Mehrauli Archaeological ParkOne of the hidden jewels in Delhi is Mehrauli Archaeological Park. It is often referred to as only Mehrauli. Bordering the Qutub Minar area, this park is often overlooked by tourists as it is not so famous of Delhi. When you ask an auto rickshaw to take you to this park instead of the Qutub Minar complex, they might find it a bit weird. But the truth is, when you reach this place, it will take you to a different era altogether.
A Brief Sketch of the ParkThe gate opposite to the Qutub Minar metro station starts the campus of Mehrauli Archaeological Park. It is a magnificent resource for mediaeval India. Mehrauli is one of the cities which were initially populated in the eighth century that eventually had to give its way in making the city of Delhi. There are more than 100 structures in Mehrauli Archaeological Park that is spread over an area of approximately 200 acres. The place will take you to a time which spans centuries behind and these remains tell the story which is unbound of any time. The structures here reflect a huge time line and some of them even date back to the time of the Delhi Sultanate time of 1206 to 1526.
Intertwined with HistoryUnderstandably, this is one of the most invaluable pieces to know the history of that period. Mehrauli Archaeological Park will fascinate those who have an interest in history of the Delhi Sultanate Period. It has a lot of legends that unfolds the time with its rag to riches stories. It is one of the few places where you can relieve the stories of Qutubuddin Aibak to Ibrahim Lodi, the last of the Delhi Sultanate Period. You can start your tour with the 13th century Tomb of Ghiyas Ud Din Balban, who was one of the most powerful rulers of the dynasty. You cannot miss the Indo Islamic architectural style in the structure. It opens to the sky and has the walls which are almost ruined today. Just next to it is an elaborate arched gateway that is the Tomb of Balban's son, Khan Sahib. In between these two tombs you will find the remains of 16-17th century human settlement that has the old stones laid.
Even today, in fact, the Archaeological Survey of India keeps on discovering earthen pottery, toys and much more such archaeological items. The Mehrauli Archaeological Park is bound by the Qutub complex in the north and the Chattarpur Road on its East.
While you can see everything from the pre Islamic to the late Mughal period, one of the very interesting facts goes that the first fortification in Delhi was done here by the Tomar Rajputs. The Chauhan rulers who succeeded them extended Lal Kot to form Qila Rai pithora. Qutubuddin Aibak formed the Delhi sultanate in the late twelfth century and made this place as the seat of Sultanate power. You can find many structures such as mosque and tombs that were built here during those years. The successive rulers have continued with the trend of constructing monumental structures. Maulana Jamali who was a 16th century Sufi saint, tomb of Quli Khan, Rajon Ki Baoli, are some of the famous constructions in this place.
During the colonial era, Thomas Metcalfe who is the Commissioner of Delhi in 1840 and 1850s conducted the renovation work of Quli Khan Tomb and it added features like canopies, bridge, guest houses. Today, the park forms a buffer between the Qutub complex and the Mehrauli village and is one of the biggest green places in the city.
What to See?Today, even though it is one of the tourist places in the city, you will find nature staking its way through the ruined cavity. Too many creepers have popped up through the old stone alleys. One of the most maintained monuments of the park is the mosque of Jamali Kamali, a structure that was developed by the followers of the 16th century Sufi saint, Jamali.
The rest of the structures are not as preserved as it should have been. Speaking of Jamali Kamali, this mausoleum has a unique resemblance with the interiors of a jewel box. The front portion of the structure has a beautifully manicured lawn and the other neighboring structures strangely blend with the Victorian and Indo Islamic architectural styles.
There are two stepwells - Rajon ki baoli and Gandhak ki baoli. Although both of them were created about 300 years apart, they have similar sizes and shape. They were designed for the people to take a bath and take a pleasant break from the scorching summer sun. Gandhak Ki Baoli is one of the largest stepwells that you will find in the city and Rajon Ki Baoli comes with grander structure has inscriptions from Holy Quran.
Read more about Agrasen ki Baoli in Delhi
How to Reach, Timing & Entry FeeAddress: Anuvrat Marg Opposite Qutub Minar Metro Station, Mehrauli, New Delhi, Delhi 110030
Qutub Minar metro station on Yellow Line is the closest metro station.
From New Delhi railway station, it is about 46 min (17.8 km) away through Sri Aurobindo Marg.
Buses going towards Andheria More or Lado Sarai are the ones to take which will drop you at Ahima Sthal. Upon walking for about 150 meter towards Gurgaon, along the Mehrauli Gurgaon road.
If you are taking an auto or cab, get off at ‘Jamali Kamali’ (near Lado Sarai), the popular name for the Park.
Timing: 5:00 am to 6:30 pm
Entry fee: free