Our Heritage

Blog about Heritage, Monuments, Ruins and much more…

Archive for the tag “Delhi”

First view of Baoli in the Red Fort of Delhi



What looks like the most untouched stepped well was actually a garbage dumping site for many years. When British took over the Qila-e-Mualla aka Quila-e-Mubarak aka Red Fort, they decided to make some more space for their residence. This beautiful stepped well, built by the Mughals also fell prey for their greed for space.

The British installed huge girders across the platform to create rooms in there. Post Independence, when Indian Army took over, they turned this place to a dumping site. Recently, Archaeological Survey of India got the charge of this place and they cleaned the beautiful stepped well and removed the girders.


The history stone there says that the INA officers Shah Nawaz Khan, P. K. Sehgal and G. S. Dhillon were confined here in 1945-46 during the freedom movement


The unique structure

8This baoli has a unique structure with stairs from two sides at 90 degree. The two stairs combine at a pit, which is attached to the well. The amazing part was that we were able to listen to the sound of water seeping from the ground into the well.


More from lens…

73  The stairs on two sides

10 2


5 6 Well behind the steps

12The CISF Quarters opposite to the Baoli

Is Delhi really 100 year old?

800px-Delhi_Drubar,_1911 Delhi, the capital of Republic of India. It is said that Delhi has completed its hundred years on 12th December 2011. How true is this statement?  

What happened 100 years ago?

11th December, 1911 – King George V was declared the Emperor of India and on 12th December 1911, he presented himself to the public at the Coronation Ground in Burari Village, Delhi. This ceremony was called ‘Delhi Durbar’. On this occasion, King George declared that the capital of British India be shifted from Calcutta (now Kolkata) to Delhi. 12th December 2011, we complete 100 years of this declaration.

The Ignored truth?

Delhi was treated as a capital since Mahabharta era, when Pandavas had setup their territory in the reign of Khandva Forest and named it as Indrapatta (or Indraprastha). Later, several dynasties came and used Delhi as their capital. Here’s a list:

circa 2500 BC Pandavas Ruled from Indraprastha, the earliest reference of Delhi
736-1180 Tomars Ruled from Lal Kot (now in Mehrauli)
1180-1192 Rajputs Ruled from Qila Rai Pithora (Mehrauli, Lado Sarai area)
1206-1290 Slave Dynasty Ruled from area around Mehrauli
1290-1321 Khilji Dynasty Ruled from area, what we now call Siri (around Siri Fort) in Delhi
1321-1398 Tughlaq Dynasty Ruled from Areas like Tughlaqabad, Jahanpanah (now Begumpur, Sarvpriya Vihar and Tara Apartments etc.) and Ferozabad (or Feroz Shah Kotla). NOTE: Muhammed bin tughlaq took capital from Delhi to Daultabad for some time, but brought it back.
1398-1414 Attack by Timur Lung No Ruler. Period of Chaos
1414-1421 Sayyid Dynasty Ruled from existing establishments of various cities comprising Delhi
1451-1526 Lodhi Dynasty Ruled from existing establishments of various cities comprising Delhi
1526-1540 Timurid/Mughal Dynasty Humayun started Dinpanah at what we now call Old Fort
1540-1556 Sur Dynasty Ruled from Dilli Sher Shahi, around Old Fort of Delhi
1556 Hindu ruler – Hemu (Samrat Hemchandra Vikramaditya) Ruled very small portion of country from vacant fort of Shergarh (now called Old Fort), but removed from throne by Humayun and Mughals came back
1556-1857 Mughal Dynasty Akbar and Jahangir took Capital out of Delhi but Shahjahan bought back to Shahjahanbad and started rule from Red Fort of Delhi.
1856-1947 British After taking last Mughal king out in 1857, British continued to rule from their existing setup  in Calcutta. Then King George V, on 12th December 1911, declared to bring the capital back to Delhi.

  We have numerous sites and remains since 7th century showing Delhi as one of the most important cities of India. British just understood the importance a little late and utilized the empty space lying between the other 7 cities of Delhi. The did a unification of cities and restored few old buildings. After the declaration in 1911, it took more than a decade for the capital to actually move in. The Viceroy House (Rashtrapati Bhavan) was commissioned on January 23rd, 1931.   Following is the video from the Delhi Durbar of 1911 at the Coronation Ground of Delhi. Rest is up to you to decide.  


Ceremonial changing of the Guards – Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi

Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi

Guarding-the-StarEvery Saturday morning, people are allowed to witness a ceremony of the most secure place in India, the Rashtrapati Bhawan (residence of the President of India).

On the heights of Raisina Hill and between the colonial pillars of North Block and South Block, the President’s Body Guards (PBG), along with a unit of Army march out of the majestic gates of the presidential palace. Spectators are seated to witness the Ceremonial Changing of Guards, on the this side of RajPath.Amar-Jawan-Jyoti

On the eastern end of RajPath, stands gigantic India Gate, the tomb of Unknown Soldiers of India, with ever-lit Amar Jawan Jyoti (Immortal Soldier’s flame). On the west end, is the seat of the President and Parliament of Republic of India. Army and President’s Body Guards (PBG) guard this place and rotate shifts every week.

Canon and Guard at Rasthrapati Bhawan Cavalry marching out of Rashtrapati Bhawan

The Presidential Bodyguards, mounted on their horses come marching from outside the complex and enter through a gate near South Block. Initial ceremony is held inside the gates and only people with special permission are allowed to view it. Later, the entire parade marches out of Rashtrapati Bhawan and everyone is allowed to be seated on the chairs installed for the ceremony outside south block.

Infantry CommanderMounted-Commander

Infantry during Change of Guard Ceremony

PBG and the the regiment incharge takes position in front of the North Block with a  backdrop of saffron, white and green flags. The commanders take position on the other side of road, in front of the South Block. The commander of Infantry stands on a small red stage and the cavalry commander from PBG takes the salute mounted on his horse near the South Block entrance.

Ceremony starts with a salute and attendance is taken. Then both the Changing-the-Guardcommanders inspect the new guards and the entire parade marches towards the Rashtrapati Bhawan for shift swap. The parade enters the gate and public is allowed to view the ceremony from outside (except for those with special permission). After another round of salutation and inspection, the guards are swapped.

The ceremony ends with the parade marching out on the tune of Sare Jahan se Achha!


Summer: 9:00 AM to 9:40 AM
Winter: 10:00 AM to 10:40 AM

NOTE: The timing for this parade keeps changing. Please check the below link before planning your visit.

(ref: http://presidentofindia.nic.in/time_cog.html)

More from lens…

Commanding South-BlockMounted-Guard-Front  Guard Guards-of-the-Palace  Marching Marching-Sync March-Out Mounted-Guard

Replacing the New Guard The North Block Flags on the South Block Guarding Rashtrapati Bhawan, Before starting the ceremony Presidential Body Guards Presidential Body Guards Army officer from Madras Regiment Change of Guard ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi North Block, Rashtrapati Bhawan 10 11 The guard of the Nation Band from the Sikh Regiment Parade retiring to the Rashtrapati Bhawan

Tomb of Ghiyas ud din Balban – 1286 AD

This monument is present at

Mehrauli Archeological Park

and this article is a part or my expedition




Sultan Muizz-ud-din kaiqubad bin Nasir-ud-din bin Ghiyas-ud-din Balban (1200 AD – 1287 AD) was a Slave ruler of Delhi from the period of 1266 AD to 1287 AD. His tomb lies within Mehrauli Archeological Park, next to the Qutub Minar Complex.

This tomb is known to be the first true arched tomb within India. The tombstone reads…

“Ghiyasuddin Balban was a Turki slave of Iltutmish and held the post of Prime Minister during the reign of Nasiruddin Mahmud. On the death of Mahmud, he ascended the throne and ruled for 24 years until his death. The tomb in rubble masonry is believed to have been the earliest instance of the true arch and dome being used in India.”

However, the dome no longer exists as it got demolished with time.

Sultan Ghiyas-ud-Din Balban

Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia

He was son of a Turkish noble of the Ilbari tribe, but as a child was captured by Mongols and sold as a slave at Ghazni. Khwaja, Jamaluddin Basri of Baghdad Later, he was bought by Sultan Iltutmish in 1232 CE, who at the orders of his own master, Qutbuddin Aibak, released him from slavery and brought him up in a manner befitting a prince.

He was liberally educated. He introduced the Persian culture of zaminbos that is lying flat on one’s face before the emperor. He was first appointed as Khasdar (king’s personal attendant)by the Sultan. He became the head of the ‘Chalissa’, a group of forty Turkish nobles of the state. After the overthrow of Razia Sultana he made rapid strides in the subsequent reigns. He was initially the Prime Minister of Sultan Nasir ud din Mahmud from 1246 to 1266 and married his daughter, but Balban declared himself the Sultan of Delhi after the previous sultan Nasir ud din Mahmud’s death because Sultan Nasir ud din Mahmud had no male heir. Sultan Balban ascended the throne in 1266 at the age of sixty with the title of Ghyas ud din Balban.

During his reign, Balban ruled with an iron fist. He broke up the ‘Chihalgani’, a group of the forty most important nobles in the court. He tried to establish peace and order in the country of India. He built many outposts in areas where there was crime and garrisoned them with soldiers. Balban wanted to make sure everyone was loyal to the crown by establishing an efficient espionage system. Sultan Balban had a strong and well-organized spy system. Balban placed secret reporters and news-writers in every department. The spies were independent authority only answerable to Sultan. Balban was strict administrator of justice. He did not show any partiality even to his own kith and kin. About his justice Dr. Ishwari Prasad remarked "So great was the dread of Sultan’s inexorable justice that no one dared to ill-treat his servant and slaves." When a complaint was made that Malik Barbaq, a powerful landlord of Badaun killed one of his own servant. Balban ordered his death sentence. The news-writer(spy), who was responsible for Badaun reporting was also executed because he failed to report this act of injustice to Sultan.

He ruled as the Sultan from 1266 until his death in 1287, and was succeeded by his grandson, Muiz ud din Qaiqabad, who reign (1287-1290). His successors were weak and incompetent and the throne was eventually captured by Jalal ud din Firuz Khilji in 1290, bringing an end to the Slave dynasty.


From the Lens…


Ruins of Ancient city adjacent to Balban’s Tomb…

 City-Entrance City-Ruins-(1) City-Ruins-(2) City-Ruins-(3) City-Ruins-(4)  City-Wall-Stone


Here lies the Powerful Emperor…



The Ruined Tomb…

 Balban's-Tomb-(1) Balban's-Tomb-(2)Balban's-Tomb-(3)  Balban's-Tomb---Marker


Tomb’s Gateway…

Balban's-Tomb's-Gate Balban's-Tomb's-Gateway-Stone


How to Reach

When you enter Mehrauli Archeological Park, you will find pillars everywhere directing you to Balban’s Tomb and City Ruins.

There is a hole in wall on the Auribindo Marg, where flower market starts. This hole helps you park your car next to Balban’s Tomb. But I am sure it will soon be repaired by ASI and you will have to park along the Jamali Kamali mosque.


If you need more information on this, or need better resolution pics, contact me at contact@vikramjits.com

Jamali Kamali Mosque and Mausoleum, Mehrauli – 1528 AD

This monument is present at

Mehrauli Archeological Park

and this article is part or my expedition




In 1536, a renowned Sufi Saint, Shaikh Hamid bin Fazlu’llah a.k.a. Shaikh Jamal-uddin Kamboh Dehlwi a.k.a. Jalal Khan a.k.a. Dervesh Jamali was buried near a mosque designed by him in 1528. The mosque, and the adjacent tomb are now popular by name “Jamali-Kamali”. Not much is know about Kamali , except that he was the best friend of Jamali. 


Shaikh Jamali Kamboh


Shaikh Jamali was a prominent sunni sufi statue of suhrawardiyya sect during the Lodhi and Mughal era. He was the tutor of Emperor Sikandar Lodhi. Due to his Persian work, he was also called Khusrau-e-Saani (Equal to Khusrao). His prominent works are Siyar-i-Arifin (account of Chisti and suhrawardiyya sufis of period), Masnawi, Mihr wa Mahi Shaikh and a Diwan of verses. Shaikh Jamali died 1536 AD while accompanying Mughal emperor Humayun to Gujarat. He was then burried in a tomb next to his mosque. Later, his best friend Kamali was also burried there. If you look at the graves closely, you will find that Jamali’s grave takes up the central area, and kamali’s grave was somehow adjusted in remaining space on right side later, blocking the passage.


The Mosque


The mosque was built in 1528. It is said to be designed by Shaikh Jamali himself. The main entry is always closed. But there is an attendant, who upon request opens it for viewing. The side entry is permanently closed. When we first went there, we found few kids playing cricket in the backyard.



Mosque contains a water pit  just near the entrance in large open area. Main building is made with red stone. The central of five arches is having a dome and this mosque is known to be the first of such mosque structures in India. Mihrabs decorate the west facing prayer wall, which also has koranic inscriptions. The second storey of mosque is locked for public access. But there are small stairs leading to vents in four octagonal towers.


Jamali-Kamali-Mosque-Outside-2 Jamali-Kamali-Mosque-Gate Jamali-Kamali-Mosque-Inside

Jamali-Kamali-Gate Jamali-Kamali-Exterior-Garden Jamali-Kamali-Mosque-Stairs

Jamali-Kamali-Exterior-Wall Jamali-Kamali-Mosque-Inside-Closeup


The Mausoleum


The tomb of Jamali and Kamali is accessible through a small gate from mosque. There is another entry to the porch from north-east corner, but it is also sealed.  Towards north west corner, is the enclosed tomb with very nice engraving and beautifully decorated walls in blue and red color. There are koranic inscriptions everywhere. Jamali’s grave takes the center part, and as I said earlier, Kamali’s grave is adjusted on the right side blocking the path. It looks like he was burried much later to the famous poet. There is a very huge porch enclosed with wall containing windows. There is another wall dividing the porch into a proportion of 80-20. This 20% area again has few graves. There are several other unknown graves in the main porch, one of which is even covered with a pavilion.

Jamali-Kamali-GraveRoom-Inside-Roof Jamali-Kamali-backyard Jamali-Kamali-backyard-2 Jamali-Kamali-backyard-3 Jamali-Kamali-backyard-4 Jamali-Kamali-GraveRoom-2

Jamali-Kamali-GraveRoom-Inside-Roof-2 Jamali-Kamali-GraveRoom-Inside-1 Jamali-Kamali-GraveRoom-Inside-2


How to Reach

IMG_5485When you enter Mehrauli Archeological Park, you will find such pillars everywhere. Just follow your way towards the ‘Jamali-Kamali Mosque’. 


If you are coming from Gurgaon on MG Road (Aurobindo Marg), towards Qutub Minar, as you cross the road towards Jain Dada Badi (don’t turn on it), you will find a small entrance to some park with a standard board outside (like it is outside all other parks in Delhi telling do’s and dont’s for a park). Take your vehicle inside, and you can find parking next to Jamali Kamali.

Mehrauli Archaeological Park

This article is a part of My Delhi Expedition…



Adjacent to Qutub Minar Complex, lies the magnificent Mehrauli Archaeological Park, that hides more than 80 historical marvels. It contains monuments dating back to Prithvi Raj Chauhan and Balban. In 1997, INTACH (Delhi Chapter) and Delhi Tourism decided to develop these neglected ruins. They started with a target of restoring 40 monuments. So far, not even half of this figure is reached, but still, some deep secrets were revealed. Spread in several acres, this park, on one side touches the World Heritage Qutub Complex and on other side, neighbors the entire mehrauli village.





When we enter Qutub Minar, there is a round structure by Metcalf (britisher). Adjacent to that structure, is the entrance to Mehrauli Archeological Park. Park is walled on one side and is bounded by Qutub Complex on other. Rest two sides are heavily forested and small beaten mud tracks leads you inside woods. You can enter from Gateway (next to Qutub Complex), Well, Balban’s Tomb, Gumti, Walled Mosque, Mughal Tomb and Gandhak ki Baoli


Monuments in Park


A list of monuments, that are identified is as follows…

(Note that not all are restored. The work is in progress since 1997)

  1. Gateway of Balaban’s Tomb
  2. Balbans Tomb
  3. Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb
  4. Gumtis and Arcaded Building
  5. Maulana Majduddin’s Tomb
  6. Khan Shaheed’s Tomb
  7. Ruins from Balab’n’s Era (Ruined Village)
  8. Metcalf’s Canopy
  9. Boat House
  10. Lodhi Era Well
  11. Circular Path/Building
  12. Lodhi Era Gateway & Guest House
  13. Tomb of Quli Khan
  14. Metcalf’s Bridge
  15. Stable
  16. Tomb with SandStone Jharokhas
  17. Gatehouse
  18. Walled Mosque
  19. Sarai
  20. Mughal Tomb
  21. Rajon ki Baoli
  22. Gandhak Ki Baoli
  23. Unidentified tomb and several graves
  24. Unidentified Ruins in Central Area


Several other monuments adjoin this place, like…

  1. Qutub Minar
  2. Dargah Hz. Bakhtiyar Kaki
  3. Jahaz Mahal
  4. Zafar Mahal
  5. Adam Khan’s Tomb
  6. Madhi Masjid
  7. Jain Dada Badi
  8. Graves of Last few kings of India (except the last one – Bahadur Shah Zafar)
  9. Several dozen other identified/unidentified ruins


Rulers of Delhi and their marks in M.A.Park

Delhi was ruled by many rulers and this place has marks of everyone….

10th Centuray AD Tomar Rajputs Built Lal Kot and Iron Pillar. (This area is enclosed in Lal Kot)
1155 AD Chauhans They built Quila Rai Pithora where Lal Kot was
1200 AD (Approx) Slave Dynasty Tombs of Balban, Iltutmish, Qutub Minar etc.
1320 Tughluq Tughlakabad is not too far from Mehrauli (though I was not able to find any building of Tughluq era in M.A.Park, I am sure there must be something unnoticed/unidentified)
1400-1500 AD Sayyids & Lodhis Tomb of Jamali Kamali and many other monuments are from this era
1526 AD Mughals Many tombs of mughal era and graves can be seen in this area
1757 AD Britishers Metcalf’s canopy, bridge, gardens, gateways and many other buildings are in this park
1947 AD Democratic Govt. Rose Garden and other constructions in here confirm that this place has marks of all rulers

From Camera…


Here are few pics from this mighty place. You can find more pics in coming posts, when I will write one article on each monument…

IMG_5539 IMG_5549IMG_5563 IMG_5565 IMG_5580 IMG_6077 IMG_6092 IMG_6111 IMG_6188 IMG_6196 IMG_6199 IMG_6220

IMG_5541 IMG_5548

Madhi Masjid, Mehrauli

This article is a part of My Delhi Expedition…




As you move towards Jain Dada Badi in Mehrauli (from Andheria Mod), you will find a lonely, but different architecture Lodhi era structure, which has the features of an open wall-mosque as well as a covered mosque. Colored tiles have been used for decorating the flat-roofed chambers with arched openings on either side of the three central bays on the walls of the mosque. Strong walls enclose the courtyard with turrets in each corner giving the mosque the appearance of a miniature fortress. This supports the view that the Madhi Masjid served the purpose of both as a place of worship and was a watchtower to keep a tab on the movements of an alien army.


It has a huge burj like gate built on eastern side, which resembles hindu architecture. This place is a protected monument is kept locked by the Archeological Survey of India. But I somehow managed to get a very brief glimpse, while the guard was keeping an eye on me. The place was clean and lonely, rarely occupied by stray monkeys. I wonder why ASI has not included it into the Mehrauli Archeological Park, as it is adjacent to the premise.


Some clicks of Mosque…


Madhi-Masjid-3 Madhi-Masjid-Burj   Madhi-Masjid-Burj-Interior-2 Madhi-Masjid-Burj-Sideview Madhi-Masjid-Entrance Madhi-Masjid-OpenMosque   RoadView Madhi-Masjid-SideView-2 Madhi-Masjid-1 Madhi-Masjid-2 Madhi-Masjid-WindowMadhi-Masjid-SideViewMadhi-Masjid-Burj-Interior-1Madhi-Masjid-Burj-Gate

Adam Khan’s Tomb a.k.a. Bhool Bhulaiya

This article is a part of My (Vikram) and Gaurav’s Delhi Expedition…




Situated right behind the Qutub Minar, in front of Mehrauli Bus Stand, is Adam Khan’s Tomb, popularly known as Bhool Bhulaiya (lybrinth). It is said that once an entire ‘baraat’ was lost inside this tomb. Looking at this place, the story seems to be very fictitious, but if you see the large dense forest of Quila Rai Pithora (or Lal Kot) behind it, you can make out that it is possible for a huge gathering to get lost in there.


Adam Khan was the son of Akbar’s wet nurse Maham Anga. When Adam Khan killed the husband of JiJi Anga, Ataga Khan, he was thrown from the top of Agra’s Red Fort twice by Akbar. Later, in grief, his mother passed away. Akbar, then built this tomb for Adam Khan.


I got this nice excerpt from here

Surmounted by a dome, the tomb is popularly known as Bhulbhulaiyan, due to its labyrinth where one may lose one’s way in the corridors of the tomb. The tomb is built in Lodi style with a verandah on each side with three openings and that too without the usual eaves below the parapets. It is said that in the early 19th century, the tomb was converted into a residence of an Englishman named Blake of the Bengal Civil Service. Later the tomb was also used or misused as a police station, post office and even a rest house. The tomb was finally vacated and maintained as a monument on the orders of Lord Curzon.


Some Pictures

AdamKhans-Tomb-(9) AdamKhans-Tomb-(10) AdamKhans-Tomb-(11) AdamKhans-Tomb-(12)   AdamKhans-Tomb-(2) AdamKhans-Tomb-(3)    AdamKhans-Tomb-(7)AdamKhans-Tomb-(5) 

The last picture above (right) is of a lodhi era building situated near tomb, now being used as a medical facility.



Jahaz Mahal, Hauz-i-Shamsi, Mehrauli


This article is a part of My (Vikram) and Gaurav’s Delhi Expedition…



Jahaz Mahal was a Sarai (inn) built between 1451 AD and 1526 AD for pilgrims visiting Delhi from Afghanistan, Ira, Iraq, Arabia, Morocco, Turkey and other Islamic Countries to the Muslim shrines like Hazrat Kaki’s Dargah and Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Dargah.

It was built during Lodhi Dynasty, next to Hauz-i-Shamsi. the name Jahaz Mahal (The Ship Palace) was given because of its ship like reflection in water body next to it.



Jahaz-Mahal-(2)Hauz-i-Shamsi was a water reservoir built by the Mamluk Emperor Shams-ud-din Iltutmish in 1230 (200 years before Jahaz Mahal). At the edge of this Water body, is the tomb of 17th century Persian writer of Mughal Court Abul Haqq Dehlavi.

A popular legend narrated is of Iltumish’s dream in which Prophet Muhammad directed him to build a reservoir at a particular site. When Iltumish inspected the site the day after his dream, he reported to have found a hoof print of Muhammad’s horse. He then erected a pavilion to mark the sacred location and excavated a large tank (reservoir) around the pavilion to harvest rain water.


Another version of the legend linked is that the Holy Prophet appeared in a dream not only to Iltumish but also to the Muslim sufi saint Khawaja indicating the same particular location, where the hoof print of Muhammad’s horse was imprinted, for the construction of a water tank. Since drinking water supply was acute in the newly founded capital of Iltumish (the first medieval city of Qila Rai Pithora of Delhi) a tank was dug at the location indicated in the dream, which resulted in water jetting out from a spring source. It was, thereafter, named as Hauz-i-Shamsi, and Khawaja, the saint who divined it, came to be known as Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki or simply ‘Kaki’. The name Kaki was attributed to him by virtue of this keramat (miracle). The Khawaja died in 1235 AD. He is buried in Mehrauli (near the Qutab Minar) and it is inferred that Qutub Minar was also named after him

Source: Wikipedia

More Pictures…

Jahaz-Mahal Jahaz-Mahal-(9)   Jahaz-Mahal-(4) Jahaz-Mahal-(5) Jahaz-Mahal-(6) Jahaz-Mahal-(7)

Jahaz-Mahal-(8)  Jahaz-Mahal-(1)



View in Google Map

Zafar Mahal, Mehrauli

This page is no longer updated. The main article is moved to

Zafar Mahal – Monuments of Delhi


Zafar-Mahal-(3)The Zafar Mahal, adjacent to Dargah of Hazrat Bakhtiyar Kaki (r.a.), was the summer palace of later mughal kings. Built by last second king of India, Emperor Akbar Shah II (Badshah Abu Nasir Mu’in ud-din Muhammad Akbar Shah II a.k.a. Mirza Akbar) in 18th Century, it was refurbished by his son, the last Mughal king of India Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II (Badshah Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar).

The image on left is of HATHI GATE, built by Bahadur Shah Zafar II in the eleventh year of his accession as Emperor in 1847-48 AD. A broad Chhajja (cantilevered projection) built in the Mughal style is a striking feature of the arch. At the entrance gate, the logo has small projecting windows flanked by curved and covered Bengali domes. On both sides of the arch, two ornate medallions in the form of large lotuses have been provided. The gateway also depicts a classic tripolia or three-arch opening into the baaraadaree or 12 opening structure, which fully draws the breeze.

Tomb of Akbar Shah II and last wish of Bahadur Shah Zafar II

It is said that Bahadur Shah Zafar II wanted to be buried at this place, next to his father’s grave near his idol Hazrat Kaki’s tomb.

Bahadur Shah Zafar II Tomb-of-Akbar-Shah-II

This picture on left is the picture of Bahadur Shah Zafar II, before he died in Rangoon without any honor. His wish for place of burial was never fulfilled. This is probably the only camera picture of any Mughal Monarch. On right is the picture of grave of Emperor Akbar Shah II, which lies in the premise of Zafar Mahal. Before dying in Rangoon, Bahadur Shah Zafar II wrote…

lagta nahin hai dil mera ujray dayar main
kis kee banee hai aalam-e-na paedaar main

umr-e-daraaz maang ker laye the chaar din
do arzoo main kat gaye, do intezar main

in hasraton se keh do, kahin or ja basain
itni jaga kahan hai dil-e-daaghdar main

kitna hai badnaseeb zafar dafn ke liye
do gaz zameen bhi na mili koo-e-yaar main

Model of the Bunglow in Rangoon (British Burma), where Bahadur Shah Zafar II was kept in his last days (during exile). Later, Satguru Ram Singh, the famous rebel from Punjab, who pioneered Kuka Movement was kept in exile at this place. Currently this model is placed at Sri Bhaini Sahib Gurudwara in Ludhiana, Punjab (India).


Zafar Mahal was under local encroachment till some time back, when Archeological Survey of India took it and starting restoring. Now, they are planning to start a Mughal Museum here. Articles will be brought in from Red Fort and other places. I recently learned that Indian Government is also holding talks with Yangoon’s government to bring back the remains of Bahadur Shah Zafar to India, and place them here.

This place has been brutally misused by locals. But ASI is trying to help it out. The architecture is really nice and exhibits a touch of Indian-Mughal style.

Moti Masjid and other Tombs

Tomb-of-Akbar-Shah-II MotiMasjidGumbad

(left) Tomb of Akbar Shah II near Moti Masjid, next to Dargah

(right) Other graves in the premise including Shah Alam II and Mirza Fakruddin (son of Bahadur Shah Zafar II), with Moti Masjid in background. The gumbad of Hazrat Kaki’s Dargah is also visible (with ladder)



MotiMasjidStone Moti-Masjid---1

Moti Masjid, next to Zafar Mahal, and Hazrat Bakhtiyar Kakai’s Dargah

Phoolwalon-ki-sair Festival

The Dargah shrine of Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki has also been the venue of the annual Phoolwalon-ki-sair Festival (Festival of flower-sellers) in autumn, which has now become an important inter-faith festivals of Delhi .

The festival has its origins in 1812, when Queen Mumtaz Mahal, wife of Mughal Emperor Akbar Shah II (r. 1806-1837) made a vow to offer a chadar and flower pankha at the Dargah and a pankha at the Yogmaya Mandir, also at Mehrauli, if her son Mirza Jehangir, who after inviting the wrath of Sir Archibald Seton, the then British Resident of the Red Fort, was exiled to Allahabad, returned safely. And as the legend goes he did, and so began the tradition henceforth .

Incidentally, Akbar Shah II is now buried in nearby a marble enclosure, along with other Mughals, Bahadur Shah I (also known as Shah Alam I) and Shah Alam II [1]. An empty grave also known as Sardgah of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, can also be found here, as he had willed to be buried next the famous shrine, as did his previous Mughal predecessors, though unfortunately after his exile to Rangoon in Burma, he never returned and died there, talks of bringing back his remains here have been raised in the past, from time to time .

Read more…

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: