Our restlessness in your love has passed beyond bounds, our hope is that you will pity our weeping.
How could your pardon be known, had we not shown ourselves guilty!
These are verses penned by Jamali, a traveler and poet who lived in the 16th century. Today his name lives on as an area in Mehrauli called ‘Jamali Kamali’ or the Mehrauli Archaeological Park. Our heritage walk in this park covers some very interesting landmarks of Indian history. We start our heritage trail near Balban’s tomb. The area around the tomb was recently excavated to reveal a courtyard and some rooms and grave platforms. A few months ago, the whole patch of land was covered in silt and vegetation and there was a only a narrow path among the vegetation, leading to Balban’s tomb. The tomb itself is in a state of ruin, the roof having fallen off, and the grave no longer extant. But, architecturally speaking it is an extremely important structure: being the first in India to use the true arch in construction. As we climb up the stairs from the tomb, we walk into a cluster of ruins which look like a residential complex, though datable to about 17th century. Further ahead is Jamali’s mosque and tomb. The tomb is well preserved and has verses of Jamali himself carved in plaster decoration. Opposite to Jamali Kamali mosque is a stone canopy, standing prominently on a mound. This is ‘Metcalfe’s Folly’! And there are many more in the neighbourhood, all forming part of Thomas Metcalfe’s famed ‘Dilkusha’. The Dilkusha comprised a Mughal tomb converted into residence, a boathouse, a carriageway under which flowed a stream and an artificially created lake! The lake no longer exists but the monuments survive, giving us an idea of its magnificence! Our final stop on this heritage walk was the Rajon ki Baoli, a step well, now completely dry. Adjacent to it is a mosque with some pretty plaster decoration and a tomb with remains of tile work. Climbing to the roof of the mosque, one gets and excellent view of the ruins and vegetation around and parts of Mehrauli settlement.
(posted by Kanika Singh & Kavita Singh, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)
Mehrauli Archaeological Park Heritage Walk