If you’ve been in Delhi for years and never made time for a visit to Lodi Garden, do it now. And if you’re new to the city, plan a visit soon. Situated near Khan Market, Lodi Garden houses the tombs of Mohammad Shah, the last of the Sayyid dynasty rulers, the tomb of Sikander Lodi, the second ruler of the Lodi dynasty who ruled from 1489 to 1517, Bada Gumbad and Sheesh Gumbad.
The monuments were built during the Sayyid and Lodi dynasties, during which they were surrounded by villages. The garden was built much later and was landscaped by Lady Willingdon. It was named ‘Lodi Garden’ after independence. The site is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The tombs and stone structures are surrounded by lush green and one can find over 25 species of birds here. I spotted swifts, mynas, crows, pigeons, doves, hawks, ducks, swans and parrots…and Lovebirds!!!
Lodi garden is open from 6 am to 8 pm. You can take the metro to either Khan Market (Violet Line) or Jorbagh (Yellow Line) and take an auto rickshaw till here. Or just drive down, there’s free parking here.
On entering the garden complex from the gate facing the Jorbagh post-office, the first structure you see is the Bada Gumbad (or the Big Dome).
The Bada Gumbad complex comprises a stone structure adjoining a three-domed mosque. The complex is said to have been built during the reign of Sikander Lodi in 1494. Many believe that the Bada Gumbad was built as a gateway to the mosque, but it is actually a tomb.
A steep narrow stairway leads to the terrace of the structure opposite the mosque. Entry to this place is prohibited. However, no sign board had been placed there.
I managed to squeeze into the stairway and climb all the way up to the terrace take a picture of the Sheesh Gumbad, which stands right in front of the Bada Gumbad. Seconds later, a guard blew his whistle, signalling me to come down.
The mosque walls and ceilings are rich in Arabesque decoration, floral paintings and geometrical designs.
The long hall in front of the mosque was built as a Mihman Khana or guest house.
Sheesh Gumbad is also a tomb. It is unknown who was buried in Bada Gumbad and Sheesh Gumbad. Sheesh Gumbad is similar in structure to Bada Gumbad, but smaller in size. It gets its name from the blue ceramic tiles that once decorated its walls. It means 'glass dome'.
Inside Sheesh Gumbad, a couple stands, perhaps enjoying few moments of peace and quiet.
The battlement that houses the tomb of Sikander Lodi. The tomb lies adjacent to a lake. These two boys were practising bowling.
The lake is actually the watercourse of the Yamuna river. The two sides of the lake are joined by Athpula, believed to be the last structure constructed in Delhi by Mughal emperor Akbar.
A closer look at Sikander Lodhi's tomb. It is an octagonal structure surrounded by a garden enclosed within a battlement.
The Tomb of Sikander Lodi. The tomb was built by his son Ibrahim Lodi in 1517.
This guy was lying in this position for a good five minutes. I realised much later that he was exercising.