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  • Writer's pictureAvik

Intelligent Architecture: Lesser jewels of Mehrauli

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

Ruins have never been just the remains of the architectural excellence of our ancestors, rather over the period they have been great storytellers. One of such old cities, Mehrauli stands as an amalgamation of the legacy of past and present. Carrying the untainted history from the 13th century to the 19th-century British structure, it has witnessed all the possible wonders of the past.

Reminiscence of Indo-Islamic architecture

Delhi has been the witness of the rise and fall of many major dynasties, the 'Mamluk Dynasty' or the Slave dynasty being one of them. This 13th-century Dynasty has left its last Sultan, Ghiyas ud-din Balban in his eternal sleep. The tomb is laid in a dilapidated condition under the open sky which is enclosed within the ruined walls and arches that represents impressive Indo-Islamic architectural style, that was one of the firsts in the country. The architecture of the tomb proves that ancient architectural intelligence was far beyond present-day practicality.

From the well of mysteries

Another master example of the intricate details and exceptional artistry stands the Rajon ki Baoli, a triple storeyed stepwell built during the era of the Lodhi Dynasty, by Sikandar Lodhi.

“The Rajon ki Baoli was generally used by the masons for the purpose of the bathing and cleaning,” said Mr Hitesh, an explorer at the Mehrauli Archeological park explaining the usage of the step well.

He further said that there was a mosque on top of the Baoli which was later turned into a kitchen. Architecturally rich, The well has been surrounded by high arched halls with calligraphic inscriptions of the Quran all over it.

Mysticism meets religion

“The influx of the Afghans and the Persians brought the present day Islam but Sufism was the unorthodox form of Islam,” said Hitesh. Sufism has always been an important part of the Delhi Sultanate. During the Era of the Lodhis, a renowned Sufi saint Shaikh Fazlu'llah, popularly known by his alias ‘Jamali’. The famous Mosque and tomb under the name ‘Jamali-Kamali’, shows the architectural transitions between the Lodhis and the Mughals, while the inner walls of the mosque were decorated with the Quranic verses.

“ The Mosques shows both, features of Lodhi as well as the Mughal architecture with the heavy usage of red sandstones,” said Hitesh on the architectural difference of both the dynasties.
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