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HindustanTimes Wed,30 Jul 2014

A milestone on the highway

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 27, 2012
First Published: 23:20 IST(27/10/2012) | Last Updated: 01:10 IST(28/10/2012)

It has a solid stone base with a brick masonry pillar tapering upwards. Exposed stones and peeled-off lime plaster only add to its pitiable condition.

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Kishen Kumar, a driver on the Nehru Place-Badarpur Border bus route, crosses it at least thrice a day. "Guess, this is some peer's mazar!"

The 'Kos Minar', as this structure is known as, is the medieval equivalent of a modern mile stone (kos is approximately 3km).

This one has almost choking grill-sides, a stout pillar ensconced between extremely busy carriageways of Mathura Road, just metres from the Badarpur Metro station.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/10/28_10_12-metro4.jpg

Originally about 30 feet tall, this is a dwarfed version as the road level went several notches up. Two gensets buzz right next to it. Standing amid numerous concrete pillars of the flyover and the Metro, people hardly notice it.

"I have been working here since the last 20 months. Just one person has asked about it," says Govind Sharma, manning the genset office.

This is one of the few surviving Kos Minars in Delhi. Mughal-era highways spanning almost 3,000 km from Lahore, Peshawar in the north to Bengal in the east had these minars. At few places, it had an accompanying sarai (roadside inn).

As all those interested in the study of history tell us "past is the link to the future", these are the proverbial milestones in our history. No wonder, most of the national highways today take almost the same course as that of the centuries old thoroughfares.


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