Numerous monuments dot the city’s landscape. Few are well known, few have faded away from our memories. We revisit some of them.
The winding lanes with thick trees on the sides and an isolated path can easily pass as a forest. But this is no forest, it’s in your very own Delhi! And the place is the 14th century Bhuli Bhatiyari ka Mahal, one of the many lesser known monuments of the city hiding behind a grove of trees, considered to be a haunted place.
While there are over 1300 monuments in Delhi, not all of them are as popular as Red Fort or Humayun’s Tomb, some are turning into ruins.
The 19th century tomb Mazar-e-Zauq is shadowed by haphazard constructions from all sides in one of the bylanes of Paharganj.
“Only researchers or people who know about the tomb visit. Not many tourists come here,”said Surendra Kumar, security guard at the tomb.
The tomb of Maulana Azad, which has a beautiful landscape, is sadly lost in the chaos of Meena Bazar. Finding Shish Mahal — another fascinating monument built during Shah Jahan’s reign — is no less challenging.
Several monuments, says Archaeological Survey of India Delhi circle chief, Vasant Kumar Swaranka, are gradually being forgotten and work to conserve some of them is on the cards.
“From time to time we plan to restore the monuments, however, it’s not possible to conserve all at one go,” he says.
Bhuli Bhatiyari ka Mahal
Inside Story: It was built by Feroz Shah Tughlaq in the 14th century as a hunting lodge. Some historians maintain that it was named after the ‘bhuri’ or the fair inn-keeper at the lodge.
Others believe that it was built for a woman from the Bhatiyara family who had lost her way in the jungle, hence the name ‘Bhuli’.
Explore: Stairs that take you on top of the palace from where you can get a good view of the city.
Where: Ridge road, five minutes from the Jhandewalan metro station
Inside Story: Located within the premises of Shalimar Bagh which was constructed by Mughal emperor Shahjahan in 1653. Shish Mahal (House of mirrors) was also built around that time by one of the queens of the emperor.
Once a beautiful palace, the Mahal had a network of wells and fountains around it.
Explore: The Shish Mahal itself is quite a large building, constructed mainly out of Lakhori brick and red sandstone.
Look out for the beautiful painted flower decorations on the ceiling from its royal past.
Where: Shalimar Bagh, Hyderpur
Inside Story: If at any point in your life you have had a love for poetry, then you must be aware of this name, Mirza Ghalib. A poet in the imperial courts of the Mughals, Ghalib’s tomb was designed by the famous architect from Hyderabad, Nawab Jang Bahadur.
Explore: The walls inside the courtyard that come alive with Ghalib’s poetry. Look out for cultural events and poetry sessions organised here from time to time.
Where: Near Hazrat Nizamuddin dargah and north of Chaunsath Khamba
Inside Story: Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim Zauq (1789-1854) was regarded as one of the pioneers of Urdu poetry and Mazar-e-Zauq is the great poet’s last resting place. He was a poet at the court of the Mughal king Bahadur Shah Zafar, who interestingly was one of his students.
Zauq, who lived in the bylanes of Nabi Karim area, was known for his qasidas and mushairas. The poet’s tomb was restored after a Supreme Court order.
Explore: The poet’s couplets inscribed on marble plaques on the walls surrounding the grave.
Where: Chind Bagh, Kadam Sherif, Paharganj.
Maulana Azad’s Tomb
Inside Story: A freedom fighter, Maulana Azad, was the first education minister of the country. He died in 1958 and his memorial was designed by architect Habib Rahman. The cross-barrel vault structure was derived from the central arch of Jama Masjid.
Explore: Look out for the striking view of Jama Masjid which springs out from above the trees.
Where: Near Meena Bazaar, Jama Masjid, Old Delhi.