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.
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