Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex

Tripoto
Photo of by Anjali Chawla
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 1/16 by Anjali Chawla
Steps  leading to Madrasa
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 2/16 by Anjali Chawla
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 3/16 by Anjali Chawla
The Madrasa overlooking the lake and the Mosque behind it
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 4/16 by Anjali Chawla
The mosque as clicked from the tank level
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 5/16 by Anjali Chawla
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 6/16 by Anjali Chawla
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 7/16 by Anjali Chawla
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 8/16 by Anjali Chawla
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 9/16 by Anjali Chawla
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 10/16 by Anjali Chawla
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 11/16 by Anjali Chawla
The tomb of Firoz Shah Tughlaq
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 12/16 by Anjali Chawla
Pavilions adjoining the courtyard
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 13/16 by Anjali Chawla
The three pavilions inside the tomb enclosure
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 14/16 by Anjali Chawla
Hauz Khas Ruins
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 15/16 by Anjali Chawla
Photo of Ramble In The Ruins - Hauz Khas Complex 16/16 by Anjali Chawla

Whilst being an illiterate himself, the second Khalji ruler, Alauddin endured to remodel Delhi into a centre of intelligence and art. He hired and invited the most notable and talented men of his era from Asia and Africa in his court viz. Amir Khusroe (poet), Kabir-ud-din (historian), Ruknuddin (theologians) and many more thus making his court into the retreat of the educated and talented. He was an ardent supporter of Nizamuddin Auliya(sufi saint).

Alauddin founded the city of Siri in 14th century where he encountered Mongols who attempted to invade his capital. He also built a huge tank (hauz in Persian) that was named as Hauz-e-Alai, to supply water to the city of Siri. With passage of time, the waterways that supplied the hauz clogged and the tank dried up.

Firoz Shah Tughlaq, the master of architecture and buidings, restored the deserted hauz and then was renamed as Hauz-Khas (royal tank). Tuglaq also bulit a new bastion at Ferozabad Yamuna bank.

Just like Alauddin, Tuglaq too exhibited enthusiasm for educational development and thus, built the Madrasa-e-Firoz Shahi or ‘College of Firoz Shah’, which was a prime institution of higher education, supplied by the sultan himself. One can traverse through the ruins of the madrasa buildings organized in L shape. Staircase takes down from the madrasa to the hauz or tank. The madrasa, at the outset, had a beautiful garden with trees encumbered with flowers and fruits.

Firoz Shah Tuglaq selected Hauz Khas Complex as his burial place gives much importance to the area. He built his tomb along with the construction of madrasa. The tomb stands at the intersection of the two arms of the madrasa buildings and the cap of its arcade is the apical point of the integrated complex. It's a stuccoed rubble built tomb. The base of the arcade is encircled by kanguras that are ceremonial patterns that look like parapets but are closely decorative. The stone railing outside the tomb is now in ruins but looks impressive. Unlike other sultanate structures; it’s quite evocative of a Buddhist stupa. Hindu-Buddhist architecture can be justified by the Qaraunah Turks ( those born from Hindu mothers & Turkish fathers) identity of Tuglaq .

Insides of tomb are extravagantly adorned with star motif integumenting a portion of roof, painted in red and blue colors. The marble sculpted cenotaph in the centre is Firoz Shah Tuglaq's grave and the other two cenotaphs are allegedly those of his son and grandson. Outside, there’s an engraving which notifies the renovations being done during Emperor Sikandar Lodi's rule in 16th century.

The structures extending on both sides of the tomb were supposedly the quarters and study halls of the madrasa. There are numerous structures erected around the lawns; mostly tombs that probably entomb the teachers of madrasa. The two of them in the complex don't look like tombs, possibly,they were part of a larger building.

An odd T-shaped building in the madrasa gardens comprises of a arcade hall. All the sides of the hall are made of stone and capped with domes. No one is certain about the objective of this hall. Some say it was a tomb, although no evidence of it. It could have been a meeting place or assembly hall, is somewhat believable and reasonable assumption. After the recession of Tughlaq dynasty, the place was used as a condo by villagers.

While traversing towards Tughlaq’s Tomb from the entrance gate of the Hauz Khas Complex, one of the first structures on the right side is the mosque. It might have been constructed for teachers and students residing in the madrasa. Unusually and oddly, the western wall known as Quibla or Mihrab (direction of the Mecca used as a direction of prayer by Muslims) of this mosque has notable ornamental windows that command a view of the tank, Hauz Khas. Normally, the western wall of mosques have no opening and less of ornamentation. The decaying flight of stairs take down to the lower level of madrasa with a view of tank and tiny cubicles row one side of the alleyway.

The Munda Gumbad or Bald Dome is an ordinary and simple structure with arched doorways on 4 sides which once acquired the centre of the huge hauz. A flight of steps take one to the top which boasts of an amazing view of the Hauz Khas Complex.

A walking trail and voluminous garden encapsulates the Hauz Khas Complex making it a serene and peaceful place. Throughout winter and early spring, birds, both resident and migratory, flock at the hauz.

Lake with partly submerged dead trees, upside-down boats and ducks swimming calmly; looks beautiful especially during sunset. Youngsters (usually couples) and families with kids huddle here (more so during weekends) heedless of the royal historical ruins that besiege them.

Today, In the centre of one of the major posh locality which is a home to numerous luxurious fashion boutiques, clinquant designer showrooms, magnificent antique shops, expensive and upscale restaurants and pubs; lies the imposing massive ruins of Hauz Khas; scattered and overshadowed, still surviving or rather I would say thriving endorsing Tuglaq era's zenith.