“Yun toh koi rishta nahi hai es shahar se, phir bhi na jane kyun mushkil sa isne chodna lag raha hai, kuch der chup rehkar sunah toh pata laga ki woh bhi tanah sa ho raha hai”. These lines were written by my dear friend Purva Grover, when I was all set to leave the City of Jinns for my love for Maximum City, Mumbai.
But today after 12 years, there is something that just is not letting me leave this city. It has loved me, held me tight in those lonely hours of the night, comforted me with it’s care and given me a chance to find THAT thing in me, about me.
Jan Morris, historian, author and travel writer once said “Tombs of emperors stand beside traffic junctions, forgotten fortresses command suburbs, the titles of lost dynasties are woven into the vernacular, if only as street names.” Today this city has grown in leaps and bound but the ruins of this city still stand tall to speak aloud its history. Delhi’s history both intense and exciting.
Razia-al-Din Tomb (Razia Sultan’s Tomb):
Razia Sulta who succeeded her father Shams-ud-din Iltutmish in 1236 is the only woman ruler of both the Sultanate and the Mughal period’s tomb is like the Delhi’s own little secret. There is no dome or crowd her as her tomb is lost somewhere in the by-lanes of Turkman Gate. The locals help you navigate the path to the tomb. And as you hit the iron gated entrance and you climb it is Bulbuli Khana. The tomb encompasses four walls without roof; two graves- one of which is believed to belong to her sister Saziya. The tomb lies in a neglected way with houses on all sides.
Dadi – Poti Gumbad:
As you walk the busy road at the Aurobindo Place market on the Hauz Khas Village road on your right you will see two tombs and a board outside saying Dadi-Poti (grandmother-granddaughter) tombs. The bigger tomb is supposed to belong to dadi and smaller one to poti. Build during the Tughlaq period the Poti tomb was build around (1321-1414) and the Dadi Tomb had been constructed during the Lodi period (1451-1526). The Poti tomb has sloping walls.
Sikander Lodi’s Tomb:
Sometime or the other we all have taken a walk in the Delhi’s one of most green address- Lady Willington Park or more commonly known as Lodhi garden but how many of us know all of those monuments in the garden. One such monuments is the Sikander Lodi’s Tomb.
Build in 1517 by Ibrahim Lodhi this octagonal in shape and is known for the beauty of Mughal architecture with it’s deep veranda and tall arches. Adorned by double dome it’s stands in pride in the centre of an enclosed area. The gateway is south-facing. This is the first garden tomb to be constructed in Delhi.
The other monuments there are Muhammed Shah’s Tomb, Sheesh Gumbad and Bara Gumbad, tomb of Mohammed Shah.
Ever wondered whose tomb is it in the Qutub complex, right next to the emperor’s very own extensions to the Qutub Mosque? This embedded glory is non other than Shams-ul-Din Iltutmish’s tomb. The sandstone tomb stands on a raised platform. The walls of the tomb are covered with elaborate epigraphy, geometrical designs and decorative carvings. The interiors have inscriptions in Kufi and Nakshi and the calligraphy are simple stunning. It’s covered with arched gateways on three sides and other side serves as a mihrab, which directs to Mecca. Going by the popular belief it’s said that tomb was originally covered by a tomb chamber but that fell, and even the one constructed by Feroz Shah Tughlaq too fell. Now the tomb faces the open sky.
Ferguson, a colonel from the British era very aptly described the tomb as: “One of the richest examples of Hindu art applied in Mohammadan purposes”.
Ghalib Ki Haveli:
Talk of Gali Qasim Jaan and pop comes the thought of Mirza Galib, most famous Urdu and Persian poet of it’s time. Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan fondly known as Mirza ghalib was loved his works by the Mughal princes. This 19th century haveli with arched corridors on three sides and courtyard inside is now reduced to just a tourist attraction. Mirza Ghalib is supposed to have spent the last days of his life here. The haveli still preserves some of his belongings and the entrance has statue of him with a hookah in hand. The place still holds an old world charm. The front entrance has an introduction board which bears couplets written by the poet himself.
Labelled as the ‘Ladies Man’ his tomb – in Mirza’s Nizamuddin Basti – is also in an sorry state. The city has it’s very own overwhelming experience for one and all. The words of Galib still keep ringing in my head about Delhi. He every aptly said “I asked my soul, what is Delhi/ She replied: The world is the body and Delhi its soul” ‘cos “Baat jab dil ki ho toh baat Dilli ki ho”.
Jamali Kamali’s Mosque And Tomb
Those visiting the Mehrauli Archaeological Complex can see the remains of Sufi saints Jamali Kamali’s mosque and tomb. They who preached there and after they died there bodies were buried there too in around 1528. They lived here during Sikander Lodi and Humayun’s reigns, that is around the late Sultanate to early Mughal period. History as records of Jamali saying he was Sufi saint and poet Shaikh Fazlullah while Kamali finds no mention in history.
The ‘jharokha’ or the Rajasthani window style of architecture is seen here for the first time in Jamali-Kamali mosque. Another aspect that catches one’s attention is the lotus buds and there are four arches in the center that rest on thick piers. This clearly states the style of the architecture of the Mughal Dynasty. Bu the dome resembles the typical Rajput and earlier Sultanate architecture. The walls have inscriptions on them.
This is now supposed to be home of jinns and is listed in India’s most haunted places.
In the words of greatest Urdu poet Mir Taqi Mir, who was born and raised up in Delhi I would wrap up by saying “Dilli jo ik sheher tha aalam me intekhab rehte the muntakhib hi jahan rozgaar ke, Jis ko falak ne loot ke veeran kar diya Hum rehne wale hain usi ujde dayar ke. (Delhi, that was a city unique in the world, Where lived only the chosen of the time, Fate has looted it and made it deserted, I belong to that very destroyed city).