Travelogue

Lovers’, Photographers’ and Delhi’s : LODHI Garden

As I turned the page 148 of my current read, “Story of my experiments with truth”, I suddenly found myself engaging in this soliloquy, “No one is born a saint, No one is born a Mahatma. Circumstances, and the responses to those, Make people who they are. Nothing happens beyond it. It’s all in these little decisions that we make ourselves little by little everyday.” As I delve deep into these not so insightful musings, a green bench alike the one I was sitting on, took my undivided unblinking attention. The bench was placed right infront of me, about 100 meters away, under a skinny and leafless tree. It did not take a fraction of second, for my mind to switch the topic from commenting on a book’s ingredient to the bench sitting in the centre of a green lush park, under the scorching sun which does not have a shade.

I thought of my bench, my comfort under this heavily leafed tree which was fully equipped to save me from the rays and arrows of the sun. The bench and the tree in their complete synchronisation had promised me already to take proper care of me in this April summer of Delhi. I thought again about the bench, the meaning of it being placed in the middle of the park, and what purpose did the naked tree served to the bench. That was when an army of young boys came to capture the bench and two other young boys took a more responsible position there. One with a camera and the another one with a phone, started to capture them through several angles, in innumerable poses. After the young boys, the process was followed by a young couple, then three white tourists and few other children and couples. That was when I realised the conjunction of the naked tree and the iron bench had created a beauty, which all these photo enthusiasts had understood which meant more than the utility of the mystic combination.

My constant gaze at the bench found a rescue from a shrill voice which came from my right side. At this place and the scene, this voice was not alone. It was not a ray of light at the end of the tunnel. There were enough number of voices, sounds, and music. This man’s voice was advertising its product, as he sang again “Chips ! Pani” and continued the hymn as he passed by me, taking away my eyeballs in his direction of movement from right to left and then he disappeared in the trees and his voice died down in the songs of the squirrels, crows, pigeons and other birds. But time and now, the song of “Chips ! Pani!” was continued to be played. With a non verbal contract, all the vendors at the Lodhi Gardens has decided to repeat the song in a loop, so that there should not be any delay in case any potent customer, wishes to buy some chips or water. They dint want the visitors to give another thought on their thought of buying a snack or drink.

As I moved my head in random directions, I could see many groups taking over diverse spaces in the Lodhi gardens. Lodhi gardens, which has four, a pair of square and another pair of octagonal architecture-d mausoleum , seemed like paradise for photoshoots. A lady was wearing red colored bangles in both the hands, which touched her elbow, and her hands were beautifully smeared in heena. She was accompanied by an obedient husband by her side with an umbrella over her head and another lady who from time to time suggested them lovely poses. From all of this, I judged that they were probably getting done their post wedding shoot. Another few couples decided to keep this beautiful place as their background as they posed for their pre wedding photo album shoot and another couple decided to take beautiful picture of their pregnancy bump. Not to mention, many other pretty girls were posing at every spot, which somehow increased the beauty of the spot with a face.

The photo shoots, every now and then were being disturbed by few running enthusiasts who probably came to have a run in this park full of trees and colourful flowers. Amidst the series of various trees and unmatched coloured flowers, these running bodies craving for more air in the lungs ran around and most of them ended up at the gym park situated at one of the corners of the park near gate 1.

Not only the faces yearning to be captured, there was another section of visitors, who kept moving every now and then from places to another in the quest of finding a good spot. They were the young couples who wished for some serenity and privacy. One such couple captured the bench next to mine, I could feel the discomfort my presence was creating for them. I could understand how my silent interruption might be a hindrance in their planned flawless weekend. So I tried to bury my head again in the book. But that dint work, neither for me and nor for them. There was a silence after that, I tried to take a sneak peek at the bench placed by my side to check if the love birds had left. But as I raised my eyelids to have a look at them, i had an abrupt eye contact with the girl. There we made a silent agreement and it was decided that the place belonged better to the couple than me and I stood up to have a look at the beautiful tombs.

At this 90 acres of garden only one tomb is sufficient to hold all the bodies from Sayyid dynasty. The tomb of Mohammed Shah, the second last of the Sayyid dynasty rulers, lies here along with many others, whose names are not known. As innocent as Indians are, few of the names have been engraved on few of these tombs to augment the love of few of the couples, which says “X loves Y”. Let alone on these crypts, all the names of the Indians could be traced on these buildings as well. These are the places where the unknown amalgamation of islam and hinduism happens.

Sayyids could definitely be termed as those entrepreneurs who tried too hard to keep up their business and eventually handed over their product to other, because simply it became to difficult to keep up with the daily expenses. Sayyids came to power at a time when Delhi was struggling to have a powerful regime. During the 15th and early 16th centuries, there was no dominant power in north India and Bengal. Emerging Rajputs and Muslims always kept fighting to have an ownership of a bigger piece of land. The governor of Multan, Khizr Khan Sayyid captured Delhi at the time when the last Tuglaq sultan died in 1413 CE. Sayyids ruled over Delhi for 38 years, transferring power to Lodhis in 1451 CE. The last Sayyid ruler, Alauddin Alam Shah quietly gave away Delhi to Afghan, Bahlal Lodhi and got himself retirement for Badaun.

Today, Bahlol Lodhi rests in peace in ‘Sheesh Gumbad’, the tomb exactly in front of ‘Bada Gumbad’, which a very giant tomb, whose left side minaret seemed to have fallen down. It is opened from one side and is also considered to have been the gateway of the gardens (look at the awesome picture below) . Three sides of Bada Gumbad is finely covered with alleys made of red stone. These are highly and very beautifully decorated with the limestone plasters, engraved with verses from Quran.It is said that these alleys served as the place for the tourists of those times. In the center of this architecture is placed a pile of debris, which supposedly is a mausoleum, which could be a water tank before it was turned into a burial spot. The name of the person buried here is not known, but is considered to be one of the Lodhis.

And Right infront of this Bada Gumbad, lies the Sheesh Mahal. Bahlol Lodhi’s grave is supposed to be at this Sheesh Mahal, which is accompanied with other few crypts. Sheesh Mahal is named such, after the beautiful engraving of blue colored glasses on the tomb structure. Blue enamelled tiles once added to the beauty of this tomb. The ceiling is one of the most attractive features of this tomb. It is very well ornamented with floral patterns and both hindu and islamic features.

After Bahlol, Lodhi’s found a new kind of power and encouragemnt to increasemnt the realm and boundaries of the dynasty. Bahlol expanded the boundaries to Punjab and Jaunpur(UP). The losing hegemony of Delhi was regained by Lodhis after Bahlol captured Jaunpur from Tughlaqs in 1479 CE. Which also attracted many afghans towards Delhi (intense migration). Bahlol ruled for about another 38 years till Sikander Lodhi came in power.

Sikhander’s tomb which now lies in a very dilapidated conditions when compared to the others, was a very important and significant sultan of that time, which is also apparent from the size of his mausoleums. Sikander led his campaign to Bihar and founded the very famous city of Agra in 1505 CE, as a base for controlling Malwa ( central Madhya Pradesh) and Rajasthan.

Sikander was the last powerful Sultan of Lodhi dynasty, who today lies in the silence of his tomb, which is placed right in front of a lake, full of fishes. The entrances to the tomb is very challenging however, the center of the tomb is connecetd with four paths which somehow connectes the entire green place together. After this Rana Sangha made news in that time and later on Mughals did.

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