Lodi garden in the heart of the capital is one of the best parks in Delhi. A nice place to walk around, exercise, peep inside tombs and observe birds. The Saturday evening heritage walk covered the monuments in this park. ‘Lodi Garden’ itself is a British creation. In the beginning of the 20th century, Delhi’s landscape would have looked like a vast necropolis…miles and miles of space dotted with massive ruins. Creation of this park was part of colonial initiative to beautify their new capital, so that the monuments stand out as singular objects of beauty. Starting out as Lady Willingdon Park, it got its present name post-independence because most monuments in the park belong to the period when Lodi’s were ruling. We started our heritage walk at Mohd. Sayyid’s tomb. It is a typical octagonal tomb, which has recently undergone conservation. One can see the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics of the tomb pasted below). As one walks towards the Bada Gumbad and Shish Gumbad, there are grave platforms on both sides of the path, which have almost been overtaken by trees growing over them. This area was a village called Khairpur before it was converted into a garden and these graves probably belong to that settlement. The Bada Gumbad mosque is the most exquisite building in the park. It has some lovely plaster decoration which has survived remarkably well since the 15th century. On the opposite side of the mosque are some rooms which were probably used by those who maintained the mosque. One of the walls here has niches with storage space behind them. (see pic). It is unusual becomes generally one only tends to notice the decorative niches in a building. Sikander Lodi’s tomb is another grand monument in the complex. The white conservation work is the only jarring note in this otherwise lovely walled complex. The tomb has tile-work in blue, green and yellow on its interior. A little ahead is Athpula, a 16th century bridge built over a stream. The stream is now gone and we have an artificial lake in its place. This lake was in news recently over death of around 13 ducks which lived around it allegedly due to mud and filth in the water. We ended the heritage walk at a couple of late-Mughal buildings: a mosque and a garden pavilion.
(posted by Rajesh Ranjan & Kanika Singh, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)