One Day Trip to Hauz Khash I : Exploring Forgotten Heritage of Muslim Dynasty

ONE DAY TRIP TO HAUZ KHASH I: EXPLORING FORGOTTEN HERITAGE OF MUSLIM DYNASTY


Edgah at Hauz Khash

I live
in South Delhi, very close to Hauz Khash a perfect place for a
weekend picnic trip with a family member or loved ones. Though I live very close
by, I never got a chance to visit Hauz Khash. I got this opportunity
last month when my childhood friend Khusdil Abhiram contacted me
via Facebook and stated that he will be visiting Delhi for his personal work.
On hearing of his travel plan, I was very delighted. My friend was coming to
Delhi for the very first time. He was also interested in seeing the historical
aspects of the city. Hauz Khas was very much on my list to visit
for a long time. I thought this is the very moment to visit this place. I
planned my travel to visit Hauz Khas and nearby area to see the
Muslim Empire’s forts, which now have been transformed into a ruin. In one day
program to roam Hauz Khash includes- Chor Minar, Edgah, Dadi-Poti Tomb, Barah Khamba, Sakri Gumti,
Chhoti Gumti, Jagannath Temple, Dear Park & Hauz – I – Alai
which
covering historical period from Khalji
to Lodhi dynasty (1206 – 1526). 

Direction map- Source “Google”

SOME PERSPECTIVE:

Hauz Khash is
known as the New York of Delhi. It is situated in South-East of Delhi. It includes Hauz Khash Village
& Hauz Khash Enclave. In the historic period, it was known
by Hauz – I – Alai. After
that, it was named on ancient water reservoir- Hauz Khash. Hauz,
a Farsi word meaning “water tank” and Khash means “Royal”, depicting
the name after a royal tank, built by Alauddin Khalji,
meant for an inhabitant of Siri fort.


HISTORICAL ASPECTS: 

I
am always fascinated by the history of the
archaeological sites. Visiting these sites feels like
they want to tell me their story. One could just imagine
the richness of these sites; they have seen fall and rise of several
dynasties, and these monuments are still raising high against all odds. I
am also always fascinated by
the richness of these sites.



My special interest
has been to understand the present nature
of spirituality, art, culture and their belief among
common people. The roots of the present are always connected with our past
history. Mostly all historical sites around Delhi are connected to our
medieval history. This medieval history of
India is a full history of the Muslim Dynasty. It
includes three phases –




1) Delhi Sultan (1206- 1526) 



2) Mughal (1526- 1707)

3) Later Mughal (1707- 1857)





The history of these empires had been completed with the rise and fall. They
present in the history pages for their expansionist policy and along with
aggressiveness for the fulfilment of their empires. Art and culture that was
developed during their rule in India, had much impact and influence by Afghan
& Iranian art which results in Indo- Islamic architecture. Ruins of the
Muslim fortresses relentlessly reveal the history of their time. In which some
are popular and many others are not popular, even people of Delhi do not know,
but in the historical saga, it all works as an important link, without it, is
difficult to understand the entire history of the Muslim Empires.

Dadi - Poti's Tomb at Hauz Khash
Unidentified graves inside Dadi’ Tomb

We are seeing each other after 20 years; it is indeed
after a long time. I went to receive him at Delhi
railway station, seeing him boarding out from Patna-Rajdhani express tears rolled
out of my eyes. These tears are tears of joy. We
hugged each other and try to make our conservation. There was a lot to discuss and discover about
each other. It was very early Friday morning, and he travelled
overnight to reach Delhi. We decided that probably it is better
if he goes to his hotel and takes rest and gives priority to finish his
personal work. Later tomorrow at early morning, he should visit my
flat. I dropped him at
his hotel Indus Biznotel, Greater Kailash, South Delhi and then
heads to my house.

It was a wonderful Saturday morning. I had an
official day off, so I also took a morning nap at
my flat. Later I was wakened up
during breakfast by a sound of the doorbell. And to
me, not a surprise to see my friend Khusdil Abhiram at
the door. We hugged each other and welcome him to
my flat. He had tea and snacks over
our chat. There was a lot to talk
about; somehow, we lost the sense of time. It
was already 09. AM hrs. To be frank, Hauz Khash is very well connected
by the public Delhi Metro transport so that could
be also very good alternatives to see Hauz Khash. Also,
it would have been environmental.

In the morning, traffic
on Delhi Road seems too less congested due to most of the corporate
offices were closed; we decided to use my motorbike for our
transportation to visit these places. My bike was waiting for running, the weather was very pleasant,
and the sky was surrounded by black clouds, giving a
perfect setting for us to venture out to visit the places which
we already agreed to see. On our list first was Hauz Khash
Chor Minar & Edgah which is very near to Hauz Khas metro
station. Here, this is my travelogue
on Hauz Khash historical sites a perfect trip for
the weekend. If you want to see a photo collection of this blogpost, please go through this link- Photo Gallery- Hauz Khash Village

Chor Minar at Hauz Khash
Side view of Chor Minar

CHOR MINAR:

We easily reached our first stop at the Chor Minar historical site within 20 minutes. It is
situated in a posh area at 
Hauz Khash Enclave.
As soon as we reached this tower’s premises and we had a surprise to see the
surrounding greenery around this horrible minar. I call
this minar as horrible due to its horrible story.





This
is also famous for “Tower of Thieves
or “Tower of beheading.” It was built in the 13th century by
Alauddin Khalji (1296-1316) to
deter the practice of theft & rebel in his empire. He was the second Sultan
of the Khalji dynasty. Prior, he was the governor
of Kara
near Allahabad. Due to his ambitious nature, he killed his uncle,
Delhi’s first Khalji Sultan Jalal Uddin
Khalji
in 1296. When it was built, it had 225 holes. The main
purpose of this tower was to display the severed heads of thieves and Mongol
people from present Mangolpuri. Today this structure still stands tall and
intact. Entrance to the staircase of this minaret is closed for common public,
but one can see the structure from outside. The holes which used to display the
severed heads are still prominently sticking out from the minaret. And even
today, one could feel creepy vibes by seeing this tower.
Chor Minar at Hauz Khash
Front view of Chor Minar
When I was travelling around this
minaret, I felt the chill of fear running through my veins. I feel that I could
still hear the voices of thieves, defeated chiefs/soldiers and the common man
who was executed here. This minaret is the gallant impression of the brutality
of the Alauddin Khalji.
Probably, we all know the epic war between the
King Rawal Ratan Singh and Alauddin Khalji, a war
which was fought by Alauddin for his lust for the Rani Padmini, wife of Ratan Singh. Upon the defeat
of Ratan Singh, Rani Padmini performed Jauhar (Sati)
along with other female courtesans of the fort of Chittor.

My friend said, now we should see the beauty of Edgah. I replied with smiles, yes. Once
the reached out of the tower gate, I looked back to saw once again the Chor
Minar and said, “How horrible you are really”. After that, I moved quickly
towards Edgah location.


Edgah at Hauz Khash
Front view of Edgah

EDGAH:

This is 2 minutes walking distance from the Chor
Minar, situated near to north direction
in the middle of Padmini Enclave. It seemed very beautiful
from the entrance due to lush greenery around Edgah. It was quite relaxing to
see the beauty of Edgah and its surrounding.

Abhiram also said, “What’s
the beauty around Edgah,” I smiled and nod my head.
Edgah at Hauz Khash
Side view of Edgah
The literal meaning of the Edgah is the place of worship, without an
enclosure and wall. The main purpose of Edgah is to offer prayer to
Allah in an open place where a large number of people could assemble. This
structure was built by Iqbal Khan in 1404-1405 in simple Tughlaqi design. He was also known
as Mallu Khan, a warlord of
exiled Delhi Sultan Mohammed Bin Tughlaq (1392 – 1412), the last ruler of Tughlaq dynasty. The structure ruin
is well preserved today even after 600 years of passage. It is made of rubble
wall on the west with a series of eleven minarets (mihrabs or arched), a
place for the muezzin. Long thick wall run in a north-south direction and a
tall circular bastion stands at both ends of the wall. One pulpit is present
next to the central mihrab of the wall for delivering a message to a
people. The serenity of space around Edgah brings peace and calmness
in our heart and mind.
Edgah at Hauz Khash
Back view of Edgah

Address to reach Chor Minar & Edgah:

Chor Minar Road, Block L & S, Padmini Enclave, Hauz Khash, South
Delhi-16.


Time- It is open for 24 x 7 days
and closed at 7 PM every day.


Nearest Metro- Hauz Khash Metro station which is 5 minutes walking distance.  It can be easily reached from Delhi Airport,
New Delhi Railway station and ISBT Delhi bus stand.


Parking place: Near to Chor Minar & Edgah sites.

Dadi - Poti's Tomb at Hauz Khash
Front view of Dadi-Poti Tomb

DADI-POTI TOMB:

Time crossed to 11
AM, both of us agreed that we should go now for our next destination- Dadi- Poti’s Tomb. We took tea and snacks that were brought with us and got
fresh. Due to cloudy weather, cold air was blowing which was making our
memorable journey even more enjoyable and fun. We soon arrived on the Aurobindo road. On the opposite
side of the Aurobindo road, there was the board of Jagannath Temple which goes
straight towards the west-Hauz Khash Dear
Park
. This was a 15-minute route by bike from Edgah to Aurobindo Market. I parked my bike
near to Aurobindo market; the tomb was in the opposite hand. We walked
and reached within three minutes.

Dadi-Poti tomb is fenced by the wall. The lawn next to the tomb is well
maintained, but the menace of stray dogs is easily seen. One needs to be
careful, not to indulge with them. It is not forbidden to sit on the grass. Few
couples were having a picnic on the lawn. The inside look was very pleasant,
but the notice board was in very bad condition due to this, the Tomb’s detail
was not being read correctly or properly. The Tomb which is in front of the
gate is the grandmother’s tomb, and the granddaughter’s on her left side. As
the name of these tombs’ states, pair of tombs are resembled by Biwi (mistress)
& Bandi (maid-servant)
and also known by Dadi (Grand-mother) tomb
& Poti (Grand-daughter) tomb
. The Poti tomb is smaller
(11.8 m X 11.8 m) than Dadi tomb (15.86 m X 15.86 m). Both are built
from the rubble and plastered on the elevated ground.
Dadi - Poti's Tomb at Hauz Khash
Side view of Dadi-Poti Tomb
Both tombs have a square base with walls rise to octagonal and eventually
evolve to hexagonal facades with semi hemispherical dome on top. Interior of
the tombs have a high ceiling with Quranic inscriptions on wall and
ceiling. Though these two tombs seem to be associated with each other but in an
actual sense both are related to two different dynasty periods, Poti tomb
is from the Tughlaq era and Dadi tomb is
from Lodhi era.

The Poti tomb has a distinct lampshade on the top and its wall are slightly
slopping. Unlike other tombs, the entrance of this tomb is in the south and
other two, north & south gates are closed and there are three unidentified
graves. On another hand, the round spacious interior of Dadi tomb has six
unidentified cenotaphs of a person with nobility origin. Dadi’ tomb looks
two-story structures from outsides due to its arched and window design. Condition
of both tombs is in depleted conditions. Plasters from walls are coming off. I
wish the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will take better care
of these valuable moments.

The next structure in our list was Barah Khamba. It
is just 5 minutes walking distance from the Dadi Poti tomb. In fact, the dome
of Barah khamba is visible from the Dadi-Poti tomb. I parked my bike near to
entrance gate of Barah Khamba.


Barah Khamba at Hauz Khash
Front view of Barah Khamba

BARAH KHAMBA:

We had entered the
entrance gate; one guard was on the bench at the corner of one side near to
notice board. The inside view was very nice. There was plenty of greenery
around the tomb which shows the ancient beauty of this tomb.
This is from the Lodhi Period (1451
– 1526) and the grandeur of a tomb indicates that it might be of a high
nobleman. Delhi has more than 1,000 tombs, Forts, Havelis,
Baolis and Darwazas; and Barah
Khamba is very distinct from all
those. Due to its twelve pillars,
this tomb has probably been given the name Barah Khamba. It
has twelve pillars and three arched openings on each face and one
dome present at the top. Islamic architecture has mystical
significance for number seven and
twelve. The number twelve is scared in Islam, representing
twelve Imams succeeding Prophet Muhammad. This number twelve is
also associated with twelve zodiac signs. As per information on
the notice board, there were several cenotaphs inside this structure but now
have not seen. Inside
of this tomb was decorated with various niches.
Barah Khamba at Hauz Khash
Inside view of Tomb
Outside this Tomb, there are some graves at the west side of
the entrance and one dry well is seen. One bastion like structure is present at
the left side in the North direction. All these outsides structure are
mysterious due to the unknown reason behind these structures. At the east
direction, there are many graves appeared between green grasses.
Barah Khamba at Hauz Khash
Side view of Barah Khamba
It is very sad to see such an important architecture in a depleted
condition. We Indians have a long issue with betel leaf. The spit of betel
leaves is seen on walls. Even plasters from the walls are falling apart. There
is a notification from the ASI for future renovation of the building. 




Khusdil was getting tired of seeing of all these tombs.
Probably for him falling in preserving of these architectures was disheartening
or repeating of Lodhi and Tughlaq architecture was too much. But for me, these
moments are like a book. It feels like they are telling me some story; I could
depict the moments lived by these monuments and want to see more. I knew that
Jagannath temple was very nearby and there Prasad of Lord Jagannath will offer
in 45 minutes.  I suggested Khusdil; let’s
start walking towards Jagannath temple. We will rest near the temple. On our
way to the temple, we had seen two more ruins. My greediness to see more and
more bring me to the next architecture structure: Sakri Gumti and Chhoti Gumti
.


Sakri Gumti at Hauz Khash
Side view of Sakri Gumti

 SAKRI GUMTI & CHHOTI GUMTI:

There are lots of historical sites, who have known about their
time, but their actual history has lost in the absence of literary evidence to
the tune of time. Both Gumti is one of them. Due to its dome & arches
structures present on the top of these Gumti
these two structures were built during the Lodhi Period, in
between 14th and 15th century. Probably the both Gumti
are of 8 m X 8 m.
Both structures are surrounded by lush green lawn much
better maintained than Dadi-Poti tomb.



Sakri Gumti at Hauz Khash
Side view of Sakri Gumti





Sakri Gumti is not a tomb; there
are no graves inside this Gumti.
From outside, it looks more like a narrow gate. It was built from the rubble
without plaster; probably it may be used as a gateway. Its wall is taller than
its width. At the east direction, there is one broken wall but for which
purpose it is still not clear.



Chhoti Gumti at Hauz Khash
Front view of Chhoti Gumti





On the other hand, Chhoti Gumti is one of the smallest structures in the nearby
area and hence called Chhoti Gumti. There is a grave of an unknown
person inside. The plastered exterior is decorated with arches and the interior
has a medallion on the ceiling. It has a small domed structure with low in
respect of other Lodhi period’ monuments. It was built from the rubble and then
plastered. This Gumti has three entrances from east, north and south direction.  In the west direction, the wall is decorated with
mihrab probably for the purpose of prayer.


I felt that ASI is trying to maintain the balance
between modern urban Delhi and ancient Delhi. It is evident from the rising of
unplanned or planned housing structures in Hauz Khash. Also, most of
the structures are in depleted conditions. Though ASI regulation prohibits any
constructions within 100 meters of ASI protected structures, it is hardly
followed. Delhi has seen the rise and fall of several dynasties and it has preserved
all history, but we humans are destroying it. These structures are our story; we
should preserve it for future generations. We should follow cleanliness drive
“Swach Bharat” and shouldn’t litter around these structures. We should
respect and preserve our historical treasure.


Address to reach Dadi-Poti’s Tomb, Barah Khamba, Sakri Gumti & Chhoti Gumti:

Sri Aurobindo Marg, Block L, Green Park, New Delhi- 110016
Time- It is open for 24 x 7 days
Open at 5 AM & Closed at 7 PM every day.
Nearest Metro- Hauz Khash &
Green Park Metro station. Both metro stations are connected with all Delhi
reaching point (Delhi Airport, New Delhi Railway station & all Delhi bus
stand)

Parking place: Aurobindo market 



Jagannath Temple at Hauz Khash
Side view of Jagannath Temple

JAGANNATH TEMPLE :

With the small hope,
I start my bike towards the famous Jagannath temple which is near to Chhoti Gumti and
5 minutes of walking distance. It’s already 12:30 PM, Prasad offering
would be starting soon. Khusdil told me, let’s hurry up. We must
attend the prasad offering. The Temple, a white masonic structure is
located on the Bhagwan Jagannath marg (Road). This temple
is on the way to Deer Park from Chhoti Gumti. Within a minute, we
reached the temple and parked my bike at the parking lot in front of the
temple. We put our shoe in the deposit counter then sanctified. Buying worship
materials, climbing the stairs and finally entered the temple premises. The
scenery of the temple complex was very charming and peaceful. There was not
much crowd but some people were roaming around the temple complex and some
people were sitting in the temple premises. At first, we both worshipped the
God- Krishna, Balram & Subhadra in the temple. Then,
roaming around the temple and enjoying the beauty of the temple complex. For a
while, we have experienced spiritual joy and peace by sitting in the temple
premises.



Jagannath Temple at Hauz Khash
Temple View



Jagannath means “Lord of Universe” who is one of the
three major Hindu Gods. Origin of this temple is rooted in Mahabharata and Puran,
so it is a famous temple among Hindu devotees and this is considered one of the
Char-Dham Pilgrimages. It is located in Puri district of Odisha state.  This temple is famous for its annual Ratha Yatra
or Chariot festival at Puri and
devoted
to Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and his sister Subhadra.
Many great Hindu saints are associated with this
temple such as- Ramananda, Ramanuja,
Madhvacharya, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Srimad Vallabhacharya,
etc.



In the sacred chamber,
three deities Krishna/Jagannath, Balram and Subhadra, a mythological a character from a Mahabharat epic are worshipped in Jagannath temple.
These deities are made of scared wood which is taken from the “Neem Tree” (Melia Azadirachta Indica
/ Margosa wood). 
Subhadra is in
the centre with Krishna is in right of her and Balbhadra is
on the left of her.
Subhadhra is the smallest of two and shown in yellow
while Bhalbhadra is depicted in white and Krishna in black. The
deities of Jagannath is also signified Trimurti.
 According to some scholars, Goddess Mangla is
introduced as Subhadra, sister of Jagannath. God Shiva is also known
as Virabhadra and with the rise of Vaishnavism, he was introduced
as Balbhadra, an elder brother of Jagannath.

Jagannath Temple at Hauz Khash
Trimurti in Hauz Khash Jagannath Temple

Hauz Khash temple is a replica of Jagannath temple, Puri. It
is made up of white stone in
Kalinga Buddhist Architect style. It is the
best place for regular religious / family hangout. The Orissa Art and Cultural
Society, Delhi organized Rathyatra on similar fashion as it is organized in
Puri. This temple is the main attraction point for the Oriya community, but
anybody can visit this temple. In this serene shrine temple, you feel peace and
cosmos energy here. Temple has own guest house, which could be booked for
overnight stay. Also, one could arrange weddings and other ceremonies in the
temple. It also serves prasad (Lunch) every day at noon by till 2:30 PM and at
evening on the donation of Rs. 75/- which is a very reasonable price. This
Prasad is pure vegetarian spiritual food which offered to
Lord Jagannath.
If you want to take Odisha cusine test, then try this delicious prasad.




After spending some
time on the premises, we both came to the ground floor, I took two donation
coupons in 150/and sat on the ground in the queue with other
devotees. Prasad was given to all of us soon. In
Prasad offering, there are three types of vegetables,
lentil, rice, pickle, green chillies, kheer, and a dessert included. After
the lunch, Khusdil said that this pious
offering (Prasad) was much better than the hotel’s
lunch. I only smiled and shook my head. We
have rested there for half an hour, during this period; we had
refreshed the memories of our childhood.

Address to reach Jagannath Temple:

Sree Neelachala Seva Sangha, Block-C, SDA, Hauz Khas Village
Road, Bhagwan Jagannath Marg, New Delhi – 110016.

Time- It is open for 24 x 7 days,


In Summar- 5 AM –
12:30 PM   &     4 PM – 11 PM



In Winter-   6 AM – 12:30 PM   &    
4 PM – 09 PM

Nearest Metro- Hauz Khash & Green Park Metro station can be easily reached from Delhi
Airport, New Delhi Railway station and ISBT Delhi bus stand.
Parking place: Jagannath Temple





This trip of Hauz Khas was
memorable and worthwhile. It is a perfect place for kids and family for
spending a memorable time. Do not forget to carry your camera and capture
special moments. My wristwatch shown 2 PM, Khusdil said with full
enthusiasm that now we should go towards our next destination to explore- Hauz Khash Dear
Park…..

0 thoughts on “One Day Trip to Hauz Khash I : Exploring Forgotten Heritage of Muslim Dynasty”

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