Sunday, October 19, 2008

firozshah kotla

surely a fifty years back it would have been a splendid place for a picnic. things have changed since then, so has the concept of a picnic. what else could have one asked for than a vast open area, with some old monuments scattered here and there. a jami masjid to pray for the peace of mind and soul. and if things go too hot you find nice shade of trees in the well maintained lawns. kids can run around while the grown ups can play badminton. enough space for playing hide and seek. no scarcity of water as there is a nice baoli in the complex. though some say it's haunted but who knows. one can admire the ashokan pillar for it's size and sheen. how did that guy dare make such structutres so many hundred years back. the pillars haven't yet lost it's shine or is it a dull version which amazes us. but as i said picnics are no more in vogue. people prefer spending the sundays in a mall or watching a movie. things have changed. all you can find now in these monuments are couples who can't find solace anywhere else. they are desperate to be with each other and if luck strikes would like to go a step beyond a casual embrace. thats what you see over here. no more picnics. no more appreciation. no more of the kids playing. only hollow walls providing space for a few couples to embrace each other. i still hope to see a family picnic maybe sometime in yet another visit.

heart of darkness

i don't claim to have seen every other monument in town, yet i have seen a quite a few of them. did i know this sunday morning what was in store for me. never knew that the day was meant to discover yet another monument. something about which i have often read but have been before. was lazy enough to try and look beyond the bushes on the road connecting andheria mod to mahipalpur.
thanks to friend of mine who is a great reference point when it comes to history. i guess she knows it all or else just through a question and surely she will dig through the book for the relevant answer. and today she decided to show me around a monument i had never visited. and thats where the she got the idea to go south of mehrauli towards sultan ghari a bit off the main road leading to mahipalpur lies the beautiful complex of sultan ghari masjid.

It was built in 1231 by Iltutmish over the remains of his eldest son and heir-apparent, prince Nasiru'd-Din Mahmud. it's a walled enclosure giving a faint resemblance to a small fortress. one can see the hindu influence or maybe the pillars picked from some earlier hindu establishment. as we enter in the middle is an octagonal raised platform and somewhere in it's heart a few steps below is the actual grave chamber under the ground.

one can walk down the steps just need to be careful about the low entrance. once inside it takes a while to acclimatise to the darkness inside. the only source of light is a bit of light filtered from the little door and the small lamps lit around the grave, a few candles melting it's way off. but the moment your eyes get used to the darkness, the inside is so beautiful.

i think darkness always attracts me and exactly this is what happened. after a while i realised that i hadn't seen the ground level of the structure. took the steps back to light. probably this was one of the few structures of it's time to have use of marble in it's construction. to emphasise on certain parts of the monument marble had been used and intricate work can be seen on them rest remains of red sandstone.

one can see an octagonal structure with a false dome inside. the carvings where very basic in the dome but resembled hindu architecture.

the place is peaceful non-touristy, no non-sense. even the bird baths were empty and no birds to found nearby or did i scare them away. whatever it maybe, we thought of taking a walk around the mosque, had to wade through thick outgrowth of bushes all around to reach the ruins which where probably some residential settlements.

my friend knew about an extremely interesting short stone pillar over there somewhere among the bushes, it took us a few minutes to hunt for it but it was worth a picture, this had inscriptions which looked really out of place. did look like the grand dad of hindi. who knows what it was, maybe prakrit script.

there is so much more to the place than we see, hope one day i'll come to know the secrets. high time for me to put my pen down. maybe one day i'll write a sequel as and when i unfold the mysteries of the pillar and understand more about the darkness of the heart of the masjid.