Mehrauli being the oldest inhabited area in
As you go ahead from Yogmaya temple towards Mehrauli bus stand, bang opposite the bus stand you would see an imposing symmetrical building, with Indo-Islamic architecture staring at you. This is Adham Khan’s tomb. An ASI board that itself needs protection tells you that it is a protected monument but never tells you anything more about the monument. It does not even tell you the name of the monument. Anyway, take a flight up the stairs and you would reach a wide platform on top of which this stands an astonishingly symmetrical octagonal structure. No wonder this is also known as Bhool Bhulaiya, you could be lost in this labyrinth like structure. There are 8 double doors in this tomb and the alternate doors have a lotus and Islamic verses engraved on them. All the eight sides open into a verandah with 3 doorways each. There are kumbhas on the entrance pillars. There are stairs to go up on the first floor, but all the ways are locked, so you can not go up and get a top down view of the tomb. The huge dome adorns this structure and this may be one of the biggest domes, at least it seems so to the naked eye. On top end of the ceiling of dome has a circular painting in blue and red, which is not visible to the eye but you can zoom in your camera and see it. It is difficult to make out if the whole dome was painted once or only this small circular part was. There are recessed arches and a corridor going around. The whole structure stands on a huge platform. There seem to be watch tower like structures on the outer walls, which could have belonged to Lal Kot or may be to the tomb. I wish there was someone to explain this. Octagonal structure is not common in Mughal architecture. One of the theories states that Octagonal structures were built for traitors and since Adham Khan was a traitor he got this octagonal tomb. Can someone tell me the reason or logic behind this? You get a nice view of the Qutab from here, almost as if the mighty minar is coming out of earth like a plant. From another angle when you see the current day market through the various doorways, you see your eyes looking at the present through the past. Today this so called protected monument is in a bad shape with no maintenance. The walls are defaced, there is filth all around, the platform and the monument is used by children as well as adults as a play area.
Adham Khan was Akbar’s foster brother and he is buried here along with his mother Mahamanga. This tomb was built by Akbar. The tomb stands on the walls of Lal Kot the 8th century fort built by Tomar Kings. Surprisingly the grave is a very small structure inside this huge hall but probably that is because it is a restored grave. In early 19th century this structure was used by the British as residential quarters, as police station, as post office and as a rest house and was later restored by Lord Curzon. Myth is that Rani Roopmati whose lover Baaz Bahadur was killed by Adham Khan cursed him that no woman would visit his tomb. Well I did visit it and did see few more women at the tomb. There are not many people visiting the tomb, as it is not a part of popular itineraries.
As you come back on the road, you would see another yellow colored dome staring at you. And the boards all around it will tell you that it is a primary health center for the area and the queues of patients will confirm that. On the wall is a memorial stone telling you that 1262 men from Jails of Mehrauli and Badarpur went to the First World War and 92 lost their lives. Now this building is intriguing because of the hybrid structure it has. It must have been a small dome from Mughal or earlier era, may be a tomb but a verandah has potentially been erected by the British. You also see an old rubble wall, but with no clue which era it belongs to.
Come out and walk across the road and take the first left lane and few meters down you would see Gandhak ki Baoli, a five storey step well that was built by Iltutmish for the Sufi Saint whose dargah is next door. One of the sweepers there told us that the water from this baoli used to smell of Gandhak (
From here follow the signs to Dargah Sharif, which leads to the dargah of Hazrat Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. It is the oldest dargah in
As one enters the Dargah, on the left side of the wall there is a huge stone embedded. People offer flowers on this stone and stop by to silently say a prayer and then touch their forehead as if accepting a blessing. This is the stone on which it is said that Hazrat Nizammudin used to stand on and pray to Baba Kaki. It is said that he used to come everyday to visit this dargah and why not, he is the disciple and successor of Baba Kaki and he carried forward the order of Chishtis in
This dargah has existed for 800 years and in its complex are scattered numerous graves, graves of devotees who wanted to be closer to their master after life. Baba Kaki was responsible for bringing this order of Chishti to
Adjacent to dargah is Zafar Mahal built by Akbar II and enhanced by Bahadur Shah II. This is probably the youngest palace in the city, less than 200 years old but in the worst state of existence which is attributed to its poor quality of construction. This may be the beginning of bad construction quality era in
Outside all the monuments you would find groups of men playing cards, using the alleys in these places as their meeting and playing area along with all the neighborhood kids who would use these places to pay hide and seek and other games. Now this does take way the ambience of the place, but at the same time it keeps these places alive. You can feel life here because of the living people using these spaces, otherwise they would only be the resting places for those who may have lived and died multiple times over by now.
This is a must do walk for all