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Delhiwale: Haunted by history

Khooni Darwaza got its name when emperors started hanging heads of princes here

delhi Updated: Jul 17, 2017 11:02 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
It was originally named Kabuli Darwaza, when Kabul-bound caravans left the city through its arched entrance.
It was originally named Kabuli Darwaza, when Kabul-bound caravans left the city through its arched entrance.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

Khooni Darwaza means ‘bloodied gateway’ and it comes into its own during this season. Legend has it that blood drips from its ceilings during the monsoon.

Built by Sher Shah Suri in 1540, it is in the middle of the four-lane Bahadurshah Zafar Marg connecting New and Old Delhi.

It was originally named Kabuli Darwaza, when Kabul-bound caravans left the city through its arched entrance. The gateway took its new name after the Mughals started displaying the heads of executed criminals from its battlements. It soon became a popular place to hang the body parts of unwanted princes.

Emperor Aurangzeb displayed his brother Dara Shikoh’s head at the gate. Prince Dara was to succeed Shahjahan as the ruler of Mughal India.

After the British crushed the 1857 uprising, they executed the sons of the last Mughal Bahadur Shah Zafar at this gateway. It is believed that the restless spirits of Zafar’s sons still float around the ruin.

But snooping around this ghoulish monument is not so easy. The staircases reaching to the three different levels within the gate are closed to visitors. Good luck with your ghost spotting.