The monuments in Hauz Khas are one of the most interesting sites in Delhi. Built around a reservoir the madrasa complex is impressive even as a ruin. Today’s heritage walk covered these monuments in Hauz Khas village and those in the Deer park. The Hauz Khas complex is in disarray these days because of undergoing conservation work. The complex is littered with stone chips, piles of cement & mounds of dug up earth. One hopes that this is wrapped up soon so that one can truly enjoy the scenery. The tank was originally constructed by Alauddin Khalji for his capital city, Siri. By the time Firuz Shah Tughluq assumed throne, the tank has silted up and people were cultivating on it. Contemporary accounts report that people has dug up private wells and were selling off water. Firuz Shah did what is he is best known for, restoration &repair of existing monuments and building water works for publics. He re-excavated the tank and built a madrasa along its edge. In the 14th century, this madrasa would have been one of the centres of excellence for Islamic learning. Firuz Shah’s tomb stands at the junction of the 2 wings of the madrasa. As we walked into the tomb, we saw scaffolding in its interior which is actually good news. It means that the long due conservation of the interior of the tomb was finally underway! The lower storey of the madrasa has remains of single-cells like compartments. These were probably rooms for students. The lawns of the complex have a number of pavilions which are actually tombs. These probably were erected as memorials for officials or teachers associated with the madrasa. The next part of this heritage walk covers monuments in Deer park. The first structure one comes across on the path here is the Bagh I Alam ka gumbad. It is an impressive Lodi period tomb. The interior has very nice plaster decoration, but it is difficult to find this building open. Adjacent to it is a wall mosque which has a number of graves in the courtyard. Towards the north is a single rooms hut like structure, which has turned black over the centuries. It is aptly called the ‘kali gumti’. The last stop on the heritage walk was Tuhfewala gumbad, a Tughluq period tomb with impressive cenotaphs.
(posted by Rajesh Ranjan & Kanika Singh, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)