Five forgotten monuments of Delhi


By Atul Mishra

Delhi’s rich historical legacy has given us an abundant number of tourist places and monuments. From UNESCO World Heritage site like Qutab Minar to place like Delhi Haat, where thousands of people visit everyday, many tourist places are undoubtedly world famous. But Delhi also has an unknown side to it. There are many monuments here that have been forgotten in the historical timeline. Few of them are well maintained. Few have been left as ruins and debris. Let us look at five such monuments of Delhi that have been built and forgotten:

Baradari at Qudsia Garden

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An ancient building known as Baradari (meaning 12 openings) which was built in 1748 by Qudsia Begum, the wife of Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah Rangeela, at one time harbored a palace, two baradaris and other forts within it and was surrounded by a wall on all sides.

But in ‘Revolt of 1857’, the British used this place as their camp and the palaces and walls were destroyed in the mutiny. Later, it was restored by the British themselves giving their imperial touch.

Today one gateway is called Hathi or Elephant gate, one gothic building (probably once the palace), and a mosque remains in sight as well. Though its grandeur has been lost, it still is a place of detour. Many beautiful birds flock here and the garden is a peaceful place to sit and relax, and trace the historical vestiges of whatever remains intact today.

Adham Khan Tomb

58_bigAdham Khan tomb is located to the north of the Qutub Minar. Adham Khan was the son of Akbar’s nanny Maham Anga. He was a minister at the court of Akbar. He was thrown off from Agra Fort by the Emperor for assassinating one of his favorite ministers. Akbar built the Adham’s tomb after Maham Anga died of grief. This tomb has a labyrinth on its upper corridor running across the dome, which is why it’s called Bhool Bhulaiyan.

Today it is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) but is closed for the visitors. Some archaeologist claim that an underground tunnel runs from this tomb to Agra!

Agrasen ki Baoli

Agrasen_ki_Baoli,_New_Delhi,_India_-_20070127Situated in Hailey Road, Connaught Place, Agrasen ki Baoli is a 60-meter long and 15-meter wide historical well. It is believed that it was built by the King Agrasen of the Solar dynasty.

Baoli literally translates to ‘step well’ and this Baoli is believed to be the dwelling place of djinns. It’s a myth that whoever goes down the steps, tosses a coin in the water and makes a wish, the mythical djinns grant them the wishes. Locals believe that the place is haunted.

Today it is a designated protected monument under ASI.

Ghalib Haveli

A_view_of_Ghalib_ki_HaveliA declared heritage site by the ASI, Ghalib Haveli was the residence of Mirza Ghalib where he lived and spent the last decade of his life. It is located at Gali Qasim Jaan at Ballimaran in Chandni Chowk.

Ghalib wrote many Urdu and Persian poems (diwans) while staying here. A memorial museum has been set up here harboring many objects showcasing Ghalib’s life and works and is open to public on all days from 10 AM to 5 PM except on Mondays. The Haveli also stands out as a prime example of Mughal residential architecture.

Chor Minar

Tower_of_ThievesAlso called, “the tower of thieves”, Chor Minar is a minaret with 225 holes. This tower has no dungeon underground to it, but the tower is pierced with circular holes.

These holes were used to display the severed heads of thieves during the reign of Alauddin Khilji of the Khilji dynasty (1290–1320) in the 13th century. The custom was to cut off their heads and stick them into those holes so that they could be seen by everybody. Legend also has it that speared heads of an army of 8,000 Mongols who attacked the mighty Khilji dynasty, were put on public display here.

It is located near Aurbindo Marg in Huaz Khas. Today it stands majestically with hardly any visitors. They must come here to see this monument of violence.