Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Near Hauz Khas

Planned to explore the Hauz Khas monuments today. But a last minute movie plan (Dabang, fun, but only if you don't think) meant that my brother and I only had time to explore the Deer Park and Green Park monuments.

Deer Park is on the way to Hauz Khas village, on the right of the road leading in from Aurobindo Place market. The Green Park monuments I'm talking of are at the beginning of this road, right next to the market.

Deer Park is actually a jungle, interspersed with seemingly random jogging tracks and infinitely more random exercise bars and balancing beams and other 'fitness' equipment. And it's full of insects. A word of advice: either wear full length clothes, or apply insect repellent. Otherwise you'll end up like I did, with a couple of dozen bites all over my arms and legs.

There are three tombs in the forest, and even though I had Lucy Peck's brilliant 'Delhi: A Thousand Years of Building' to guide me, we wasted precious time trying to find them.

1. Bagh-i-Alam ka Gaumbad, late 15th to early 16th c., supposedly one of the finest Lodi tombs in Delhi. And it was pretty impressive, though unfortunately the interior was inaccessible, and there seemed to be nobody around who would open the gates for us. Peeking in through the bars revealed the beautiful inside of the dome- it's got some awesome plaster work. The tomb also had a 'wall mosque' adjoining it - just a wall on the west side with a mihrab. The sign says that its roof had probably fallen in.

2. Tuhfewala Gumbad, 14th c. Pretty plain. Some guys were playing tash inside and blasting Akon and Justin Bieber. Baby baby baby oooooh.

3. Kali Gumti, 14th c. Small. And black.

I was disappointed that there were no signages leading to the tombs or even ASI information boards (barring ones for the small wall mosque near Bagh-i-Alam and the Kali Gumti). These monuments were obviously poorly maintained, and slightly vandalized, but honestly, they still had charm, shrouded as they were in greenery.


We took one of those Vodafone e-ricks back to Aurobindo Place. There are actually 6 monuments in this area, but one of them (Biran ka Gumbad, late 15th c.) is some distance inside Green Park, and since we were really running late we had to miss out on it. These are different from the Deer Park tombs because they are very much maintained. Every one of them has an ornate sign outside and a detailed information board with drawings. They also have some pretty fancy lighting.

1. Choti Gumti, late 15th c. Very, very small. But exceedingly pretty. The cream plaster was beautiful.

2. Sakri Gumti, late 15th c. Literally 'narrow dome', easy to understand why. Most probably a gateway and not a tomb. An old man was sleeping inside, complete with jute mat and water bottle and slippers left outside.

3. Barah Khamba, 14th c. Dome supported by twelve pillars of varying sizes. I remember our History of Architecture teacher telling us that there are many Barah Khambas in Delhi, not just the one which gives Barakhamba Road its name.

4. Dadi ka Gumbad, late 15th c. Big, and very impressive.

5. Poti ka Gumbad, late 14th c. Right next to the Dadi ka Gumbad, and so seems even smaller. The Dadi-Poti Gumbads, though very close together, have nothing to do with each other and the names have no real history. I guess they just represent the sizes.


Had fun, but am sorta disappointed about not getting to see what I really went there for: the Hauz Khas complex. Dunno when I'll next get the time.


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