Don’t be fooled by the posh, extrinsic masquerade of one of the most sought after areas of Delhi. Notwithstanding the high flying gentry visiting the plushest restaurants and shopping arcades here, the oldest part of the capital city, Mehrauli, still holds the historical chapters within its periphery. Feel a ‘time-machine’ like experience as you walk through multiple layers of history that coexist peacefully in this jumbled-up mass of narrow streets, bazaars, monuments layered with modernesque exterior. Here’s a look see of everything that forms the essence of Mehrauli.
Mehrauli, as described in various recorded chapters of Delhi history, is surely the oldest, continuously inhabited area of our glorious city. Mehrauli is distinguished by its historical past and showcases exquisite monuments and architectural insights. A tryst with ancient royalty, a melting-pot of cultures and Sufi mystic masters, Mehrauli, has been able to sustain itself over more than a 1000 years!
Mehrauli is the site of a plethora of monuments, with historians claiming that nearly 250 buildings of architectural, historical & cultural importance dot this area. So much so that a sense of history and legend pervades every lane, house & brick, for here have lived kings, sultans, generals, warriors, Sufi saints and even the British officers till the early 20th Century.
According to a 12th Century Jain Scripture, Mehrauli was called as ‘Yogninipura’ and this is apparent to the presence of the famous ‘Yogmaya Temple’ believed to have been built by the Pandavas of the Mahabharata era and is currently situated near the Qutub Minar Complex.
The area surrounding the Qutb Complex, which projects into the rocky outspur of the Delhi Ridge, is scattered with ruins of more than a hundred monuments, consisting of tombs, pleasure palaces, mosques, dargahs and step wells.
The Qutub Minar, along with the other structures of the complex, forms one of Delhi’s prime tourist attractions.
To explore Mehrauli, it is best to start with the Mehrauli Archaeological Park, which is located in the shadows of the towering Qutub Minar.
The Tomb of Quli Khan has been restored to its former glory, and can be considered as one of the most stunning tombs of Delhi.
Jamali–Kamali Mosque. The mosque doubles up as a dargah and contains the twin burial chambers of 2 saints Jamali and Kamali.
Azim Khan’s tomb, located on a small hillock, overlooking the Delhi–Mehrauli road. The square tomb, dates back to the days of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar.
The Mausoleum or Dargah of Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki who was a 13th Century Sufi Saint, is also a venue for the ‘Phoolwalon-Ki-Sair’ Festival houses the graves of Mughal Emperors; Bahadur Shah I, Shah Alam II, and Akbar II.
Rajon ki baoli served as a residence of the mason during the early 20th century, but the water in the Rajon ki baoli has long dried up and has come to be known as the sukha baoli or the dry well.
Gandhak ki baoli was constructed during the reign of Sultan Samshuddin Iltutmish.
The tomb of Adham Khan towering over the bus terminus, is a massive octagonal tomb of Adham Khan overlooks the crowded streets of Mehrauli in South Delhi.
The Zafar Mahal served as a summer palace for the royals and also served as a resting place for the royals during their visit to the dargah.
Moti Masjid’s entrance of the dargah is locked by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which has also declared Zafar Mahal and Moti Masjid as protected monuments.
The U–shaped Jahaz Mahal was surrounded by a moat, which dried up. Famous for its chhatris decorated with glazed blue tiles, 5 of the 6 survived.
Lavaash by Saby, at Ambavatta Complex, is Where Armenia meets Calcutta. Quaint cafe & bar serving Georgian- Armenian Cuisine’ is ‘Cuisine Of The Year’ by New York Times.
Dramz at K.D Marg near Qutub Minar, is a perfect combination of food and culture! You can enjoy a perfect meal option from European, Oriental and Anglo-indian cuisines.
Intricate preparations, unique textures and balanced flavours make Qla a dream place to dine, straight out of a European Bistro at Seven Style Mile.
Thai High– Fairy lights and city views provide a romantic atmosphere for Thai cooking at this stylish spot at Ambawatta Complex.
Bo Tai is a Modern Thai Bar & Grill concept and is a perfect blend of cosmopolitan Italian design with the vibrance of Thai hues.
The Grammar Room is a Coffee and cocktails all-day café nestled amidst the charming Mehrauli ridge.
High On Style…. & Shopping!
With The Kila, Qutab Garden, Ambawatta One and Qutub Boulevard all located here, the Mehrauli neighbourhood has become a shopper’s favourite. From Sabyasachi to Manish Malhotra, there are enough options to satisfy the sartorial desires of every bride-to-be and her family. Here are some new must-visit designer stores that have set up shop in Mehrauli recently:
Ambawatta Complex features designers as Manish malhotra, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Anjalee and Arjun Kapoor, Gauri & Nainika, Divya Gupta, Aza- western wear comprises labels like Arjun Saluja, Kanika Goyal, Dhruv Kapoor and Dev R Nil, and Indian pret boasts names like Masaba Gupta, Ilk, Nikhil Thampi, and Bloni, to name a few.
Tarun Tahiliani, Payal Singhal, Varun Bahl, Rahul Mishra add to the plushness of Qutub Minar Complex Road, Kalka Das Marg.
The Kila – 9 Indian designer stores , 1 Multi designer with 60 brands & a modern European restaurant all under the magnificent Qutub! Shop Anamika Khanna, Ritu Kumar, House of Masaba, Ridhi Mehra, Namrata Joshipura, Pankaj & Nidhi, Rabani & Rakha & Ranna Gill.
Mehrauli Ke Bazaar Mein….
Add zing to your step as you pick up raw tobacco for a Hookah/Sheesha or buy a new sharpened hunter’s knife from one of the shops in the colorful Mehrauli bazaars.