Archaeology, someone said, is the science of rubbish. The definition is true to the extent that a lot of archaeology is concerned with rescuing built heritage from being lost in the ever growing city. Mehrauli Archaeological Park is one of the few places in Delhi where in gets to see archaeological excavations at close quarters. The ongoing excavation near Balban’s tomb is an example. A couple of months back this patch was completely covered with soil and vegetation. Prominent structures were the gateway & Balban’s tomb. One could feel the elevation of the ground when walking through the gateway towards Balban’s tomb. Post-excavation the earth level is much lower and ruins of a settlement (in addition to existing ones) are visible.
For some reason, the Jamali mosque was closed this evening and the caretaker was nowhere to be found. Same is the case with Madhi masjid on Dara Bari road. Perhaps there is an official order to the effect.
The area around Jamali’s mosque and Metcalfe’s folly has been landscaped in to a picnic area. Today we had cows grazing contentedly over the manicured lawns, much to everyone’s amusement. Cows, goats, buffaloes and pigs in the park are very common, but they usually roam other parts of the park where there are wild shrubs to eat & mud to wallow in.
Another change is that the step well, Rajon ki baoli is now completely dry. A few months back, there was some water left and visitors were often treated to extra entertainment from locals who showed off their diving skills by jumping into the baoli. No such luck this time. We could see the boulders at the bottom of the baoli. The mosque in this baoli complex, next to the tomb has some beautiful plaster decoration on the façade.
(posted by Kanika Singh & Rajesh Ranjan, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)