Our walking tour in Lodi Garden covers monuments scattered around the park, spread over an area of 90 acres. The monuments date back to the 15th century but the park is a colonial invention. It was designed in 1936. Once called Bagh-i- Jud, a royal burial ground was landscaped by British & named Lady Willingdon Park. The present name, Lodi garden was given post independence. Now, one of the favorite parks for joggers in south Delhi, the garden is a perfect amalgamation of our glorious past and present day Delhi. Tomb of Mohammad Shah Sayyid, the only Sayyid monument in the garden was built by Alauddin Alam Shah for his father. The large dome with an inverted lotus finial on the top is surrounded by cluster of small royal umbrellas or chhatris. The cenotaph of the ruler lies in the middle surrounded by other graves. Each arched opening has beam and corbel decoration in red sandstone and grey quartzite. We walked inside the tomb to see few scattered graves and to learn their history. Around these tombs and buildings, stood a village called village of Khairpur, which was removed for creating the garden. Close by is a butterfly conservatory, however, no butterflies are in sight! The next stop on our heritage walk is the Bada Gumbad lit. ‘big dome’. A square building it is one of the biggest Lodi structures in Delhi. From outside it appears to have two storeys, but it has only one storey with beautifully carved doorways. The Bara Gumbad mosque has highly designed arched openings, its stuccowork with floral and geometric designs standing out. The rectangular prayer hall has Quranic inscriptions on the walls and ceilings and two balcony windows, Jharokas on both sides. Another rectangular hall is believed to be either a guesthouse or an assembly hall, the stairs leading to the top is blocked but it is quite a view from the terrace top. Note the lotus buds on the doorways, an element from pre- Islamic architecture, which became part of the tradition of Indo-Islamic architecture. Pathways with colorful flowers, leads us to another Lodi building, Shish Gumbad or ‘glass dome’. The name comes from glazed tiles in the turquoise and cobalt blue which decorate the façade. They shone so bright that it appeared like a mirror.. The tomb was presumably built for eminent people of Sikandar Lodi’s time. Architecturally quite similar to the tomb of Mohammad Shah Sayyid, the tomb of Sikander Lodi is in a fairly good shape. The interior is covered in tile decorations & it a pre-Mughal garden tomb, though it looks more like a fortress if one stands outside it. It would be only fair to give him credit for garden tombs which most historians argue as the brainchild of early Mughal rulers. The ornamental lake which runs next to the tomb has an over bridge named Athpula, was originally built during Emperor Akbar’s reign by his minister Nawab Bahadur. Most probably it was built to span a tributary of Yamuna that met with the Barahpula, near Nizamuddin. Some minor ruins are covered towards the end of the walk. A small gateway or garden pavilion & a mosque of the late Mughal period. The gateway with two storeys is topped with a ‘Bangla’ roof. The rectangular mosque is plain with three domes, just like the gateway underwent restoration during 2010 commonwealth games. The final stop on this trail was a standalone turret, which was probably once a corner tower of some enclosing wall. Thank you everyone for joining us.
(posted by Moby Zachariah & Kanika Singh, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)