These last few days I’ve been discovering the city on my own, using the new Metro connection between Gurgaon & Delhi. The Metro service is amazing, as it reduces travel times enormously, and gives you the opportunity to see much more in a day!
On Thursday I visited the Qutub Minar site in South Delhi. The red sandstone minar, covered with ornate carvings and verses from the Qu’ran, is the tallest in all of India. The site of the Qutub Minar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site originally featured Hindu & Jain temples. These were all demolished, but their stones were re-used in the construction of some other structures such as the Qutub Complex. On the re-used stones you will notice the faces of gods & people neatly chiselled off.
The following day I visited Safdarjung’s Tomb, Lodi Gardens, and Dilli Haat market. Built in 1754, Safdarjung’s Tomb has been called ‘The last flicker in the lamp of Mughal architecture’. It follows the example of the much larger (and much busier) Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. The latter I have seen many times on previous visits, so this time I wanted to see Safdarjung’s.
Although the gardens are overgrown and the buildings need some repair, you can still feel the grandeur of the Mughals. I hope the ASI can do to this place what it has previously done to Humayun’s Tomb, and restore the buildings & gardens to their former glory.
It was especially interesting to see the flora & fauna of the place, which seemed to come directly out of a Mughal miniature. Next to lots of squirrels, crows, common myna birds, pigeons and other wildlife, I spotted two white-rumpled vultures circling over the complex! It was the first time I have ever witnessed these impressive birds.
After visiting the tomb and mughal gardens, I decided to walk to the nearby Lodi Gardens. These are not just beautifully kept gardens, but they host a huge selection of ancient tombs, mosques and other buildings.
After getting some shopping done at Dilli Haat (a large open air market, celebrating India’s arts, crafts and foods) I went home, happy & inspired!