Delhi is like gems for the history lover, the dream of most of the rulers. This time I took a heritage trail to Mehrauli Archaeological Park, which just lies just behind the Qutub Minar complex, it has the unforgettable monuments that are worth visiting. It is an extremely rich historical place with various monuments scattered amidst large settlement. The place offers magnificent ruins of enormous mausoleums, mosque, and step-wells. Mehrauli has been the oldest continuously inhabited urban settlement in Delhi since the 11th century. Every corner of the places tries to whisper the dark secrets though it is a monument, a scattered rock or a tree. You will get a feel to know more and more about the place and history pertaining to these constructions. The area is now under ASI, who is trying to preserve the remains of the structure that have been there for long and are speaking about Delhi history.
We entered into the park from a very narrow passage that first leads to the rose garden. You will see lots of workers working in the rose garden. There is almost every color of roses in the garden, and they all look so beautiful. We just enjoyed the beauty of roses in the garden and had some pictures with it. You are not allowed to enter the garden but there is a pathway from with you can view the roses and can also admire Qutub Minar and Muhammad Quli tomb.
Jamali Kamali Mosque
After the rose garden, we moved to Jamali Kamali Mosque. Jamali was a saint, Sufi, poet, and a traveler and there is no record exist in history for Kamali but it is supposed that he must be either a close relative or disciple of Jamali. Jamali Kamali dome is at one places, and the tomb is beautifully constructed with a great nakashi on inner walls. Jamali Kamali mosque is an example of Indo Islamic architecture. There are vazu tank and a big courtyard in the mosque complex. There is a security guard at Jamali Kamali which helps you to provide little knowledge about the monument.
Almost in front of Jamali Kamali, there is a ruin of settlements and Balban tomb. Balban tomb is almost destroyed but still, the majestic grandeur is worth exploring. Balban grave is more existing in the area but the Balban’s tomb is a prominent attraction of the place. The tomb is the earliest structure to have the true arch i.e, at the center of the arch where two curve meets there is an inverted triangle stone called as keystone, so the construction of arch was done using keystone which helps in holding the arch well. Balban dome was built in the 13th century and the remains of settlements are of the 17th century, this shows the continuous habitat of people on the place. There is not even a single complete structure left in the settlement area and they are considered to be recently discovered, dug out and restored.
Raja Ki Baoli
After the Balban tomb, we moved to Raja ki Baoli, Baoli are stepped well which are used for the purpose of serving drinking water and a place to socialize. There are several step wells in and around the area and they are considered to be interconnected for the purpose of water flow. There is Ghandak ki Baoli, Aurangzeb ki Baoli which is in Tapan Mahal, there is a dargah around 200-300 meter away which is almost half built on Baoli itself. Raja ki Baoli was created by Daulat Khan Lodhi by cutting rocks or small hill. At the end of 19th century, a community of raj mistri used to stay in Baoli and they were asked to empty the place by ASI so that it can preserved as monument Since then it is known as Raja ki Baoli.
Just in front of baoli there is a tomb, here Indo-islamic architecture is clearly seen. The constructions such as chajja, mural paintaing, pillar capital, the use of sand stone and floral motifs like lotus flower are a part of Indian architecture and construction of dome represents islamic architecture. Delhi airport is nearby thus flights are visible at very low height here and fly from just above this monument so you can get some good pictures of them also.
Muhammad Quli Tomb
After this, on returning back we went to have a visit Muhammad Quli Khan tomb (a foster brother of Mohammad Akhbar), Metcalfe boathouse and Chaumauki Dharwaja. Metcalfe’s was a British officer who was in love with ruins of Delhi and he used his power to purchased quli Khan tomb and converted it into the suburban country house. Metcalf when came to Mehrauli there was an artificial lake created because of the stream and the structure (Boathouse) was standing almost inside the water thus he named it as a boathouse. He filled the area around the tomb with several unique structures – guardhouses, Ziggurats (stepped pyramids), chattris, folly, small bridges spanning artificial canals, stables and circular dovecots. The Metcalfe’s folly stands in the garden providing a beautiful landscape. Basically, folly is “a costly, non-functional building erected to enhance a natural landscape”. The Metcalfe’s folly also provides unhindered view of Qutub Minar. Though Mehrauli Archaeological Park had lot more to offere but we ended our visit after Muhammad Quli tomb and moved to Qutub Minar.
Tip to the traveller:- The A.S.I. is presently excavating the Mehrauli Archaeological Park complex and restoring the structures thus there are no shops, no toilets or facilities in the immediate vicinity.