jamali’s mosque. A faculty member remarked that 10 years ago the area was completely inaccessible and that it impossible to imagine that such a grand structure lay behind the boundary walls. Rajon ki baoli was the next stop. This baoli is always the highpoint of a heritage walk in the Park; it slowly reveals itself as one approaches it. Everybody had loads of fun, walking through the narrow stairs of the baoli. It is completely dry now. We then walked towards Dilkhusha, the folly, the carriageway, boathouse and Mohd. Quli Khan’s tomb, converted into a residence all part of Thomas Metcalfe’s estate. The group knew of him, as his residence near the old city, the Metcalfe House, is very close to Indraprastha College. We all enjoyed the view from the roof of Dilkhusha. From here we can also see Adham Khan’s tomb who was punished with death by Akbar, by being thrown off by ramparts of Agra fort. He was thrown twice…did not die the first time he fell! This event has been made famous by the Hindi movie, Jodha-Akbar. The faculty members and students both were equally enthusiastic and provided some wonderful insights about the histories in the area. And we ended up discussing much more: the literature of aadi kaal, William Dalrymple’s books, Urdu literature on Delhi, the uprising of 1857, old residences in Mehrauli area where baolis exist in private residences and history of Indraprastha College too !
(posted by Kanika Singh, team member, Delhi Heritage Walks)