Satpula (The seven Bridges) of 14th Century
This article is a part of My (Vikram) and Gaurav’s Delhi Expedition…
Delhi, in 14th Century was actually a set of 4 prime cities named Qila Rai Pithora, Tughlaqabad, Jahanpanah and Siri. Built in 1323, Satpula, or the Bridge of Seven Openings (Pul) was a magnificent piece of Tughlaq architecture, which was connecting these principal cities. It was a remarkable ancient water harvesting dam. The objective of building the weir was for providing water for irrigation and also, as a part of the city wall, to provide defense security to the city against attacking armies.
The weir, Satpula or seven bridges regulated impounded waters for irrigation. It has seven main openings with two additional subsidiary openings at each end. The sidewalls of each of the seven main arched openings have grooves for sliding gates or shutters, which controlled the flow of water from the artificial rain-filled lake to the south. Octagonal towers housing chambers with diameters of 19′-6" (5.97m) flank the weir. The chambers once housed a school, hence the monument’s alternate name ‘madrasa’.
The location of the Satpula, which is a part of the east–west wall protecting the southern part of Jahanpanah, drains a catchment comprising a series of low hills on the south, east, and west. The stream draining the catchment area, known as Barapulla Nallah was planned to be tapped to store the run–off water of the catchment. Command area for irrigation was identified in a large open plain on the northern side for providing water supplies from the proposed storage behind the Satpula, to grow irrigated crops to sustain a large population.
Thus, a reliable water storage reservoir in the arid region of Delhi, which has the Thar desert on its west, was built as the headworks or weir across the Barapulla Nallah. Even though no epigraphic evidence is available to date the Satpula, a reasseacrh study report has conjectured that it could be dated to the same time as the four–eyyan Mosque (first of its kind in India) called Jami built by Muhammad bin Tughluq in 1343
It is believed, locally, that the waters, which now are dried up had healing powers because saint Nasiru’d-Din Mahmud, also known as Chiragh-e-Delhi (Lamp of Delhi), performed ablution here.
How To Reach
We started from Nehru Place, and went towards Lado Sarai. When we were about to reach MSG Metropolitan Mall and Select City Walk at Saket, we saw an old wall on the main road. There was no direct way to reach there. So we jumped our bike over the rough debris and drove over mud and rumbles for nearly 500 mts. We parked our bike and had a look behind the wall. Our eyes, left wide open, with a mesmerizing view of a long dam, with lots of small doors and openings. The image below (right side) is the entrance of stairs. I was wondering if I could fit in there, but it was fun.