The story of a medieval madrasa: heritage walk to Hauz Khas village & Deer Park, 26 Jan13

February 1, 2013 in Deer Park,Delhi Heritage Walks,DHW,hauz Khas,Hauz Khas Heritage Walks,Heritage Walks | Comments (2)

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)

Hauz Khas Heritage Walk

2 Responses to “The story of a medieval madrasa: heritage walk to Hauz Khas village & Deer Park, 26 Jan13”

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  1. Comment by Dr anuj — February 2, 2013 at 9:13 am  

    Hi DHW… I am a regular participant in DHW walks covering parts in Delhi. I must say these are really great experiences for any history lover. In fact, this is the right way to know and learn about our history.   Here I would like to add there is one very interesting fact, which has not been captured by any of the Heritage walk groups and i.e. “Third Battle of Panipat”. It is one of the major incident happened in 1761 which changed the Indian course of history. 
    Therefore, I would like to urge the DHW group to make Heritage walk to cover this incident. As a resource, I would recommend book called Solstice at Panipat, 17 January, 1761. Thanks

  2. Comment by Kanika — February 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm  

    thank you very much anuj. it is a pleasure to see you on our walks. And your suggestions/comments about Delhi’s history are always welcome. Will definitely work on the Battle of Panipat & try to come up with something soon. looking forward to seeing you on more walks. 

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