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The story of the 12 pillars

delhi Updated: Aug 19, 2012 00:43 IST
Nivedita Khandekar
Nivedita Khandekar
Hindustan Times
Nivedita Khandekar

"Barakhamba Road station. The doors will open on the left." About 30,000 commuters hear this while de-boarding at Delhi Metro's Barakhamba Road station every day. Wonder, how many know why it is called 'Barakhamba' Road?

Theories abound about the connection with 12 blocks with large white pillars of Connaught Place. What many don't know is that a monument named Barah Khamba existed till 100 years ago. It was located somewhere near the mosque opposite Yusuf Zai market.

Barah Khamba or Baradari are structures with 12 pillars or 12 arches. Similar structures exist in Basti Nizamuddin and Green Park today.

'Monuments of Delhi' a detailed documentation of Delhi's built heritage by Maulvi Zafar Hasan, first published in 1919, gives details about this. "The Barah Khamba is probably a tomb that has been given its name on account of the 12 pillars, which support its vaulted roof. At present (May 1914) the building is used as the office of the executive engineer and has been repaired, paved and whitewashed," Hasan writes about the Afgha-era structure.

"This road was always called Barakhamba Road since the British times," said Shikhar Chand Jain, who built the New Delhi House, an important landmark on the road.

Over the decades, sprawling bungalows lining the outer circle gave way to the high-rises.

A bus stop, Shivaji Bridge railway station nearby and now a metro station keeps the Barakhamba Road buzzing on weekdays. However, there is no trace of the monument, which we possibly lost to urbanisation.