It is always a goosebump-inducing feeling for me, setting feet on stones where royalty once walked, witnessing rulers and their near and dear ones reduced to dust and enclosed in tombs, securing history for posterity. It was with this feeling that I walked through the Lodi Gardens in Delhi one beautiful evening, with the OH.
The Lodis were a Pashtun dynasty which ruled over several parts of North India in the 16th century, before the Mughal empire came into force. They are not as popular as the Mughals, but they have left bits and pieces of their legacy behind in Delhi, the Lodi Gardens being one of them.
Lodi Gardens is a hotspot for walkers and joggers, who come here in droves, some of them with their dogs in tow. We chose to visit the gardens in the early evening, though, and were hence spared the crowds. We had a lovely time walking through the green, green lawns that are extremely well-maintained, gazing at the tombs and the mosque that they house, and reading up on the history contained within.
Right in the middle of the garden is the Bada Gumbad (big dome), which serves as a gateway to a mosque. Both the Bada Gumbad and the mosque are said to have been built in 1494, when Sikander Lodi was on the throne.
I found the mosque extremely fascinating, with its three domes and arched doorway, some beautiful-looking inscriptions on them. I am charmed by these inscriptions every time I look at them, though I don’t even know which language they are in. I wish I knew what they said. The mosque is full of little ledges, where, apparently, lamps used to be lit in the olden days.
There are the remains of a small house just outside the mosque, with a courtyard and a hint of a water tank. Who would have lived in the house? How would they have lived? What kind of clothes would they have worn? My imagination ran riot as I watched the house, till a little fellow brought me back to reality with his persistent whistles from the top of the Bada Gumbad.
Wondering who he was? This green one, with his red beak, who seemed to pose exclusively for my camera from his high perch. 🙂
A little further on, we spotted this vendor making tea in a tin kettle, stoking bits of charcoal into a fire. Armed with cups of hot chai, we meandered on to discover more of Lodi Gardens.
Right opposite the Bada Gumbad is the Sheesh Gumbad (the glass dome), which houses the remains of an unknown family. Can you spot the row of blue just below the dome? Those are ceramic tiles, which glittered like pieces of glass when the rays of the sun fell on them, giving the Sheesh Gumbad its name. The entire facade of the Sheesh Gumbad was covered with these beautiful blue tiles once upon a time. Imagine what a sight it must have been then! Sadly, all that is left of these tiles is this row of dilapidated blue ones.
We met these two little lovers inside the Sheesh Gumbad, frantically cooing to each other, heedless of the flashes of cameras pointed their way, including mine. I rather love the way this particular picture has turned out. 🙂
Muhammed Shah, the last ruler of the Sayyid dynasty, which ruled Delhi before the Lodis came to power, also lies buried in the Lodi Garden. His tomb was built as a tribute to him by his son Alauddin Alam Shah, in the year 1444.
This is precisely why I love Delhi – the way you can have a real-life history lesson in the middle of something as mundane as an evening walk. 🙂 There is so much of our country’s precious history that lies scattered across Delhi, I think I cannot see all of it even if I visit the place umpteen times. There is so much to explore, so much to learn, it fascinates me to no end.
Time constraints led us to exit the garden too soon for my liking. I later realised that we had missed seeing the tomb of Sikander Lodi and the Athpula (eight-tiered bridge), adjacent to the garden. We also skipped visiting the renowned Khan Market, one of Delhi’s many famed markets. Oh, well, all the more reason for me to visit Delhi again! 🙂