Today’s weather was perfect…bright, breezy and pleasantly cool. 18 heritage enthusiasts joined me along with Kanika Singh and Rajesh Ranjan for the heritage walk in Mehrauli Archaeological Park. Situated on the Aravallis, this is perhaps earliest inhabited area of Delhi. This heritage trail is vast and very interesting: it covers monuments and structures from 13th century to 19th century. We started our walk from an arched gate that leads to Balban’s tomb. It is here that ASI carried out some excavation work in summer of 2009 and found some rooms, graves which seems to be part of the larger residential complex..today again we saw labour working on the site…let us see what more may come out of it. Adjacent to Balban’s tomb is Khan Shaheed’s grave, son of Balban who died fighting the Mongols in 1285A.D. This chamber has some some remains of floral designs on plaster and little bit of blue tile on one of the walls. We can visualise how magnificent it would have been at the time of its construction. A little ahead are the 16th -17th century ruins, probably a residential complex…The entire group was very impressed by next structure, Jamali Kamali mosque…it’s a fine example of Indo-Islamic architecture and claimed to be forerunner in the design of Mughal mosque architecture in India. It was built by Jamali in 1535, a sufi saint and poet who lived in the court of Sikander Lodi. On the northern side of the mosque is tomb of Jamali & Kamali. It is a finely decorated structure with a flat roof (very unusual for the period it was built in). Just outside the mosque is a canopy on elevated ground. This is Thomas Metcalfe’s folly. From here onwards the entire area was part of Metcalfe’s estate: the carriageway, the Lodi period dovecote modified in to a boathouse, Quli Khan’s tomb or ‘Dilkhusha’. Standing on the roof of ‘Dilkhusha’ one gets an excellent view of Qutab Minar, a world heritage site and surrounding monuments like Adham khan’s tomb, Mahavir statue at Ahimsa Sthal, Jamali Kamali mosque and follies built by Thomas Metcalfe. We now walked toward the magnificent baoli. Rajon ki baoli is a four tiered stepwell built during Sikander Lodi’s reign. The next stop was a row of stables (probably dating to Lodi period) and we ended the walk at a single room structure popularly identified as Khan Shaheed’s intended tomb.
Posted by Rajesh Ranjan &Vijaya Walia, Team Members, Delhi Heritage Walks