Mehrauli has seen about a thousand years or more of continuous habitation and hence has a curious mix of the old with the new.
But the primary health centre (PHC), a few metres from the Mehrauli bus stand, is where the old is used for a new purpose — a Lodi-era tomb that has now been converted into a healthcare facility.
At first look, most people might not even know that the health centre is right in the lap of a historical tomb.
The only give away for this old structure are its dome and large pillars of the verandah. The tomb is whitewashed from inside, exteriors are a pale yellow and several modern fixtures, such as ceramic tiles, have altered the original look of the place. The additions also include an asbestos-roofed shade.
Islamuddin Khan, working with the public healthcare centre since 1973, said: “I have seen OPD registers dating back to 1935, which means, this place was functional as a health centre since the 1930s.”
He also recalls that originally there was just one huge chamber with a verandah running around all sides. “Rooms were built, closing in portions of the verandah,” Khan, who lives nearby, said.
A stone plaque on the outer side of the boundary wall reads: “From the Zails of Mehrauli and Badarpur, 1,261 men went to the Great War, 1914-1919 of whom 92 gave up their lives.”
While nobody has any idea why it is there, the word Zail — a revenue unit for an area in old times — misleads several locals into believing that the building originally was a jail.