Shikargaah, or a hunting lodge, was to Mughal nobility what a camping out in the wild is for city slickers today.
Kushak Mahal is one of the few remaining hunting lodges in the city that was built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq in the mid-14th century.It sits cozily right in front of Nehru Planetarium on the premises of Teen Murti Bhawan on Teen Murti Road.
The plush manicured lawns of the Teen Murti Bhawan with beautiful tree-lined avenues outside the planetarium premises belie the fact that this lodge was once located in the wilderness. Firozshah's own citadel — Kotla Firoz Shah — was far away on the banks of the Yamuna.
An Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) protected monument today, this hunting lodge is almost square in shape and a rubble masonry structure standing atop a high platform. It is more than two-storey high. The three-arched openings rest on stone pillars.
One has to climb a flight of odd-sized steps to reach the top of the lodge. The ASI had carried out repairs a few years ago consolidating the structure.
Even though today a shabby modern wall hugs this monument's base, historical records show that it originally had an attached embankment used to retain water. Unfortunately, nothing of this remains now.
The hunting lodge is a favourite site for tourists visiting the neighbouring planetarium and Teen Murti Bhawan memorial.
"Almost everybody who comes here climbs atop the lodge and clicks photographs," says Iyyanar, who has been working at the planetarium for past 27 years.