Delhiwale: The neighbourhood tomb
Nobody knows who is buried here. It is not grand, and yet, it is exquisite. You see no tourists, no lovers — typical of Delhi’s more well-known monuments.
This unnamed Lodhi-era tomb in south Delhi’s Lado Sarai is unusually marvellous because each evening it manages to transcend its seemingly insurmountable beauty. As the sun starts to set somewhere beyond the ruins of nearby Mehrauli, the old building loses the sense of its glorious past — if there was any. Instead, it transforms into a plaything for the neighbourhood.
People of the locality overwhelm the monument and its surroundings with the nitty-gritty of their daily lives — turning the ruin into a corner of their private courtyard.
Consider the scenes that we are witnessing at this twilight hour. A young couple is lounging quietly under the shade of the dome, their child playing an arm’s length away. Three friends are sitting on a bench, and loudly discussing their preparations for a job exam. A badminton game is on in full swing. A kite flier is here, too. A boy is riding his cycle up a grassy slope. Two elderly men are arguing about politics. A young man is watching the silhouette of the Qutub Minar in the gathering darkness.
In brief, nobody gives a thought to an adjacent plaque that reads: “To the eastern side of the tomb, there are remains of a rubble wall… The interior walls and the dome are embellished with geometrical designs and Quranic inscriptions… There are also traces of glazed tiles…”.
But then you don’t need facts to love this place. Come for the atmosphere and that should compel you to return.