Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dilli Ki Shaan

Tughlaqabad Fort
Tughlaqabad Fort, perched on a rocky hill, constitutes one third of the capital city of India. The fort is located on the Qutab-Badarpur Road and was built by Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty. The Tuglaqabad Fort seems to be more or less octagonal, with a border of approximately 6.5-km. The ramparts of the fort, now in ruins, are between 10m to 15m high with fortresses and gateways at intervals. The Tughlakhabad at Delhi was built to serve a dual purpose, one of providing a defensive structure to the ruler and the second, to serve as his imposing capital.
Tughlaqabad stands divided into three segments. The eastern segment is entered through from the Qutub-Badarpur road. It is a rectangular area enclosed within high walls and bastions and used to serve as the citadel. On the west side of the Tughlaqabad Fort is a wider area that once contained the palaces and is surrounded by walls and bastions. A huge reservoir stands on the southern side of the Tughlaqabad Fort at Delhi. Bunds were put up between hills to the east to create the reservoir, which is linked with Ghiyas-ud-Din's tomb through a causeway.
There is a wide mound near the south eastern-corner of the Fort Tughlakhabad of Delhi that leads to the fortress of Adilabad. The sluice gates near the mound were used for controlling water for irrigation purposes. There is also a tower, known as the Bijai-Mandal, inside the fort, along with remains of several halls, and also a long underground passageway. To the north of the fort, lies the city of Tughlaqabad, which is now mostly in ruins..
Location: Tughlaqabad is the third city of Delhi, located about 10 kms. east of Qutub complex along the Mahrauli-Badarpur Road.
The Origin:
Tughluqabad Fort was situated on high rocky ground, an ideal location to withstand enemy attacks. The origin of the historic city of Tughlaqabad and the Tughlaqabad Fort goes to the period of the Delhi Sultanate. The Tughlaqs who followed the Khiljis were great builders and the city of Tughlaqabad and Tughlaqabad Fort were their first major architectural achievement. The story behind Ghazi Malik (founder of the Tughlaq dynasty) was once a slave of Mubarak Khilji, the last Khilji sultan. One day, while walking by the area Ghazi Malik suggested to his master that the rocky prominence would be an ideal site for building a fort. The Khilji sultan laughed at his slave and suggested that the slave build a fort there when he became a sultan. When Ghazi Malik, as Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, founded the Tughlaq Dynasty in 1321, he did just that Tughlaqabad is Delhi's most colossal and awesome fort, even in its ruined state. In fact Ghiyasuddin had selected this site for the fort when he was a mere soldier. The fort of Tughlaqabad was completed rapidly in a short span of four years. Within its sky-touching walls, double-storied bastions, and gigantic towers were housed grand palaces, splendid mosques, and audience halls. Tughlaqabad is a formidable reminder of Delhi's embattled past and the terror. It was a period of political unrest and the Delhi Sultanate had to face a number of attacks from hoards of marauding Mongols, who descended on it in waves from the north. The massive fortifications of Tughlaqabad, with immense circular bastions, were raised by Ghiyas-ud-din to protect his subjects.
Legends Of Tughlaqabad:
There are a number of legends associated with Tughlaqabad. It is often said that the skulls of the killed Mongol marauders were used in the construction material of this awesome fort. Its construction involved a legendary quarrel with the saint Nizam-ud-din. When the Tughluq ruler took the workers whom Nizam-ud-din wanted for work on his shrine the saint cursed the king with the warning that only the Gujjars (shepherds) would inhabit his city. The demise of Tughlaqabad was not brought about by any foreign invasion, but to the curse of a Sufi Saint Nizam-ud-din. The legendary quarrel between the two started when Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq did not allow his people to work for the saint on the construction of a baoli (step well), which angered the saint. A protracted tiff followed, which offended the saint and led to his famous prophecy Hunuz Dilli dur ast (Delhi is yet far away), for the sultan was then out in Bengal. His prophecies proved true. Ghiyas-ud-din was killed at a place near Delhi when a shamiana (canopy) collapsed over him during a reception arranged by his son. The sultan could not reach Delhi alive. His successor chose to build his own fort and deserted Tughlaqabad. It is generally believed that the death of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq was engineered and plotted by his son. One story describes that Muhammad bin Tughlaq killed his father by building a false wooden balcony, which collapsed and killed Ghiyas-ud-din. The son murdered and ascended the throne of Delhi, thus making the prophecies of Saint Nizam-ud-din come true. The massive block walls glow a beautiful golden colour in the afternoon sun. The remains of underground markets and some royal residences are visible inside the walls.
An Architectural Marvel with Military Style:
The massive Tughlaqabad Fort, is not only symbolic of the might of the Tughlaq dynasty, but it is a piece of architectural marvel. It was a part of the dream project of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq when he built the capital at Tughlaqabad. However, this powerful edifice did not last long and fell to the curse of a saint. The crumbling ruins of the Tughlaqabad Fort convey a sense of lost grandeur. The massive ramparts, battlements, and the mammoth stonework of this fort speak highly of the engineering skills of the workers who constructed it. The fort served the dual purpose of a defensive structure as well as the imperial capital of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq. There are a number of monuments within the precincts of this fort.
Kalkaji Mandir

Situated beyond the commercial complex of Nehru Place lies Kalkaji temple dedicated to the Goddess Kalka Devi. Kalkaji mandir is very famous and has numerous devotees thronging it on many religious occasions, throughout the year. Small red flags decorate the temple then, and women outnumber men among the devotees. Folklore is replete with tales of the Kalkaji temple, so much so that one does not know where legend ends and history begins.

This is a very old temple and the oldest part was built up in 1764 A.D. The Kali Temple in Kalkaji boasts of an existence of 3,000 years, although the oldest surviving portion of it dates to 1764-1771 when the Marathas were in power. Looking at the present-day Kalkaji temple one may find it hard to believe that this shrine to Kali is an antique one, where perhaps even the Pandavs and Kauravs had worshiped during the reign of Yudhisthir, whose citadel of Indraprastha had the fabled fairy gates of which bards sang, much like Homer of old, right up to the time of Prithviraj Chauhan.

The temple is situated on a hill and is dedicated to Kali. There is a very distinctive feeling there and the devotees are overwhelmed by light, which stay during the whole night. The power of Ma Kali is ambiguous but powerful. Devotees also try to meditate there and a spectacular tantric aarati is held at about 7 pm. The temple is also quite near to the Bahai Temple, which is just opposite on the other side of a big road.

Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya
 
Address: Nizamuddin
City: New Delhi
State: Delhi
Location: North India
Year of Construction: 1562-63 AD
Constructed By: Muhammad Tuglaq
Type of Construction: Medieval
Type of Building: Mosque
Religion: Islam
Accomodation: Accomodations are easily available in hotels and lodges in Delhi.
Accesibility: New Delhi is connected to the other major Indian cities by air, rail and road.

Nizamuddin Dargah enshrines Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya or Nizam-ud-Din, a revered Sufi saint. During the lifetime of the saint, a settlement developed here, still inhabited and known by the name of Nizamuddin. Hazrat Nizam-ud-Din Auliya Dargah of Delhi also entombs Amir Khusrau, a poet and the saint's favorite disciple. The Dargah was built by Muhammad Tughluq and consists of one of the most revered pilgrimages of the Muslims. Other tombs enshrined in the Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya Dargah are those of Jahan Ara Begum, Shah Jahan's daughter and Mirza Ghalib, a distinguished poet.

Surrounded by a number of tombs, this Dargah is constructed on top of a tank. There is a legend attached to the Nizamuddin Dargah. It is believed that there was an argument between the rulers of Tughluqabad and the saint over building this tank. The saint, in anger, cursed the rulers that the city of Tughluqabad will never prosper and so did it happen. After its initial construction, the Dargah underwent a number of renovations and reconstructions. The present mausoleum, constructed by Faridu'n Khan, dates back to the year 1562-63. Qawwali singers perform at Hazrat Nizam-ud-Din Auliya Dargah of Delhi around sunset after the evening prayers.

The square chamber of the Dargah is adorned with verandahs and arched gateways. Domed roof of the building has vertical stripes of black marble and is crowned by a lotus cresting. Even the area surrounding the tomb is considered as sacred. Many Muslims, including the royals, have been buried here. The rush for the Dargah is exceptionally heavy during Id and the Urs fair held twice a year. The Urs fair is organized bi-annually n the death anniversaries of Hazrat Nizam-ud-Din Auliya and Amir Khusrau. There are a number of monuments in the Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya Dargah including Jama'at-Khana Masjid, Chini Ka Burj (mosque), tombs of Muhammad Shah and Mirza Jahangir, Kali-or-Kalan Masjid, etc..

 
Address: 2-km From Hauz Khas
City: New Delhi
State: Delhi
Location: South India
Year of Construction: 16th Century
Constructed By: Wazir Mirza Bhoiya
Type of Construction: Medieval
Type of Building: Mosque
Religion: Islam
Accomodation: Accomodations are easily available in hotels and lodges in Delhi.
Accesibility: New Delhi is connected to the other major Indian cities by air, rail and road.


Moth ki Masjid, also known as "the mosque from Lentil" now lies deserted and secluded. This mosque was built during the rule of Sikandar Lodi around 500 years ago and has a legend attached to its origin. It is believed that one day Sikandar Lodi gave a grain of moth (a type of lentil) to his loyal minister Wazir Miya Bhoiya as a reward, just for fun. The minister took those seeds and started planting the seeds year after year. Gradually the seeds multiplied many times and a day came when they could be sold for money, enough for the construction of a mosque. So, the minister went to the King and asked for his permission to build the mosque.

Sikandar Lodi got very impressed with the intelligence of his minister and laid the foundation of the mosque himself. The Moth Masjid of Delhi was built according to the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. Unlike the traditional mosques, it has no minarets, calligraphic decorations and embellishments, etc. Rather, it is a small and simple mosque that marked the resumption of architectural activity during Lodi dynasty rule. Made up of red sandstone, the Delhi Moth ki Masjid boasts of a small semicircular dome and windows with latticework screens. It is believed that this mosque served as the private mosque of Sikandar Lodi's minister..