Hundreds of people frequent the Defence Colony main market, famous for its eateries and plush restaurants. But most of them, in all probability, miss a very beautiful, heritage structure that stands alone, right in the middle of the place.
The octagonal tomb with a dome — christened the Gumti of Shaikh Ali — understandably has seen several additions and alterations over the years. Its white washed exteriors now help in concealing the original features and texture of the stone monument.
This Lodi-era structure has housed the office of Defence Colony Welfare Association (DCWA) since 1960. Prior to it, for centuries, this was part of the medieval village of Kotla Mubarakpur, now less than a kilometer away.
A compilation of Delhi’s monuments by Zafar Hasan, released in the early 1920s, states that there were two graves inside the tomb, both of which were apparently lost to time.
Today, all eight sides of the structure that originally had arched openings are closed with brick walls. There is a toilet on one side.
The interiors, too, have seen modern day additions such as a false ceiling, tiled flooring and electrical fixtures on the walls complete with an aluminu-glass door.
With a small park around, this was a traffic roundabout till about a decade ago. The traffic police then stopped it and the open areas in front of it has been now been turned into parking lots.
The tomb was illuminated on special days but that practice too was discontinued.