With a good monsoon this year, the weather is excellent these days and a heritage walk in Lodi Garden is always a treat for the senses. The monuments, the trees and the birds… & one can add people, if one likes observing them exercise, talk & socialize. Our heritage walk started at gate no. 1 on Lodi Road. Right ahead is the imposing Bada Gumbad. But, our first stop is a royal tomb a little ahead on the left: Muhammad Shah Sayyid’s tomb. The Sayyids are not very prominent in out political history. Very few people have even heard of them. Delhi, in fact, has two prominent tombs belonging to Sayyid dynasty. The neighbourhood of Kotla Mubarakpur near South Extension is named after and houses the tomb of Mubarak Shah Sayyid. The tomb in Lodi Garden is that of his successor. Close to Muhammad Shah’s tomb is Lodi Garden’s tallest tree, called Buddha’s coconut. It is native to rainforests in north east & south India. Our walking trail meanders through the well laid out tracks in the garden. On both sides on can see grave platforms which are almost totally covered by vegetation now. We also came across the butterfly conservatory which has been created a few months back. The path opens into a clearing with the Bada Gumbad and the Shish Gumbad standing prominently. This patch is always filled with people. The Bada gumbad is actually a gateway complex which leads to a mosque, a couple of rooms to the east and a prominent grave platform in the centre. The mosque is the highlight of any visit to Lodi Garden. It is exquisitely decorated with plaster carvings of calligraphy and arabesque. The Shish Gumbad gets its name from the band of tiles on its exterior, most of which are probably lost. The tiles probably shone like mirror giving the building the name ‘shish’ or mirror-like. We missed getting into Sikander Lodi’s tomb as the sun set usually early, around 6.30 pm. However, the tomb looked impressive in floodlights. The next couple of stops are the Athpula, a 17th century bridge; a late-Mughal mosque and garden pavilion and a standalone tower which was probably part of some sort of fortification wall. Athpula, is a lesser known cousin of the Barahpullah which is in news nowadays for CWG road and the footbridge that collapsed!
(posted by Rajesh Ranjan & Kanika Singh, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)