It is one of the most chaotic areas of the Capital with an interstate bus terminus, a railway station that sees huge footfall and thousands of vehicles on the Ring Road that cuts through it.
A 16th Century inn, which goes by the name of Sarai Kale Khan, lends its name to this locality that consists predominantly of a Gujjar-majority village and an interstate bus terminus near Nizamuddin railway station. But what lays forgotten in all the hullaballoo is Bahlolpur Bangar, which was a sprawling agriculture land by the Yamuna floodplains till six decades ago.
People say arched cells surrounded the rubble masonry built ‘Sarai’ of Kale Khan. Nearby was the ‘Kale Khan ka Mahal’, his residence and later the tomb which is a fairly big structure consisting a large number of arched cells.
“Our elders told us that Kale Khan was originally a Hindu converted to Islam during Aurangzeb’s reign when he was made the manager of the sarai,” says Braham Dutt, 68, a resident.
About 450 years ago, Dutt’s ancestor came here from Khanpur in south Delhi and was adopted by Kale Khan, who also gave up a fourth of his land. The enterprising Gujjar and his descendents toiled to increase their land holdings and bought more land from Bahlolpur Bangar and neighbouring Kilokari. Healthy livestock added to their prosperity.
“The village had a surrounding wall and two tall gateways on the east and west,” Dutt added.
But land acquisition for the ISBT was a setback for the villagers, most of whom were farmers. Over the decades, urbanisation ate up the ruins of the sarai and the tall gates while the mahal was built over.