Delhi is one of the great Indian cities, up there with Mumbai, Chennai, Jaipur etc. The Hauz Khas complex is the epitome of the city’s fine heritage. It’s one of the most splendid legacies of the 13th century sultanate that helped Delhi take its first step in evolving into a major South Asian conurbation. On the premises are an attractive emerald reservoir (which is what the complex is named after), a domed, L-shaped madrasa Islamic school dating back to the 1350s, various pavilions and a surrounding residential zone boasting high-end bistros, shops, museums and art galleries.
By far the finest building here is the Tomb of Firuz Shah (1351-1388), a great Muslim monarch who encouraged integration with Hindus by marrying one, abolished unfair taxes and stamped out corruption. The tomb itself is distinguished by a gorgeous octagonal dome which is visible from afar. Typical Tuglaq-era steps, crenellations and Quranic inscriptions add a touch of elegance to the place. The sublime sparkle of the exterior can be ascribed to the use of quartz and surface varnish in the building process. Firuz Shah occupies one of four graves inside the tomb – the others house his male descendents.
A unique sight here is the differently-shaped steles that are scattered around the premises. These mark the graves of important individuals in the history of the madrasa and exude a peaceful, restful ambience.
Anthony Welsh, an academic at the University of Victoria, has called Hauz Khas I ‘the finest spot in Delhi’ due to its rich Islamic history and architectural beauty. The village surrounding it is now a plush residential zone and relatively expensive tourist-cum-commercial area with numerous art galleries, upscale boutiques. This is a legacy of its role in the Middle Ages as a centre of learning, music and theatre.
The complex’s opening hours are daily 10a.m. to 6p.m.
© 2011 Abiyoyo SL