Hauz Khas village is both, one of the most well known, happening place and a neglected on at the same time. HKV as the popular jargon goes has become famous for its cafés & designer shops. But not many would know of the history of the area. It is true that the ruins here have become increasingly popular with photographers, musicians & people simple hanging around, still, there is much that is not quite well known. Our heritage walk in Hauz Khas focuses on lesser know aspects of this area’s history. It was lead by our team member, Moby Zachariah. The site seems to have medieval origins & Sultan Alauddin Khalji built a tank for his capital city of Siri. This was towards the end of 13th century and the tank was called Hauz I Alai. The tank, as we see it now, has shrunk from its actual size i.e. with a spread of 28 hectares. It is now an ornamental lake which is frequented by some birds. About 50 years about Alauddin Khalji, Firuz Shah Tughluq became the Sultan of Delhi & this site came to his notice. He was a keen builder & spent generous amounts of time & money in reconstructing & repairing the tank. It has fallen into disuse after the decline of Khalji dynasty. Firuz Shah renamed it Hauz Khas i.e. “special tank”. He is also credited for beautifying and landscaping the whole complex by adding gardens, trees and a glorious madrasa. It is the ruins of this very madrasa which are visible today. These include a mosque with a huge jharokha on the western side which opens to the tank, a t-shaped an assembly hall, pavilions (tombs) in the garden, Firuz Shah Tughluq’s tomb, classrooms in the form of colonnaded halls & cell like living spaces. Contemporary accounts give wonderful details of the beauty & grandeur of the madrasa. The tomb of Firuz Shah is located at the junction of the 2 wings of the madrasa. It is a square chamber, built with the grey quartzite, with some specific features highlighted with red sandstone. The gateways depict a perfect blend of Indian and Islamic architecture. Tomb has a unique feature built at the entrance that is the stone railings, typical to a Buddhist stupa rather than an Islamic tomb. The grave pavilions in the garden are probably burials of teachers/officials of the madarsa. This walking tour covers some monuments in Deer Park as well. The most prominent among them is the Bagh i alam ka gumbad, a distinctive Lodi period structure. A Persian inscription on the western wall tells us that it was built during the reign of Sikandar Lodi. It has a wall mosque adjacent to it. Close by is a small hut like tomb, called the Kali Gumti. We walked a little further into the park to the Tuhfewala Gumbad, the last stop on our heritage trail.
(posted by Kavita Singh, team member, Delhi Heritage Walks)