CWG and Delhi’s monsoon are not on friendly terms. The more the CWG curse the rains, the more it pours. For the locals though it is a blessing. The trees and the buildings and the air have a clean look. The grass looks green and the monuments very very clean. This was our first impression as we took a heritage walk in Lodi Garden. The garden is a creation of the British, when they were trying to incorporate Delhi’s ruins in their plans of building a new capital for themselves. They called it Lady Willingdon Park; Lodi Garden is a post-independence name. The first stop on our heritage walk was Muhammad Shah Sayyid’s tomb. There were very few people about because of the rain and as the picture above shows the monuments looked nice and clean. The light coloured stone of the tomb presented a beautiful contrast with the lush green grass. The trail then leads along the butterfly conservatory to the Bara Gumbad complex. Built in the 15th century, the Bada Gumbad probably acted as a gateway to the mosque, tomb and assembly hall to its north. The Bara Gumbad mosque is one of the most beautiful structures in Delhi with delicate plaster decoration covering most of the interior. Right opposite to Bara Gumbad stands the Shish Gumbad with its blue tile work. The interior is badly damaged now but there are traces of decoration which still remain on the walls. The next stop was Sikander Lodi’s tomb. The lawns around the tomb have been redone and the complex looked much cleaner. The conservation work on the entrance arches is an eyesore. The artificial lake just outside the tomb was full of rain water. The lake too is a post independence phenomenon. In the 16th century, on the same location, there existed a stream flowing into the river Yamuna. A noble working under Mughal emperor Akbar built a bridge over it. It is called the Athpula. Further ahead along the path are a couple of late Mughal monuments, a mosque and a garden pavilion. The last stop on the walk was a standalone turret with a jharokha, which probably is the oldest building in Lodi Garden.
(posted by Rajesh Ranjan & Kanika Singh, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)