New and South Delhi, India (2013, 2016, 2018, and 2019)

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Safdarjang′s Tomb, New Delhi (2019):

Built in the mid-18th century this grandiose red and brown sandstone tomb is one of the last examples of Mughal architecture.



Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi (2013 & 2016):

Tomb of Muhammad Shah Sayyid, the last of the Sayyid dynasty rulers, built in 1444.




Bara Gumbad (″big dome″) on the left and the three-dome mosque attached to it on the right, believed to have been constructed around 1490.

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Same two buildings seen from the entrance portal of Sheesh Gumbad.


Facade of the three-dome mosque of Bara Gumbad.

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Inside the mosque.


Backside of the mosque of Bara Gumbad.


Facing Bara Gumbad is Sheesh Gumbad, a tomb of the Lodhi dynasty believed to have been constructed between 1489 and 1517.



Tomb of Sikander Lodhi, built in 1517-1518 by his son.

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Hazrat Nizam-ud-din Dargah, New Delhi (2018):

This dargah (mausoleum) is dedicated to Sufi saint Muhammad Nizam-ud-din Auliya (1238-1325) who preached a doctrine of tolerance. The mausoleum is hidden in a small maze of narrow streets. After crossing the unassuming entrance gate, it is reached through a chaotic series of angular alleys and corridors. It is open at all time, so that people may spend the night there to pray, find some respite, and/or sleep. Some medical care (probably free) is also provided to people in need within the compound.


I went to this place around 7am. Although there was not a large number of people, the mystical atmosphere around the mausoleum was overwhelming. Some people were chanting, some reading, others sleeping. Although the place may at first be a bit intimidating for a solo visitor like me, people were friendly or neutral and peaceful. Of all the places I have visited in Delhi, this is the most memorable one.


The streets around the dargah are filled with eateries and stalls with vendors selling roses, incense, perfumes, and clothes.









Past the entrance gate, a corridor leads toward the mausoleum of Nizam-ud-din around a crumbling basin that was empty at the time of my visit.


One last shop next to the dargah.


Around the dargah.




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Humayun‛s Tomb, New Delhi (2013 & 2018):

The building containing the tomb of Mughal emperor Humayun was constructed in the mid-16th century. It is said to have inspired the Taj Mahal, which it predates by 60 years. Commissioned by the emperor′s first wife, Persian-born Bega (Haji) Begum, it was designed by two Persian architects picked by her, Mirak Mirza Ghiyas and his son Sayyid Muhammad. The building also contains the tombs of empress Bega Begum and several other subsequent Mughal emperors. Its gorgeous facade combines white marble and red sandstone.


I visited this site twice, in 2013 (with a guide) and again in 2018 (alone). As it is open from dawn to dusk, in 2018 I went early in the morning before crowds of people flock into it and I spent more time than in 2013 admiring the building′s perfect geometry and proportion. Personally, I consider Humayun‛s Tomb more beautiful and inspiring that the Taj Mahal, which I had visited in 2001.


(2013) Building containing the tomb of Mughal emperor Humayun.

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(2018) Other views of the building stressing its sublime geometry.










Tomb of Isa Khan Niyazi, New Delhi (2013 & 2018):

This tomb is located near Humayun‛s tomb. It was constructed in 1547, more than 20 years before Humayun‛s tomb. Isa Khan Niyazi was an Afghan noble in the court of Sher Shah Suri, a Pashto who founded the Sur Empire in northern India. The tomb is a beautiful example of Lodhi-era architecture.


Photos taken in 2013.


Photos taken in 2018. Tilework, mainly on the cupolas, was restored in 2014, between my two visits.






Tombs inside the building, including the one of Isa Khan Niyazi.


Three-bay mosque located in the same enclosure as the tomb of Isa Khan Niyazi, with a striking red sandstone central bay.


World Buddhist Center, East of Kailash, New Delhi (2019):

This center was founded in 1996 by Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura, a Japanese monk, who also built the Shanti stupa in Leh. In 2019 I stayed at the peaceful guesthouse of this center.



Qutur Minar Complex, South Delhi (2013):

The main building in the complex is the 73-meter Qutur Minar (minaret), whose diameter decreases from 14.3m at the base to 2.7m at the top. Built during the late 12th and early 13th centuries by Qutb-ud-din Aibak (a former slave), the first sultan of the Mamluk dynasty, it is the tallest brick minaret in the world.



Arch, iron pillar (black, only visible in the first photo below, 7.2-high, 1600-year old), and stone pillared halls in the complex.




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Ala′i Minar. After a victorious campaign, Sultan Ala-ud-din Khalji dreamed to build a minaret similar to Qutub Minar, but twice as high. However, at his death in 1316, the minaret had only reached 27m in height and none of his successors dared pursuing this over-ambitious project.

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Rajon Ki Baoli, Mehrauli Archeological Park, South Delhi (2019):

Baolis are stepwells, often multi-storied structures, found in arid regions of southern Asia. They fill up during the rainy season. Later, as the water level goes down, the water remains reachable by descending the steps. There are several old baolis in Delhi, among which the Rajon Ki baoli is the most elaborate. It was built in the early 16th century during the Lodi dynasty. It is a U-shaped, four-storied structure with a broad staircase on the open side of the U. When I visited in August, the lower two stories were under twater.





Tughlaqabad Fort, South Delhi (2019):

This ruined fort was built in the 14th century during the reign of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty. The fort covers a huge area, some parts of which are homes of nasty monkeys and mean dogs. I visited the fort on August 15, the Indian National Day. I was the only visitor. Fortunately, a guard at the entrance gate came with me with a big stick.


Entrance of the fort. Monkeys seem to be waiting there for visitors. Though they may occasionally look cute, they are often aggressive.


Some of the massive bastions of the fort.


Ruined structures inside the fort.


Baoli inside the fort.


Tomb that Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty, built for himself in 14th century, slightly outside the fort. The pentagonal building is made of red sandstone and is covered by a white-marble dome on an octagonal platform.


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