Photos| Pir Ghaib: Medieval observatory or a vanished saint’s mausoleum

A desolate monument in the Bada Hindu Rao Hospital Complex is shrouded in mystery with regards to its origins - as one of India's oldest astronomical observatories dating back to Feroz Shah Tughaq's time or the graveless mausoleum of a mysterious saint.

Updated On Jul 10, 2017 02:13 PM IST 7 Photos
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Pir Ghaib which lies deep within the campus of Bada Hindu Rao Hospital is a derelict monument which claims two narratives as part of its lore. The first is that this 14th century monument constructed by Firoz Shah Tughlak found use as a hunting lodge and also as an astronomical observatory. Another claim to the monument’s origin is that it was later the site of refuge for a saint who ‘mysteriously’ vanished from within it, leading to the monument’s current name. (Abhirup Biswas/HT Photo)

Pir Ghaib which lies deep within the campus of Bada Hindu Rao Hospital is a derelict monument which claims two narratives as part of its lore. The first is that this 14th century monument constructed by Firoz Shah Tughlak found use as a hunting lodge and also as an astronomical observatory. Another claim to the monument’s origin is that it was later the site of refuge for a saint who ‘mysteriously’ vanished from within it, leading to the monument’s current name. (Abhirup Biswas/HT Photo)

Updated on Jul 10, 2017 02:13 PM IST
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The monument also played a part in the 1857 siege of Delhi with the sepoys and later the British forces taking over the monument and using it as a fortified battery station. With the expansion of Delhi’s boundaries this once strategic site is a largely forgotten part of the northern ridge of Delhi. (Abhirup Biswas / HT Photo)

The monument also played a part in the 1857 siege of Delhi with the sepoys and later the British forces taking over the monument and using it as a fortified battery station. With the expansion of Delhi’s boundaries this once strategic site is a largely forgotten part of the northern ridge of Delhi. (Abhirup Biswas / HT Photo)

Updated on Jul 10, 2017 02:13 PM IST
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It is also graded as Archaeological Value A in ‘Delhi The Built Heritage: A Listing’ by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). One can find workers at the site engaged in the preservation of this medieval monument. (Abhirup Biswas / HT Photo)

It is also graded as Archaeological Value A in ‘Delhi The Built Heritage: A Listing’ by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). One can find workers at the site engaged in the preservation of this medieval monument. (Abhirup Biswas / HT Photo)

Updated on Jul 10, 2017 02:13 PM IST
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Once the building fell out of use by the rulers, a portion is believed to have been occupied by a hermitic saint who one day mysteriously disappeared from the room pictured above. Believers now offer diyas at this unique Tughlaq era-shrine in Delhi without a grave. (Abhirup Biswas / HT Photo)

Once the building fell out of use by the rulers, a portion is believed to have been occupied by a hermitic saint who one day mysteriously disappeared from the room pictured above. Believers now offer diyas at this unique Tughlaq era-shrine in Delhi without a grave. (Abhirup Biswas / HT Photo)

Updated on Jul 10, 2017 02:13 PM IST
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While the astronomical tools once supposed to have been present at the monument appear to have succumbed to time, the tools of the workers who now reside here are the only signs of activity. (Abhirup Biswas / HT Photo)

While the astronomical tools once supposed to have been present at the monument appear to have succumbed to time, the tools of the workers who now reside here are the only signs of activity. (Abhirup Biswas / HT Photo)

Updated on Jul 10, 2017 02:13 PM IST
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Centuries of steady increase in the city’s light and pollution levels have made stargazing unfeasible, though one can still barely stargaze from the Pir Ghaib monument. (Abhirup Biswas / HT Photo)

Centuries of steady increase in the city’s light and pollution levels have made stargazing unfeasible, though one can still barely stargaze from the Pir Ghaib monument. (Abhirup Biswas / HT Photo)

Updated on Jul 10, 2017 02:13 PM IST
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Earlier located at the fringes of Tughlaq era Delhi, the monument now is almost hidden from view and purpose to even those that perchance wander here. (Abhirup Biswas / HT Photo)

Earlier located at the fringes of Tughlaq era Delhi, the monument now is almost hidden from view and purpose to even those that perchance wander here. (Abhirup Biswas / HT Photo)

Updated on Jul 10, 2017 02:13 PM IST
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