In my quest to discover long forgotten monuments I stumbled upon two mosques from medieval times. Hardly anyone notices them, and they are definitely not on the usual Delhi tourism circuit. The first is the architectural marvel, Begumpur Mosque, from the times of Mohammed bin Tughlaq,who built the 4th city of Delhi called Jahanpanah (in Persian it means 'refuge of the world'). It's a sprawling structure with three entrance gates, enclosing a huge courtyard which was used for praying. It's mihrab is enclosed by a large dome and the entire square shaped boundary has a multitude of smaller domes.
When I was exploring this 14 th century marvel, I felt transported to another era and while I was walking through the arched gateways I felt like I was traversing through the corridors of time. It was surreal. This place is fairly well preserved by the Archeological Survey of India. This mosque in the bylanes of Begumpur village in Malviya Nagar area of South Delhi is a must visit for the intrepid traveller.
The second discovery was by happenstance for sure. While casually ambling through the lanes of Mehrauli I stumbled upon this beauty. It's known as the Madhi Masjid. Even the locals ,who I quizzed about its origin, knew precious little about it. I found few boys gallivanting around its premises. It seems it's from the Lodi era of 16th century and it's Burj or domes bear a striking resemblance to the Lodi Garden tomb domes.
The unusual thing about it is that it has turquoise blue tiles decorating it's mihrab,which looks stunning even now, five hundred years later. It has both enclosed space and open courtyard for praying. The structure seems to have served dual purpose of a watchtower and a house for prayer.
This lovely Lodi era gem can be easily accessed by the Qutub Minar metro station. The historical gems of times bygone are all there in plain sight,it's just that we have become too busy looking elsewhere. It's time that we paused to look in the right direction and cherish the priceless heritage sitting right in front of us. We Indians should learn to respect and celebrate our rich cultural heritage if we are serious about saving it from decay and anonymity.