Friday, 19 August 2016

Wazipur monument complex

Well, well, well, so 2 days ago a talk and tour popped up on Facebook, it jumped out at me as its just across the road as you leave Vasant Vihar. To my great surprise I saw there was a baoli just 1 mile away from where I live and apparently a cluster of lodi era tombs. Now I pass by the area everytime I leave the house, how did I not know this was here. Of course I had to go and investigate! In my defense you would have never known there was anything here, hidden behind RK Puram flats and a small well kept park, we even missed the turning off and reversed a short distance backwards along the main road, yes...I shrivelled in embarrassment ....again!

Nestled in amongst the area and sandwiched between the sikh temple, Gurudwara Sri Guru Nanak Sabha and the Hindu temple, Sri Doothnath Mahadev Mandir, you enter through iron gates next to the Gurudwara. The area opens up into a small grassy, well kept park, home to 5 lodi era tombs (1451-1526) 2 wall mosques, a stepwell and a grave platform, quite a lot to keep hidden! Sadly though all unnamed and with no knowledge of who they were built for.

To the left sits the 5 tombs and a large walled mosque 'qibla' and to the right you come immediately upon a well preserved, albeit small baoli/stepwell. Just 2 tiers in height, with 2 towers/turrets at one end and steps down to the bottom at the other. My vertigo behaved itself today and I was able to walk along the ledge to the end and look down into the well at the far end, now home to numerous well fed pigeons, no smell of bats though which made a pleasant change to many explorings. Stretching out from the left hand turret is a drainage rill. To the right of the baoli, butted right up against its walls, is a small slum area and what, by the signs and noise of much chatter, appeared to be a school.

Sitting just behind the baoli and in the corner of the site is a small walled mosque/qibla. This has much decoration adorning it (as well sadly as modern day graffiti) This qibla has 5 mihrabs (niches) and appears to be in a good state of repair.

Moving anti clockwise there is then a raised grave platform, with an unknown grave atop and next to that a simple round well, thankfully covered by a grill and a meeting point for the many pigeons it seemed.

Back up across the grass to where we started, sitting behind the gurudwara, is quite a large rubble masonary walled mosque, with many mihrabs but very little decoration.

In front of this mosque sits the 5 unknown tombs. The first sitting slightly to the rear is a small tomb sitting on ground level with arabic inscriptions and motifs. Next are a cluster of 3 domed tombs, 2 large and one small sitting in front all sharing the same plinth. and finally a smaller tomb which sits on its own plinth. This has a grave inside which appears to be in use for some form of worship. In researching I read that this tomb was home to a family as late as 2014. However today, apart from the signs of worship and a couple of chairs and litter, it didn't appear to be habitated, although there were a few locals sitting around outside of it, so who knows!

The ASI have spent some time and effort on the restoration of this site and much concrete is visible, however the tombs are still showing signs of large cracks, but after more than 500 years we can't be surprised.

Since reading and researching about this complex I have found that in 2014 the baoli was adopted by a nearby school, thanks to the research into Delhis baolis by one of their students, who has also written a book on them The area in South Delhi is home to numerous grand tombs from the lodi period was, until quite recently, covered with a few scattered villages and scrubland, now however with new colonies, villages and slum areas being built in modern times, the tombs and mosques and Lodi history has been swallowed by the urbanization, no wonder you miss them. I am so pleased to have heard about these this week and of course after much research I've found another 8 nearby to investigate.....

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