Being a weekend, Deer Park was more crowded than a usual working day. Also, having pleasant weather makes people go for a picnic and stroll with their loved ones. There was no entry charge for the Deer Park, and it is open throughout the week with weekly closure on Friday. The opening hours are: 5.00 am – 7:00 pm (summer) and 6:00 am – 7:00 pm (winter). The Deer Park is biodiversity and the largest green cover in Delhi. It is also known as A. N. Jha Deer Park, named after Padma Vibhushan awardee renowned social worker: A. N. Jha. It was established in 1968 and has a green area of 25.95 hectares. It has a mini zoo with enclosures for Deer and hence calls Deer Park. Since the area is in the Hauz Khash area, it contains the relics of Delhi Sultanate (1206 – 1526).
Hence this park has aspects for important family outing area and historical sites. The main attractions of Deer Park are:
1) Deer Park /Forest Inside View-Extended to Rose, Fountain & District Park
2) Deer– Deer Enclosure
3) Kali Gumti– Lodhi period / Tughlaq period and Sayyad period
4) Bage Alam Ka Gumbad– Lodhi period
5) Hauz Khash Lake– Khalji period / Tughlaq period (Part of District park)
6) Munda Gumbad– Khalji period (Part of District park)
7) Firoz Shah’ Fort– Outer view.
The photo collection of my Deer Park trip is saved in the photo gallery tab. You can see all the photos to this by visiting this link (Photo Gallery- Hauz Khash Deer Park).
As soon as we enter in the Deer Park, the lush green environment will welcome with open arm, especially considering the recent rise in pollution in Delhi, the serenity of the Deer Park is bliss. The air inside the park is fresh and cleaner than the rest of Delhi. Inside the park, there are few enclosures where Deer are kept. Deer have a large area to roam around playing with each other. Unlike a Zoo, a large enclosure gives you a glimpse of the life of Deer in the forest or in Nature. It is forbidden to feed them, it is good to keep Deer to close to its natural habitat. It makes them easier to rehabilitate later if required. The serenity of Deer Park almost makes you feel that you are not in a metropolitan city. There were lots of children close Deer enclosure.
My friend Khusdil missed his daughter: he wished she would be with her to see these beautiful creatures. He took a few pictures and share them his wife on WhatsApp up to show it to their daughter. After strolling around the park, we followed the track towards Kali Gumti. The trail is very beautiful; full of tall trees and thick shrubs around it. The green enclosure almost made you forgot the fact that we are in a bustling city, Delhi. The fresh air not only makes your body rejuvenate but also gives you mental peace or relaxation. It is tough to explain here; one must experience by itself. These days we are seeing the rise of Oxygen bar like Oxypure in an upskirt market where one pays almost Rs. 500 for 15 minutes of pure oxygen inhaling. But we are forgetting that we could get this oxygen for free if we keep our city green. Trees and plants are important for every city and hence there must be Deer Park in every city. I hope we will save our planet for our children. With this heavy mind, we headed to Kali Mundi.
Kali Gumti, the name suggests that this should be related to Goddess Kali. On contrary to this, it is black in colour and hence called Kali, the Hindi word for black. The outer layer of the dome of this Gumti is covered with organic mortar and with the time the organic mortar turns to black and hence it called Kali Gumti. This dome structure doesn’t have any grave and hence it is not a tomb but a Gumti i.e. a gateway.
This dome was built during the regime Tughlaq and Sayyad period. It is a small domed structure with three entrances from north, south and east directions. All the entrances have an open arched doorway. In the west, there is an enclosure for the mosque. Today only its wall decorated with mihrab is standing tall. This mosque may have been built during the Lodhi period (1206-1526). Even today, sometimes you will see few people offering prayer to Allah during azan time. The wall of Gumti is tall and have tall arches.
The area around this Gumti is more peaceful; probably due to a smaller number of people especially children around here. We could hear the chirping of birds and squeaking of playful monkeys. There were few herds of a monkey playing on tomb and trees and peacocks were proudly displaying their majestic wings in the open lawn near the Gumti. Believe me, it is a bliss to hear them, sometimes you want to be away from bustling cars honk. I will recommend everyone to spend a few hours at Kali Gumti to reinvent yourself. After relaxing for a while on the lawn, I and Khusdil took several pictures to keep our memory. Some of these pictures are on this blog.
Bage Alam Ka Gumbad
Our next destination was Bage Alam Ka Gumbad. The path to Bage Alam Ka Gumbad is enshrined with natural huts and tall trees. Bage Alam Ka Gumbad means ” A tomb in a garden”; on the contrary, there is no garden around this tomb. Instead of this, the area is surrounded by tall trees and dense shrubs, giving you a feeling of the forest. This tomb is of Sikandar Lodhi period. The Persian inscription on the western wall of the tomb states that this was built by Delhi Sultan, Abu Sayeed in 1501, in honour of Muslim saint Miyan Shaikh Shihab- Ud- Din Taj Khan.
It has three entrances: south, east and north direction. Each entrance has arched structures. The south gate is more dominant structure; a well decorated and have two arched niches window surrounded by a rectangular frame. The tomb is made of grey and brown rubble stones quarried locally. The use of bicolour stones gives a patchwork effect on the structure.
The tomb is a three-storied square monument structure with an area of 9.5 m X 5.2 m and it is one of the largest monuments among three monuments which are present in the Deer Park. Among all three stories, only the ground floor structure has arched windows on both sides of the South entrance while the rest of the floors are just a walled structure. All arches and niches and window panels are decorated by the bands of red, blue sandstones tiles which make it look more distinct and majestic view from the rest of other tombs.
The ceiling is painted with red, blue and white colours. The definite intricate pattern of a circular shape, teardrop and crisscrossed strips set in a band of geometrical motifs and a band of calligraphy around the interior of the dome which adorns the interior dome.
This is also the reason, ASI has put grill doors at each gate to protect this monument from encroachment.
Due to this reason we both unable to take inside detail of this monument but wide looked doorways enough to allow me to click inside beautiful painted structure and design of walls, ceiling and floor. Inside towards the eastern side, there is a stair for the upward roof.
Outside of the tomb, in the west direction to Mecca, there is an exquisite wall mosque decorated with arched mihrabs and minarets. The wall is decorated with Persian Quranic inscriptions with incised plaster niches, looking very delicate and mesmerizing. The wall mosque also called Qibla, have five arched niches set in a rectangular frame.
The top of the wall is decorated with mihrabs. There is two small domes of octagonal shape with a narrow arched entrance at both ends of the mosque wall. At both entrances, dense shrubs are overgrown and hence it is not easy to get through these gates.
This tomb has a rectangular courtyard, where several graves are laid in two rows. In the time dusk, fallen leaves on these graves and bit of mist in the air make you shiver of fear. Probably it is just our strange feeling, but it does look haunting in the evening. Despite this, the walled mosque looks very beautiful might have different beauty at down or in the day time.
People come to see this courtyard graves and monuments. but due to the graves in this courtyard, a strange peace is felt around it. In the evening, it becomes more intense and feeling of restlessness. For this reason, Khusdil left this courtyard quickly and was asking me to leave also. with this, we headed to our next leg: “The Rabbit enclosure and forest view”.
Rabbit Enclosure & Forest View
The path to the rabbit enclosure passes through a forest of dense trees and shrubs area. On our way, we have seen a few peacocks. Their colourful wings and lush full trees around make our stroll mesmerizing. After walking for a few minutes, we reached our destination, the rabbit enclosure.
It has few rabbits inside munching on the dried husk. Children were playing next to the enclosure. They were trying to get the attention of the rabbits by calling them but in vain. I think rabbits are used to these calls and probably they like their dried husk more.
There were few available benches for sitting; we found two empty slots. I and Khusdil were also a bit tired so we sat there for some time and enjoyed watching kids playing around. It is blissed to watch kids playing around; probably we both are proud parents. It is better for children to enjoy their time in nature like this. I feel sad sometimes when I see children spending having so much screen time. Places like this are good alternatives and provide good quality time to children and parents to spend time together and bond with nature.
We were enjoying the beautiful view of Mother Nature. The weather was also supporting us; cold winds are blowing away with touching our body. Sunlight sometimes came out of the dark dense clouds on the earth and sometimes it hides in the clouds.
It was getting dark assisted by the clouds on the sky. Khusdil looked into the sky, and told me it is time for us for coffee isn’t? I looked at him and told him that yes indeed, it is. There are a few café and restaurants nearby. But we headed towards a café which is present in Green Park for coffee and some snacks. The nearest one was Lord of the Drinks Meadow. We both quickly reached the hotel gate. Café has a more western look with some hip interiors. All seats inside were occupied by the couples, probably we were only guys there.
The lofty music in the restaurant was more romantic; sitting together there make us a bit awkward, but we decided to ignore our typical hysterical inner voice. We ordered two cappuccino and coco-cake. The waiter quickly places the order on the table. Service was cordial and quick. After such a tiresome walk, we were elated to sip coffee and bike our cake slices. We were both feeling very relaxed now. Then after, we have decided to move towards the next destination for exploring which is five minutes walking distance away from the hotel.
Hauz Khash Lake / Hauz – I – Alai / Royal Tank / Duck Pound / District Park Lake
Hauz Khas Lake is also known as District Park Lake, located in District park area. The literal meaning of Farsi word Hauz Khas is “The Royal Tank”. It was built by Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khalji in early 14th century. The tank was used to store rainwater for its use in the dry season. In early days, it was spread over 28 hectares and has a pavilion-like structure with Munda Gumbad at its centre. It has been in depilated condition since the decline of Delhi Sultanate. It exists today, but with time and poor keeping, it is reduced to 1/5th of its original size, a much less grandeur than what it used to be.
The water of Hauz Khas Lake has high Sulphur content. Once the area around Hauz Khas was flourishing with flora and fauna, but due to toxicity in inhabitable water content, it’s seen a gradual decline state. Thanks to environmental activist- Tarun Sebastian and his NGO – Pernod Ricard India Foundation, Evolve Engineering, there is an initiative to revive the royal lake. In the public-Delhi government initiative, floating wetland islands are placed in the Hauz Khas lakes. The results of this initiative are already positive.
The return of black pacific duck and Indian white runner ducks affirm this. The presence of ducks enhances the beauty of the lake. The effort is ongoing and probably soon, the Hauz Khas Lake will regain its royal beauty. Irrespective of the situation of the Hauz Khas Lake, the serenity of the area is enriched due to the presence of Tughlaq monumental architecture and nearby archaeological sites like Qutub Minar, Sultan Ghari, and Suraj Kund, etc. A very strolling trek path has been made around this lake. This trek is lined with lush green trees and shrubs adding beauty to the lake. Usually, in the morning and evening, you will see people walking and running, a popular game around this lake.
On the right side of Hauz Khash Lake, there is a mound, in the form of ruins on a hillock. This ruin is known as the Munda Gumbad, in English, it is called Bald Dome. Initially, it was in the standing tall at the centre of Hauz Khas Lake. Both lake and Munda Gumbad were built by Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khalji. Due to continued depilated condition of the Hauz Khas Lake with time, today Munda Gumbad ruin stands at the edge of the reduced lake. In its prime time, this ruin was a double storied structure with four-sided entry and a narrow staircase leading upwards.
But today, the top story of the structure is completely missing, and the rest of the structure is in its shabby state which looks as if it’s been beheaded. Due to this reason, this ruin is called Munda Gumbad, a tomb without its head. This structure is a popular joint for young boys and girls, often one will account beautiful chorus singing in English accompanied by guitars in Western-style. Also, children playing around this tomb will give you a feeling of a good family picnic spot.
Firoz Shah’ fort – Outer view
The tour of Hauz Khash area with the visit of Munda Gumbad was almost complete. We both strolled the trail around the lake and finished the complete one round of the Hauz Khash lake. The time was also about 16:30 o’ clock. We were also tired so decided to head back to our home, but before that, we would like to see Hauz – I – Alai. The way to Hauz – I – Alai is through the gate of Deer Park.
Hauz – I – Alai is known for the ruins of the monument built by Delhi Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq. From here, the outskirts of the ruins of Firoz Shah Tughlaq monuments could be seen, which looked very beautiful. A few couples, some young boy and some young girl were seen sitting near the ruins windows. Hauz – I – Alai will the last vacation tour of my travel series – One Day Trip To Hauz Khash which will be explored in my next blog post.
My other blog post link-
>Blogpost– One Day Trip to Hauz Khash I: Exploring Forgotten Heritage of Muslim Dynasty