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Delhiwale: Into lakhori’s heart

A key component in Mughal architecture, lakhori bricks make up several structures in the Walled City.

delhi Updated: Aug 03, 2018 14:31 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
delhiwale,Old Delhi,walled city
The lakhori bricks - burnt clay bricks--are often very thin and literally hold up entire buildings, like this mansion in Old Delhi’s Chitli Qabar area. (HT Photo )

The wall in the passage inside the arched doorway is slightly damaged, revealing the inner texture of those dream-like lakhori bricks.

This is a rare sight. There aren’t many left, after all.

But virtually every surviving old mansion in the Walled City is most likely built up from these remarkable lakhori bricks.

As a key component in Mughal architecture, these burnt clay bricks--often very thin--literally hold up entire buildings. And were standard issue for centuries until the British Raj introduced larger ghumma bricks.

Closely inspecting an old doorway at this mansion in Chitli Qabar reveals the clay bricks in detail. A learned architect may view it with all the technical skills at his command. But for most people, simply gazing at the bricks can evoke the sense of an older time that has nearly drifted away.

The house does have a wooden balcony, but the street probably offers the best vantage point to observe the damaged corridor’s spectacular display of lakhori. An elderly man in the neighbourhood reckons the building is around 150 years old. Its home to a baker, he informs.

Certain renovations are planned to repair the damaged wall, which means the lakhori bricks will be replaced with the modern variation. In other words: there’s no time like the present to take a peek before it’s too late.

First Published: Aug 03, 2018 14:31 IST