Posts Tagged With: Mehrauli Archaeological Park

The Legend of Jamali-Kamali

Of many marvels situated in Archeological Park, Mehrauli; a neighborhood in South West Delhi district just a few kms away from the famous Qutub Minar; Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb is one of a kind.

Built during the years 1528 – 29, this monument’s architecture was decorated with marble embellishments. The design of the mosque, first of a kind in India, has been appreciated and studied with awe for many years. This mosque and tomb is dedicated to Jamali and Kamali.

Jamali, was a Saint and Sufi poet, who lived between Sikandar Lodi’s reign and that of Humayun. His full name was Sheikh Fazlullah or Sheikh Jamal-ud-din Kamboh Dehlawi. Jamali’s poetry created a special place in Sikandar Lodi’s heart; his works were so impressive that though Mughals conquered India, Jamali remained in the royal court till Humayun’s death.

However, this seemingly just another monument entails more stories and history than one could fathom. Few of them are tough to believe but definitely catch the attention. Let’s get started.

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The gushing leaves in the courtyard seem to welcome every visitor alike. As I enter I couldn’t help but observe the structure of the mosque and the red sandstone work is so peculiar of the Mughal Architecture. It reminds me of the works in Akbar’s Tomb, Sikandra, near Agra.

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The wazukhana (where the followers cleanse themselves before offering prayers), lies empty now and looks more like a shallow pond but illustrates how meticulously it was constructed back then.

As I enter the elegant Mosque, the architecture takes me to another world. The carved bands and medallions, and five arched openings, and the narrow gallery leading to the second floor; there’s something peaceful about the whole setting.

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However, it is believed that the peaceful turns to eerie silence in the evening, the presence of ‘Jinns’ (or the super natural forces) has been confirmed by many stories. Some say, it haunted, I don’t really know. To me, it looks and feels mysterious yet amazing.

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In the adjoining closure, there’s a flat roofed tomb, the entry to this tomb has now been closed, but it’s famous for ornamentation with colored tiles and exquisite patterns embedded with inscriptions composed by Jamali himself.

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It’s the Jamali – Kamali tomb, Kamali’s relationship with Jamali was a special one as illustrated by the fact that Kamali was buried alongside Jamali. Not much validated information is available about Kamali, however there are many stories speculating that he was – A disciple, brother, friend and / or a lover. Historians, explain that during that era homosexual love was as normal as opposite sex and hence there is a high possibility that this burial side-by-side is extension of promise, made in love of being together forever. Like the Taj Mahal in Agra commemorates Shahjahan’s eternal love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Jamali-Kamali tomb has a similar theory. 1000 years back, who knew mausoleums could elicit such great interest in history.

With myriad questions rumbling in my mind I made my way to another ruined monument, a new story and experience and yet more unanswered questions.

 

 

Categories: Art and Culture, Experience, Family Travel, Heritage, India, New Delhi, Offbeat Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

The Myths and Mysteries of Archaeological Park in Mehrauli

A one-of-a kind assortment giving a glimpse of Delhi’s rich history

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Just like the monuments in the park, this tree also seems to be a mishmash of mysteries and looks like it has witnessed decades!!

Mehrauli is a neighborhood in the South West district of Delhi in India, renowned for Qutub Minar, a minaret that forms a part of the Qutub complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Qutub Minar is a 73-meters tall tapering tower of five storeys, with a 14.3 meters base diameter, reducing to 2.7 meters at the peak. But, there’s more to Mehrauli.

Adjacent to the Qutub Complex, quite an unremarkable entrance on the side of Delhi’s busy roads opens up a world of 1000 year old history from medieval India. It is believed to be only area in Delhi known for 1000 years of continuous occupation. The 100-odd structures spread across 200 acres consisting of ruins of Lal Kot built by Tomar Rajputs in 1060 CE, and architectural relics from the rule of Khalji dynasty, Tughlaq dynasty, Lodhi dynasty of Delhi Sultanate, and some from the Mughal Empire and the British Raj. However, the monuments are in ruins, quite a few totally gone, there are some which are unattributable to any of the rulers or dynasty but fortunately preserved (only now).

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The park contains several notable structures including the Tomb of Balban, Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb, Quli Khan’s Tomb, Gandhak ki Baoli, Rajon Ki Baoli, and Madhi Masjid. Other near by monuments – Jahaz Mahal, Zafar Mahal of Bahadur Shah II alias Lal Mahal, Hauz-i-Shamsi and Tomb of Adham Khan make it even more interesting.

In fact, if you explore the area around the park, few kms in proximity, there’s a monument (unnamed) and other park which again has some ruins scattered. I wish these were restored before. I’m sharing few images right now and soon will be posting dedicated posts to cover separate monuments in detail.

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The downside of the ‘Mehrauli Archaeological Park’ is that since it was  ignored for a very long time and it is spread across acres, it’s not maintained well (yet), few corners have piles of garbage with pigs roaming around freely. The monuments particularly the ‘Baolis’ stink real bad. I don’t know if it happens in other parts of the world too but in India, men (not all) find pleasure in taking a piss anywhere they like including heritage monuments!!

I really wonder, will this casual attitude ever change? Makes me feel sad.

However, I’m trying to get in touch with the authorities who have taken up the project of rehabilitation and maintenance of the Park to provide the feedback and help them to impose stricter measures to keep the Park clean and hygienic.

Till then, enjoy the pictures and keep exploring Untraveled Routes, I shall soon be posting more articles. I’m aware the frequency of my posts has gone down, Life is keeping me happily busy 🙂 but I do want to publish more. Stay Connected.

 

Categories: New Delhi, Offbeat Travel, Travel Experience, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

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