LODI GARDEN

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Location: Delhi
Houses: Lodi Tomb, Muhammad Shah's Tomb
Previously Known As: Lady Willingdon ParkGarden
Main Attractions: Tombs Of Lodi And Sayyid Kings And The National Bonsai Park

The beautiful and serene Lodi Garden was designed over two dynasties by the Sayyids and Lodis in the 15-16th century. The park works as a breather from the hustle and bustle of the city, especially in the early mornings and early evenings, when fitness enthusiasts come for brisk walks or to jog through the manicured gardens against a backdrop of much-graffitied medieval monuments

During the British times the garden went under the monitoring of Lady Willingdon Park but all that stopped after India gained its Independence and the park was reverted back to being the good old Lodi garden. In 1968, the gardens were spruced and relandscaped by JA Stein and Garrett Eckbo. Travel Guide to Delhi - -Lodi Garden

Enclosing History
The gardens are also enclosing several tombs belonging to the Lodi and Sayyid era. One can climb to the top of some of them too but the steps are very steep and dark so it's strictly not recommended.

Muhammad Shah's Tomb
There exist several monuments of the Sayyid and Lodi periods in the heart of Lodi Gardens. The tomb of Muhammad Shah (1434-44), the third ruler of Sayyid dynasty, follows the typical octagonal pattern, with a central octagonal chamber, surrounded by verandahs, each side pierced by three arched openings, with a running 'chhajja' above them. A sloping buttress occupies each angle of the structure.

On the roof over the centre of each side is a chhatri, with its dome repeating the outline of the large central dome rising majestically form a sixteen-sided drum, with a turret at each corner. From the drum of the dome rises another series of turrets behind the corner-turrets. The domes are crowned by a sprawling lotus, the other members above them now missing. The ceiling of the dome is decorated.

Each side of the chamber has a beam and lintel doorway, although the main entrance is on the south. The openings of the doorways, as also of the outer verandah, were originally on the west was later fully walled, so that it could serve as a mosque. There are eight graves inside, the central one among which is believed to be that of Muhammad Shah.

The general features of this tomb correspond with its precusor, Mubarak Shah's tomb, but with its compactness on plan, high dome and matching chhatris - in short, with its better proportions-it is more pleasing.

The beautiful and serene Lodi Garden was designed over two dynasties by the Sayyids and Lodis in the 15-16th century. The park is works as a breather from the hustle and bustle of the city, especially in the early mornings and early evenings, when fitness enthusiasts come for brisk walks or to jog through the manicured gardens against a backdrop of much-graffitied medieval monuments

During the British times the garden went under the monitoring of Lady Willingdon Park but all that stopped after India gain its Independence and the park was reverted back to being the good old Lodi garden. In 1968, the gardens were spruced and relandscaped by JA Stein and Garrett Eckbo.

Enclosing History
The gardens are also enclosing several tombs belonging to the Lodi and Sayyid era. One can climb to the top of some of them too but the steps are very steep and dark so it's strictly not recommended.

Muhammad Shah's Tomb
There exist several monuments of the Sayyid and Lodi periods in the heart of Lodi Gardens. The tomb of Muhammad Shah (1434-44), the third ruler of Sayyid dynasty, follows the typical octagonal pattern, with a central octagonal chamber, surrounded by verandahs, each side pierced by three arched openings, with a running chhajja above them. A sloping buttress occupies each angle of the structure.

On the roof over the centre of each side is a 'chhatri', with its dome repeating the outline of the large central dome rising majestically form a sixteen-sided drum, with a turret at each corner. From the drum of the dome rises another series of turrets behind the corner-turrets. The domes are crowned by a sprawling lotus, the other members above them now missing. The ceiling of the dome is decorated.

Each side of the chamber has a beam and lintel doorway, although the main entrance is on the south. The openings of the doorways, as also of the outer verandah, were originally on the west was later fully walled, so that it could serve as a mosque. There are eight graves inside, the central one among which is believed to be that of Muhammad Shah.

The general features of this tomb correspond with its precusor, Mubarak Shah's tomb, but with its compactness on plan, high dome and matching chhatris - in short, with its better proportions-it is more pleasing.

Bara-Gumbad-Masjid
About 300m northeast of Muhammad Shah's tomb described above lies the Bara-Gumbad, a square tomb with an imposing dome, turrets on corners and facades possessing a semblance of being double-storeyed. Arches and bracket-and-lintel beams are both used as spans here.

On the interior, it is ornamented with stucco work and painting, while on the outside the monotony of grey stone is relieved by the use of red and black stones. The person lying buried in it is not identified, but obviously he must have been an officer of high rank during Sikandar Lodi's reign.

Adjoining the Bara-Gumbad on the west is the mosque, known as the Bara-Gumbad mosque, which appears to have been erected as an adjunct to the tomb. Built with ashlar stone, the front of its rectangular prayer-hall is faced by five arched openings, the central one sited in a projecting frame.

Over the arches runs a chhajja. The three central bays of the hall are surmounted by low domes, the end-bays being covered by flat roofs. Oriel windows projecting on its north, south and on the west from the back of the minhrab bay, are features, which distinguish the early Mughal mosques. The rear corners and the side of the minhrab-projection are occupied by tapering minarets in the Tughluq style but seem to anticipate the octagonal towers of the early Mughal and Sur periods.

The mosque is profusely ornamented with coloured tiles and with foliage and Quranic inscriptions wrought in incised and painted plaster. The raised platform in the centre of its courtyard is believed to have contained the grave of its builder, but is more likely to be a small tank for ablution of those offering prayers.

The mosque was built in 900 A.H. (1494) during the reign of Sikandar Lodi, as seen from the inscription over the southern minhrab. It occupies an important place in the development of the Mughal mosque. The dominating position of the Bara-Gumbad and the present absence of a grave inside it has misled some scholars to believe that it was raised as a gateway to the mosque. The long hall in front of the prayer-hall appears to have been raised at a later date as a 'Mihman-Khana' or guesthouse.

Shish-Gumbad
Shish-Gumbad lies about 50m north of the Bara-Gumbad-Masjid. Architecturally, it follows the usual pattern of square Lodi tombs with a 'double-storeyed' appearance, and is not much different from the description of Bara-Gumbad.

Its western wall contains a minhrab, which served as a mosque, but the other sides have a central entrance set in a projecting frame. The minhrab-projection at the rear and the portion of walls below the stringcourse are built with alternating narrow and wide courses of stones. Panels of recessed niches run above and below the stringcourse, the upper ones being pierced by small openings. Inside, the ceiling is decorated with incised plaster-work containing floral patterns and Koranic inscriptions.

Originally, the tomb was richly decorated with blue tiles, forming friezes below the cornice and the stringcourse and a border around the horizontal panel above the central entrance on the facades. This decoration, now surviving in traces, gave it its Persian name meaning a ' glazed dome'.

It is not known who lies buried in this tomb, although there exist several graves inside it. It was however, obviously built during the Lodi period, perhaps during Sikandar Lodi's reign.

Sikandar Lodi's Tomb
This tomb lies about 250m north of the Shish-Gumbad on the northwestern corner of the Lodi Gardens. It is an octagonal tomb, like those of Mubarak Shah and Muhammad Shah, with a central octagonal chamber, surrounded by verandah, with each side pierced by three arches and the angles occupied by sloping buttresses. The chhatris over its roof have disappeared.

The mausoleum is surrounded by a square garden, enclosed within high walls, with a wall-mosque on the west, and a gateway with outwork on the south, which impart it a dignified setting.

Athpula
A little to the east of Sikandar Lodi's tomb lies a bridge with seven arches, their span decreasing from the centre to the bank of the streamlet over which it was built. The word pula obviously does not refer to the 'openings', but to piers, of which there are eight ('ath') in this bridge.

Several such bridges were built during the Mughal times, and at least two others are known in and around Delhi. The Athpula is believed to have been built during Akbar's reign by one Nawab Bahadur.

The National Bonsai Park
The gardens also contain the National Bonsai Park, which has a fine selection of extremely small trees. The best time to come over here is at sunset, when the light is soft and the tombs are all lit up.

Timing: Daily 5am-8pm



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