Clandestine In Delhi

Revealing local legends from hidden monuments, tucked away in unknown corners of the capital. Fascinating stories of sultans, begums, commoners and slaves consigned to oblivion


Tomb of Mohammad Shah, Lodi Garden: An octagonal tomb built of lime and stone whose dome springs from a 16-side drum, this tomb belonged to the third king of the Saiyyid dynasty, Sultan Mohammad Shah who ruled Delhi from 1443-45 CE. Built by his son Alauddin Alam Shah, it is locally known as Mubarak Khan Ka Gumbad. There are many graves inside but the identity of those buried in them is unknown.



Dadi Poti ka Gumbad, Hauz Khas: Built during the Lodi era (1451-1526 CE), this duo of tombs is known both as Dadi Poti ka Gumbad and Biwi Bandi ka Gumbad. According to local lore, a noble lady built the larger tomb for herself and the smaller one either for her poti (granddaughter) or bandi (serving lady and friend).



Chor Minar, Hauz Khas: This 13th-century minaret was built by Alauddin Khilji to strike fear in the hearts of the masses. As per legend, the 225 holes in the tower were used to exhibit the severed heads of thieves.



Jami Masjid, Firoz Shah Kotla: The mosque, built in 1354 CE, was so grand that Timur ordered a similar one to be made in Samarqand. Today not much of it remains. The entrance door of the mosque faces north, as the Yamuna flows very close to its eastern walls. Prayers are offered here daily until today.


---With inputs by Suchismita Ukil and Blessy Augustine

From the book The Forgotten Cities of Delhi, written by Rana Safvi, photographs by Syed Mohammad Qasim published by HarperCollins India