Photo gallery: A walk through Mehrauli Archaeological Park
Next time you plan a visit to the Qutub Minar, venture beyond its crowded complex. Walk past the parking lot, which is on your left, and take the first right turn. Next to the Qutub Restaurant is an obscured path. Take the path, walk down a few steps and this is what you see:
You are inside the Mehrauli Archaeological Park, located in what was once the first of the seven historic cities of Delhi, dating back about a thousand years. The first structure (see below) is the Metcalfe House, which was once a tomb. Thomas Metcalfe was an agent of the Governor General of India to the court of Bahadur Shah Zafar, India’s last Mughal emperor.
As you move on, you’d find columns to your left and right, guiding you to several structures in this area. This also is a Delhi Development Authority park. Next stop is the Jamali Kamali mosque.
While clicking this monument, I tried to use the sun in the frame, since the sky was dull. And thankfully, these security guards walked in and added some life to my frame.
There’s no dearth of baolis (step wells) in northern India. Below is a picture of Rajon ki baoli, apparently built for masons. Next to it is a mosque. I decided to shoot a silhouette.
Here’s another baoli called Gandhak ki baoli, towards the exit of this park. This one is smaller, and closed for visits. But the security guard was kind enough to let me in for a picture.
There’s another entrance to this park. If you skip the right turn that you took in the beginning, and walk until the end of the road, to your right is a florist. There’s an entrance right there. Incidentally, I missed that one and walked to another gate, few metres away. Balban’s tomb (from the Mamluk, or slave dynasty) was the first structure that caught my eye.
Even if you’re not a history buff or an explorer, the park is a perfect place for being by yourself or enjoying a romantic evening.
You can also hear Sufi Muslims singing qawwali music at the Bakhtiyar Kaki’s dargah, a few metres away from the Rajon Ki baoli. The singers begin performing around 6 p.m. daily.
Finally, before you hop over to those high-end bars of Mehrauli, you should go next door to the Qutub Minar. Yes, at 7.p.m. Not many people know it, but the grounds are open between 7 and 9 p.m.. Photo enthusiasts, leave your tripod behind. The security guards will not let you bring them in.
(You can see more photography by Ankush on his Facebook page.)