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Monuments of Green Park, Delhi

Monuments of Green Park, Delhi

Exploring beyond Hauz Khas Park

Delhi is literally littered with monuments. Tombs and mosque with crumbling domes and minerates can be found in the most unlikely of places including municipality parks and traffic islands.

William Dalrymple, The Last Mughal
…. of the great cities of the world, only Rome, Istambul and Cairo can even begin to rival Delhi for the sheer volume and density of historic remains.

Green Park, an upscale affluent neighborhood in South Delhi is the most unlikely place for historical ruins. Interestingly this posh Delhi neighborhood houses as many as 5 archaeological sites protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Collage of monuments of Green Park, Delhi

Collage of monuments of Green Park, Delhi
Top row left to right: Dadi Poti ki Gambud and Biran ka Gambud
Bottom row left to right: Bara Khamba, Chhoti Gumti and Sakri Gumti

These five medieval monuments share space with high rises and bungalow-like apartments of a posh Delhi locality. All the five sites are located within walking distance and can be combined with a visit to the nearby Hauz Khas Park, housing a medieval tank and several other monuments.

Dadi Poti’s Tomb (Google map location): Delhi has an assortment of tombs dedicated to the oddest of persons. They Include nurses and even barbers (Also see: Barber’s Tomb). Green Park also has its share of unusual tombs dedicated to grandmother and granddaughter. Known as the Dai Poti’s Tomb but no one knows who these ladies were.

Dadi Poti's Tomb, Green Park, Delhi

Dadi Poti’s Tomb, Green Park, Delhi

The complex houses two tombs of different sizes. The smaller (poti or granddaughter) dome, with its sloping walls and lantern on the dome, is probably from the Tughlaq period (1321–1414) while the larger (dadi or grandmother) is an obvious Lodi (1451–1526) building. Interestingly the granddaughter’s tomb predates the tomb of the grandmother.

The tombs are also sometimes referred to as the Bibi-Baandi ka Gumbad, literally, mistress-maid tombs. The larger tomb has seven graves while the smaller one is empty.

Bara Khamba (Google map location): Located west of the Dadi Poti’s Tomb and on the other side of the road.  Bara Khamba, literally means twelve pillars, is a domed structure supported by 12 pillars. Although this building is a tomb, no cenotaphs remain inside it but you can still see a number of gravestones outside the Barakhamba.

Bara Khamba, Green Park, Delhi

Bara Khamba, Green Park, Delhi

There are other interesting constructions around the building – a now dry well, a curious bastion-like structure, and a square block-like. The building probably belongs to the Lodi period (1451–1526).

Sakri Gumti (Google map location): Located opposite Bara Khamba. Sakri Gumti, literally means narrow dome and indeed it is a narrow building topped with a dome. The structure was probably built in the late 15th century that is most likely to be a gateway to some complex that has since been lost.

Sakri Gumti, Green Park, Delhi

Sakri Gumti, Green Park, Delhi

A broken half-wall that runs along the eastern side of the building, was it part of the complex wall? with no concrete proof, the puzzle remains unsolved.

Chhoti Gumti (Google map location): Located west of Sakri Gumti and is separated by a road. Chhoti literally means small but the structure does have a large dome. Chhoti or small probably referred to the short walls of the structure, which gives it an unusual look.

Choti Gumti, Green Park, Delhi

Chhoti Gumti, Green Park, Delhi

The Chhoti Gumti is a tomb (there is a grave inside), but there is no historical record of the person buried inside and no inscriptions that offer a clue. The structure is from the Lodhi period. It contains plastered exterior with decorated arches and niches; there are ornamental battlements around the base of the dome

Biran ka Gumbad (Google map location): Travel north along the road separating the Sakri Gomti and Chooti Gumti. Biran ka Gumbad will be on the right next to an overhead tank. The entrance is on the east and difficult to find. The locals will guide better than google map.

Biran ka Gambud, Green Park, Delhi

Biran ka Gumbad, Green Park, Delhi

Biran ka Gumbad literally translate into tomb of the brother and can be an extension of the Dai poti lineage. The structure consists of a high-ceilinged single chamber, the exterior is decorated with arched niches arranged in rows that give it the appearance of a double-storeyed structure. Architectural evidence suggests that it belonged to the Lodhi period.

Necessary Information: The five tombs mentioned are best reached by Dehi Metro. Green Park (Yellow line) and Hauz Khas (Yellow & Magenta line) are the nearest metro stations. They can be covered on foot and the trip can be extended to the Hauz Khas Park.

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