This Sunday, our heritage walk took us around the well known Lodi Garden. Centrally located in Delhi, it is one of the most beautiful parks in Delhi and the medieval monuments in its compound have been beautifully landscaped to stand out as objects of beauty here.
The Lodi Garden itself is a creation of the British, when they were coming up with a new Imperial capital in Delhi, in the 1930s. It was then named, Lady Willingdon Park. ‘Lodi Garden’ was the name given post independence. Our heritage walk starts at gate no. 1 on Lodi Road. As one walks straight on the path leading into the park, there is fork and we took the path to the left. The first stop on our heritage trail was the tomb of Mohammad Shah Sayyid. It is a typical octagonal tomb, typical of architecture in this period. The tomb is a good example of Indo-Islamic architecture, with prominently visible chhatris, and dome topped by the lotus flower motif. Tomb has undergone conservation work, before the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. As we walked around the butterfly conservatory we could see some grave platforms, probably remains of the settlement of Khairpur village which existed here, before the creation of the park. A little ahead is the Bada Gumbad complex and the Shish Gumbad. ‘Shish’ here stands for mirror and ‘gumbad’ is dome. The name of the tomb probably comes from the fact that the façade is decorated with blue tiles which shine and reflect almost like a mirror. The Shish Gumbad has several graves but none which have been identified. The Bara Gumbad as the name suggests is the ‘large dome’. The complex is built around a grave platform, with a mosque on the western side and a couple of rooms on the east. The Bara Gumbad itself is a massive doorway, and in fact, not a tomb. The mosque here is finely decorated with plaster work with arabesque patterns and calligraphy which covers the entire interior of the mosque. Further ahead is another royal tomb, that of Sikander Lodi. It is one of the few pre-Mughal garden tombs which have survived. The tomb itself is within a walled in complex which resembles a small fortress. Walking along the lake we walk over the Athpula, a 16th century bridge which was initially built over a stream flowing into the Yamuna. The stream is long gone and the water body we see today is a modern artificial creation. A little ahead are two small late Mughal structures- a garden pavilion and a mosque. These too have been recently worked upon and look beautiful when illuminated. The last stop on our walk was a standalone turret, which was probably part of an enclosure wall.