During my last visit to Delhi I had set aside a day to visit Hauz Khas Park, which contains a number of interesting monuments and will be the subject of a separate blog shortly.
Whilst planning my route on foot from the metro station, I noticed a number of monuments marked on Google Maps on or near the approach road to Hauz Khas Park from Aurobindo Marg, so I decided to check them out.
The term dadi-poti means ‘grandmother-granddaughter’, they have been obviously linked because of their close proximity to each other and the fact that one is larger than the other, but there is no known link between them.
In fact, it is not known who is buried here at all. The smaller tomb (Poti) is thought to have been built in the late 14th century and has sloping walls and a distinctive lantern on the dome.
The larger tomb (Dadi) dates to the Lodi period, and was probably built almost a hundred after Poti, in the late 15th century. A local attendant was at these tombs and was kind enough to open them up for me to take a look inside.
Barah Khamba means ‘Twelve Pillars’, an unusual pre-Lodi era tomb because it lacks a mihrab (a niche in the wall indicating the direction of Mecca). Instead all four sides of the tomb are open with, unsurprisingly, twelve pillars.
Almost opposite Barah Khamba on the opposite side of the road are two further monuments.
Chhoti Gumti means ‘Small Dome’, a tiny structure built in the late 15th century that is most likely to be a gateway to some complex that has since been lost.
I noticed some of the masonry used was decorated, possibly indicating that in part this building has reused materials from a previous building.
Built in the late 15th century, this is architecturally slightly unusual in that the dome appears more dominant because of the relatively low walls.
Biran Ka Gumbad
Another Lodi tomb built in the late 15th century, it’s located a short distance up the road that separates Chhoti Gumto and Sakri Gumti.
The name Biran Ka Gumbad literally means ‘The doomed building of the brother’ – probably continuing with the similar naming theme adopted with the nearby Dadi-Poti tombs.
South Delhi is littered with monuments like these, almost all them burial places for unknown people.
It’s one of the factors that keeps drawing me back to the city. Their mystery is in fact part of the attraction, as is the juxtaposition of finding such old structures set within the surrounding sprawling urban mass of Delhi. I hope to return to the city soon to continue exploring monuments like these.
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