Amidst perching on the roof of this shattered dome I’m sailing in the feeling of how it was to be waking up to the chirping birds in the unsmoked air of the green surroundings under the sprightly blue sky over the heads of sporadic population in the Medieval era of the city currently known as Delhi. Generations passed away, centuries have gone but what are the left remains we are on. Parallel to the history of other cities and generations Delhi is also known for its affluent antiquity and intense historic stories that we are unable to juxtapose with today’s trend.
Instead of just rambling and cherishing the remnants of the past, heritage walk gives more humanistic approach to grasp the ancient moments along with better understanding of the place, of the people associated with. Otherwise pick the recollection of your childhood’s boring history classes. Since long I would like to catch any of the heritage walk which nowadays has been arranging by varied story teller groups on divergent memorable spots of Delhi. There are plethora of scribbles and tales equated to intense foregone era of the capital.
This heritage walk to Bijay Mandal & Begumpur Mosque in Malviya Nagar, Delhi was organised by “Delhi Karavan” and walk leaders Asif Khan Dehlvi and Aditya Pathak engagingly held the whole conversation. Here, today no architectural beauty remains , now these are just tattered structures that can never be recaptured. This is an another face of those glamorously preserved heritage sites by the government. Either, many of such places are not ticketed due to the non maintenance and poor condition of these rustic structures as such historic premises are quiet inadequate to leave a mark for attraction to the common mass or vice versa.
History Behind the Walls
Delhi have seen the eras from Mahabharata to the kingdom of Prithviraj Chauhan, from generations of Allaudin Khilji to the walled city built by Shah Jahan. This was a beginning of Tuglaq era in 13th century. Bijay Mandal was once constructed as the palace of Emperor Muhammad Bin Tughlaq in the 14th century as a part of Jahapanah or The Refuge of the World– the famed fourth Medieval city of the Delhi Sultanate is now wrapped in the sprouts of innumerable houses of surplus population of Delhi. Muhammad Bin Tughlaq was notorious as mad Sultan for his way of ruling and destructive policies but he was quite ambitious too and that reflects in his decision making power for his dynasty; all a matter of perspective.
Bijay Mandal is acknowledged as Qasar-i-Sutan or as a “1000 Pillared Palace” that got a mention in the contemporary writings of world famous Moroccan traveller “Ibn Batuta” of his time who traveled South Africa, Asia, China. He defined about the captivating carvings on wooden pillars and ceilings that might be used as an extended portion to the actual stoned anatomy which is no more and has now reduced to spread of ruins. But one can conceptualize the grandeur of its past either while taking entry from its majestic gates framed of weighty stones or while complementing steps along the high elevated dome, by crossing sublime gates or inner courtyard. Some portion was build up by Allaudin Khilji, on which an unsolved debate still exists who made what.
Unroll of the green vegetation over the broad space spread from the believed to be entrance or the check points to the Public Audience Hall that is generally known as Diwan-i-aam to the main palace. By gazing the rubble we could not figure out exact details of royalty, those are now just hidden behind the layers of time for which these walls are the evidences of sovereignty.
An engaging tale: Delhi is famous for its CHAT and how could the city would gets complete without its tangy, spicy taste. Do you know that Samosa/ Sambusa/ Samboksa (favorite Indian snack for most of us) doesn’t have origin from India. This spicy fried dish have its roots from Middle East and was introduced to Indian sub-continent within time frame of 13-14th century. That’s too not with the fillings of potatoes, peas, lentils, onions, we made this alteration otherwise it was a meal stuffed with minced meat, lamb (Keema/Mutton).
Similarly, what we have Paratha today is a combination of Tandoori Roti (from Afgan) + Puri (from India). Which means not only does people but food too traveled time and places and how beautifully enhanced with their taste.
As per the history, there is a debate who built the mosque Mohammad Bin Tuglaq or his successor Feroj Shah Tuglaq as there is no written records on this. One of the theory depicts that this mosque could have been the major mosque of Mohammad Bin Tuglaq. This comes among 7 mosque of Delhi and is similar in size of Jama Masjid of Old Delhi but after seeing the pitiful condition there is no match between the two. Till earlier 19th century, the premises was badly encroached by the civilians in a form of a village but now its uninhabited except drunkards, drug addicts. Open space is surrounded by ventilated alleys connected with tight passages to few dark chambers and a separate hall foe woman known as Janana Area.
What to define, what to exclude every historical monument share its own piece of magical stories; some stated somewhere some still lie in the sack of secrets that evokes the sense of curiosity in every upcoming generations till generations. History is so intense to unfold.
Location: Bijay Mandal, Kalu Sarai, New Delhi-16. Take entry to Bijay Mandal complex, it is opposite Sarvapriya Vihar Club and near Begumpur.
How to get there :
Nearest metro station is Hauz Khas. Exit from Gate no 2 and take an auto to the club or walk on the approach road on your left. Distance from Delhi Airport is 15 Kms and from New Delhi Railway Station is 13 Kms. Located nearby Hauz Khas village, one of the most affluent neighborhood and attraction of Delhi.
What to wear and carry:
–Bring along drinking water as it is not a commercial tourist spot.
–Wear a good pair of walking shoes as the trail is uneven in places and also wear fully covered clothes if you are allergic to territorial grass especially if you wish to roam around in the season of monsoon.
Timings: 6 A.M to 6:30 P.M. but advisable visiting hours are between 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Sunrise and sunsets enhance the charm of this tranquil beauty so consider the time slot while visiting the place.
Are you are a history geek too? Tell me your favorite stories from your travel pages.