The 16th century surprise | delhi | Hindustan Times
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The 16th century surprise

delhi Updated: Jul 29, 2012 01:31 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

What is today the Capital's favourite joggers' park, a place frequented by the rich and famous as well as the common folk, was not so long ago a village by the name of Khairpur.

Not many of the frequent visitors know the name when they visit Lodi Gardens.

Inside it is a 16th century surprise.

Khairpur sat on the banks of a tributary of the Yamuna river. A sturdy bridge over the tributary was called the Athpula — literally, a bridge with eight piers. It has seven arches with parapet walls sloping from the centre towards both ends.

It was built in the 16th century during Mughal ruler Akbar's reign by Nawab Bahadur, one of his noblemen.

Not much has changed in the structure of the bridge itself but its surroundings have undergone a sea change over the past 100 years.

The British, it is said, repaired the bridge in 1913-14 when the village was taken over for incorporation into Delhi, the country's new Capital.

It could possibly have been a stopover on one of the roads taking travellers from Walled City areas to Mehrauli.

In the vicinity are the Nizamuddin Dargah to the east and Safdarjung's Tomb to the west.

"The stream must have been wide enough with much water throughout the year. Hence, this bridge came up at the narrowest possible spot to cross it. Unfortunately, the British have left no trace of the river, not even the name is known till date," says Anupam Mishra, an environmentalist.