7 Lesser Known Monuments Of Delhi You Should Visit!
Its vibrant cosmopolitan culture and passion for good food makes Delhi a delicious, colourful delight. But most visitors tend to be happy with just striking Delhi‘s key attractions off their must see lists. Prominent items on the list would be a visit to the Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, Lutyens’ Delhi, and if you are feeling more adventurous, a street food tour of Old Delhi.
But stay a while longer, and Delhi will unveil its hidden gems for you. This ancient city is where several mythological wars were fought, and it has served as the capital of numerous kingdoms, including the Mughals and the British Raj. So the glitzy, fast-paced metropolis you see now is home to some lost, forgotten monuments from old times.
Come with us on a tour of seven such ancient beauties, each with its own story and unique charm:
1. Bijay Mandal
Located in a posh South Delhi colony, the 14th century Bijay Mandal was started by Emperor Allauddin Khilji and completed by the eccentric Muhammad Bin Tughlaq. The structure was built on a raised platform and is surrounded by another bigger platform. A ramp on one side leads to an octagonal pavilion from where you can see the whole city. Looking at it today, it is difficult to believe that this was once a ‘thousand-pillered palace’, where an emperor lived. The structure has deteriorated badly, but walk up to the tomb and you can still catch glimpses of how gifted the ancient craftsman were.
Location: Sarvapriya Vihar, Block 4
2. Chor Minar
Chor Minar, an isolated tower in the posh locality of Hauz Khas, is known to have had a gory past. Built in the 13th century by Allauddin Khilji, ‘Chor Minar’ literally means the thieves tower, and this was where criminals met their brutal end. There’s little that is remarkable about the stumpy tower today, except the 225 holes in its walls. These holes served a chilling purpose; they served to display the severed heads of criminals, impaled upon spears. The idea was meant to act as a deterrent to crime, and probably worked well! Today, people spend their evenings in the lush green gardens that surround this tower, and most of them are unaware of this tower’s horrific history.
Location: Hauz Khas
3. Qutb Sahib Ki Dargah
Situated in Mehrauli, not many know about this one dargah. It belongs to Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, also known as Qutb Sahib, who was a disciple of Khwaja Chisti of Ajmer. Qutb Sahib’s grave lies in the middle of a rectangular enclosure; this place also holds the graves of many Mughal rulers. The dargah also has structures like the assembly house, robe chamber, a mosque, tanks and several gates. There is a belief that if a pilgrim makes a wish and ties a thread near Qutb Sahib’ grave, his wish is fulfilled.
4. Hastsal Minar
Hastsal Minar, a masterpiece of ancient craftsmanship, now stands isolated and in ruins. Found in the present-day Nangloi Jat, this tower was a hunting resort built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, though some historians date it as far back as the 12th century, the era of Hindu king Prithviraj Chauhan. Unfortunately, nothing can be authenticated as there is no information about the minar. At 17m high, it initially soared above other buildings, but has now been encroached upon by brick houses. Earlier, one could go inside and climb the stairs to see the view from the top. People also believed that there was an underground tunnel that connected it to a palace, but there is no evidence of this today.
Location: Hastsal Village, Nangloi Jat
5. Azim Khan Tomb
This surprisingly well-preserved tomb belongs to Azim Khan, who many historians think was a general in Emperor Akbar’s army. Situated on top of a hillock and visible from miles away, the tomb is a beautiful piece of architecture that stands on a stone plinth and on rocky ground. The square-shaped dome is topped by an inverted lotus finial, with the most amazing patterns on its arches; one can enter the dome through a doorway to the north. Although the grave has disappeared, the structure is worth visiting to see the beautiful work along its arches and alcoves, with features like finials and kangura designs.
Location: Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road
6. Khirki Masjid
This Khirki (window) Masjid sits in the pulsating heart of Delhi, a stone’s throw away from one of the city’s poshest malls. Built by Junan Shah, this has 81 domes, 180 columns and 15 praying arches. One of the unique things about this mosque is that it’s fully covered by a roof, which is rare for mosques from the Tughlaq era. The mosque also has a mix of Hindu-Islamic architecture, another rarity for the time. It is a beautiful structure, which should definitely be on your list of places to see in Delhi.
Location: Khirki Village, Malviya Nagar
7. Tomb Of Razia Sultan
The tomb of Razia Sultan, the first female ruler of Delhi, is situated near the famous Turkman Gate in Old Delhi. One has to cross crowded, narrow alleys to reach the tomb, which is set on a raised platform in an open courtyard and consists of four walls without a roof. The platform has the graves of Razia Sultan and her not-so-popular sister Shazia. What is mysterious is the presence of two unidentified graves towards the south west side of the structure. Built by Razia’s brother, Behram Shah, in the 13th century, this is one place which has many interesting stories. Interested? Just ask the locals!
Location: Turkman Gate
These monuments are truly few of the hidden gems in Delhi and which we believe deserves a shoutout for people fond of history and culture of India. Which one would you love to visit? Tell us!
Fact File On Delhi
Official Language: Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu
Currency: Indian Rupee
Food & Drinks: Kebab, Biryani , Butter Chicken, Chhole Bhature, Lassi
Time zone: UTC+05:30
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