Delhi Series: Featuring stories, places of visit and pictures from my 3 years living in the capital of India, New Delhi
Image Sources : Online Media
Delhi Series Part 3~ History Walk: Hauz Khas Complex
I lived in New Delhi for 3 years, as a student of History. Each year of my 3 year graduation program we visited a historical place of importance. This post features the Hauz Khas complex
As I write this post, I want to share a picture we took at the Hauz Khas ruins with my classmates
We visited Hauz Khas complex in the month of February. As evident in the group picture all of us in woollies!
Our History cum Heritage Walk
We did not have any history guides at this walk. We started at the entry gate of Deer Park situated near the main gate of Hauz Khas Village. As we entered the complex, we saw the medieval remains of the Delhi Sultanate. We walked around the Hauz Khas/ royal tank that was built as a part of the second city of Delhi by Alauddin khilji.
We took a stroll around the royal tank and witnessed an unusual T-shaped building (called the Assembly Hall). Just beside the Assembly Hall is the mosque of the complex which functioned as a place of prayer. There are other monuments within the complex as well like pavilions that stand scattered about the gardens and tombs of the teachers who taught in the madrasa (Islamic learning centre within the Hauz Khas complex)
We passed through the gardens and ruins to visit the Madarsa built by Firoz Shah, known as Madrasa-e-Firoz Shahi. Followed by the tomb of Firoz Shah, where Firoz Shah Tughlaq himself chose to have his own tomb built at a focal point of this complex.
Hauz Khas Complex is located in Southern part of Delhi. Hauz Khas derived its name from the two Urdu words, ‘Hauz’ meaning ‘water tank’ and ‘khas’ meaning ‘royal’. True to its name, Hauz Khas houses a royal water tank built by Alauddin Khalji (Delhi Sultanate). Along with the that, Hauz Khas complex has tombs of Muslim royalty from the 14th to 16th centuries, a mosque and pavilions with a medieval history traced to the Delhi Sultanate reign. The complex structures are made up of red sandstone and marble.
The large water tank or reservoir was built by Khilji was meant to supply water to the inhabitants of Siri (second medieval town of Delhi Sultanate). It stored water supply during rainy seasons. The lack of maintenance led to silting up of the channels that fed the tanks and it dried up. Thereafter Feroz Shah Tughlaq restored the water supply system to these tanks were restored during his reign.
(There were seven cities of Delhi in medieval times : Indraprastha, Siri Fort, Tughlaqabad, Jahanpanah, Firozabad (now Firoz Shah Kolta), Dinpanah, and Shahjahanabad)
Other then the restoration of the royal tank, Firuz Shah also constructed numerous structures within the Hauz Khas complex. Notable among them is the Firuz Shahi madrasa. The Madrasa was established in 1352 and it became one of the leading institutions of Islamic learning in the Delhi Sultanate, especially after the fall of Baghbad- Delhi became an important site for Islamic learning. The architecture of the madrasa was also splendid. The designed structure was built in L-Shape as one contiguous structure on the south and east edges of the reservoir complex.
There is also a small mosque, main tomb for Firoz Shah and six domed pavilions in the complex. Both the madrasa and mosque overlook the reservoir. From each floor of the madrasa, staircases are provided to go down to the lake. Many cenotaphs are also seen, which are reported to be possibly tombs of teachers of the Madrasa.
Firoz Shah’s tomb is also located within the complex. The tomb’s plain style is faithful to the austerity of much of Tughlaq buildings.
The Hauz Khas village was known in the medieval period for the amazing buildings built around the reservoir that drew a large congregation of Islamic scholars and students to the Madrasa for Islamic education. The present status of the village also retains the very old charm of the place with its aesthetic appeal with green parks, characteristic shops and market-places.
Hauz Khas Today
Currently Hauz Khas village is an upbeat-posh-creative community. It has a plethora of eating areas and fashion and art boutiques.
Social, Kunzum Travel Cafe, Coast Cafe, TLR Cafe, Gunpowder, The Grey Garden, Elma’s Bakery,
Galleries and Boutiques
Delhi Arts Gallery, Bodice, House of Blondie, All Arts
Shows and Events
Hauz Khas boasts of events of many kinds like – light and sound shows, comedy nights, heritage walks, poetry recitals, musicals to name a few
Read about Hauz Khas community here, an article that appeared in the Guardian
- If you would like to go on a heritage tour of Hauz Khas Village. Here is some information
- The Hauz Khas Village complex is open from Monday to Saturday, closed on Sundays
- Timings – 10:30 am and 7:00 pm
- Best time to visit is between October and March when the weather is pleasant
- Activities – Picnic, photo-shoot, strolls, eating, creative pursuits
- No entry fee