‘Among the gifts which God bestowed upon me, was a desire to erect public buildings. So I built many mosques and madrasas and khanqahs, that the learned and the elders, the devout and the holy, might worship God in these edifices and aid the kind builder with their prayers.’
These words of Sultan Firuz Shah Tughluq bring to life the magnificent ruins of Hauz Khas, the madrasa complex built by him in the 14th century. Our heritage walk this Sunday covered the Hauz Khas complex and monuments in Deer Park. The complex stands on the edge of a reservoir, which was originally built by Sultan Alauddin Khalji for his capital city of Siri. About 50 years after him, Firuz Shah found it silted up and encroached upon. He re-dug the tank, built a madrasa around it, and his own tomb, and called it the Hauz Khas (royal/important tank). The two storeyed madrasa building offers an excellent view of the now, much reduced lake and the park all around. Even in a ruined condition the madrasa looks impressive. Just beyond the lake one can notice another ruined structure, which, it is said, once stood in the middle of the hauz. Now the locals call it the munda gumbad or the bald dome, as its roof has collapsed! At the junction of the two wings of the madrasa stands the tomb of Firuz Shah. To its west are a few grave pavilions, probably of people associated with the madrasa. The entire complex is still undergoing restoration work, although the main buildings seemed to have been repaired. The pavements and lawns are still being worked upon though. After exploring the complex in Hauz Khas village, our heritage trail continued into the Deer Park. There are three prominent monuments here: the Bagh I Alam ka Gumbad, the Kali Gumti and the Tuhfewala Gumbad, the first being a Lodi period tomb and the other two being Tughluq period buildings.
(posted by Kanika Singh & photos by Chhavi Sharma, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)