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India: Lodi Gardens

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Lodi Gardens | India | Asia

[Visited: January 2015]

After a cup of tea under a tree, we cross the road and enter Lodi Gardens from the south. Delhi is a green city in itself, and this is one of those welcome landscaped spots where you can escape the traffic of the city. We notice several people going for a run here, and families for a stroll. Our focus will be to visit the monuments scattered around Lodi Gardens. The monuments are from the Lodhi era, and one of the few surviving monuments in the world. We start at the Bara Gumbad (Big Dome), which rises from the well-kept lawn, and is a huge gateway to the mosque just behind it. We walk around the building, notice the slender towers at the corners of the building on the west side, and then enter. Inside, a surprisingly empty hall, with sunlight falling in through one of the windows high up on the dome. Being closer, we now realize how richly the gate is decorated, and also how much of the decorations have faded during the past centuries. On the southern side, we stand at a balcony, before moving on.

Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): Trees next to the tomb of Sikander Lodi

Adjacent to Baba Gumbad is the three-domed mosque, which has richly decorated arches giving access to the prayer hall. We take time to have a closer look at the calligraphy above the arches, and then find out that the inside is also very intricately decorated. At the other side of the small courtyard is another, much more basic building, which is where guests could sleep while in the city. Across the lawn stands another proud building: Sheesh Gumbad, or Glass Dome. The closer we get, the more beautiful it appears to be. We see traces of tiles, mostly blue ones, and try to imagine what the building must have looked like once upon a time. Inside, we find several tombs; it is unknown who were buried here. Given the size of the building, it must have been important figures in the Lodhi era. Outside, we chat with a family of Afghans who are in Delhi for medical treatment. It turns out there are quite a few Afghans in the park, and I wonder if this is a coincidence, or is it because the Lodhis were a dynasty from Afghan origin?

Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): Looking across the lake towards Athpula, the eight-piered bridge

We walk to the north side of the park now, past the lovely lake in which lots of ducks swim, towards the Athpura, or eight-piered bridge. At the other side, we find the tomb of Sikander Lodi, a walled enclosure with a park within a park, and right in the middle, the octagonal, single-domed building with three arches on each side. On our way south, we walk past remains of a wall that once marked the outline of the monuments and the settlements that once surrounded them before the area was turned into a park, and the only turret remaining, which was also attached to the wall. There are many more people in the park now; it is a Sunday, and this is probably one of the best places to go in Delhi for a relaxing afternoon. People are playing, singing, having a pick-nick, while we continue to the southwest corner of the park where we find the tomb of Muhammad Shah, surrounded by four straight lines of palm trees. This is the oldest of the monuments of Lodi Gardens, another octagonal building, with stone chajjas on the roof - a Hindu-style addition, as are the lotus-shapes found in the architecture. It is thus more richly decorated than the tomb of Sikander Lodi. Inside, we find surprisingly basic looking tombs, but beautifully carved arched windows, and a ceiling with a colourful calligraphic circle. After all the exploring of Lodi Gardens, we sit down on the west side of the building, and enjoy the warmth of the sun until it sinks behind the palm trees.

Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): The prayer hall of Bada Gumbad mosque
Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): The tomb of Muhammad Shah appears at the end of a palm-tree lined lane
Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): People at the feet of Sheesh Gumbad
Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): Various types of stone used in the tomb of Muhammad Shah
Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): Bada Gumbad has several corner towers
Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): Close-up of Bada Gumbad mosque
Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): Detail of the calligraphic ornament in the cupola of the tomb of Muhammad Shah
Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): Arched detail of the tomb of Muhammad Shah
Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): Sheesh Gumbad seen from below
Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): The cupola of the tomb of Muhammad Shah
Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): Bada Gumbad is the focal point of Lodi Gardens
Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): Pavillions at the southern entrance gate to the tomb of Sikander Lodi
Picture of Lodi Gardens (India): The tomb of Sikander Lodi is surrounded by a wall

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