Bara Gumbad, Delhi built by sikandar Lodi is getting a new look

Bara Gumbad, Delhi

Bara Gumbad, Delhi

Above image: Two Lodi-era monuments — Gol Gumbad near Nizamuddin and Bada Lao Ka Gumbad in Vasant Vihar — in the national capital will be available to corporate entities to hold ‘small’ cultural events soon. The space around the site would be used to stage cultural events.  The restoration on Bara Gumad was being done by the Delhi state Archaeology in association with INTACH.   Invisible paintings  covered with  dark soot, damaged arches, damaged  glazed tiles on the dome  etc would be taken care of using traditional materials. The first phase of restoration took place several years ago. Originally, basic restoration work  was taken up way back in 2010...............

Sikandar  Lodi

Above image:: Sikandar Khan Lodi (died 21 November 1517), a Pashtun Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate between 1489 and 1517. He was the second and most successful ruler of the Lodi dynasty of the Delhi sultanate, and was a poet in  Persian language. He expanded the territories to a considerable size up to Gwalior and Bihar. and  founded  the city of Agra in 1504............................ 

Believed to have been the earliest  well-built  dome of any buildings in Delhi,  the Bara Gumbad  is an important monument  built by  Sikandar Lodhi. Located  close to the Tomb of Sikandar Lodhi and Shisha Gumbad (builder: Ibrahim Lodhi; between 1489-1517 C) and tomb of Md. Shah (Sayyid dynasty). The three structures in Lodi gardens built in different period share the same 4 meter high  common  platform covering  a total area of 1,050 square meters (11,302 sq ft). As to the  utility and correct date of Bara Gambad  the mystery still persists and there is no viable answer. Perhaps, it Gumbad  was meant to be a free standing tomb. The crux of the matter is there is to tomb stone or gateway. Historians suggest that it might  have served as a gateway for the Friday mosque or large walled enclosure. The adjacent mosque and the "mehman khana" (guest house) came up  during the reign of Sikandar Lodi.

Bara Gumbad and Mosque at Back Shisha Gumbad in front

Bara Gumbad mosque Lodi gardens, Delhi. wikiwand com

Bara Gumbad mosque Lodi gardens, Delhi. wikiwand com

Mosque at Bara Gumbad, Delhi.

The  fascinating huge white dome fitted with  lustrous blue tiles sticking out of medieval era ruins is a  breath-holding sight for the visitors to the the Basant Lok market in South Delhi

The  design of Bara Gumbad, a single story building in square plan is simple,  blend Hindu-Islamic styles that  include bracket and lintel.   It looks like a  two floored  structure when viewed from outside. Barring the mosque and the guest house total floor area of Bara Gumbad is 361 square meters (3,886 sq ft).  

Carvings on the exterior, Bada Gumbad Mosque

Red, grey and black stone, including grey quartzite and red sandstone were widely used to build the guest house, mosque and the dome. The interiors are well embellished with beautiful  colored stucco works.  The amazing attraction is the decoration  with  colored tiles, incised carvings, and painted plaster on the mosque   along with foliage, flowers, geometric patterns, and Quranic inscriptions. The embellishments in the interior could have been time- consuming work and needed patience and special skill on the parts of the artisans lived centuries ago. 

As to the adjacent mosque built by Lodi with five bays - three  have domes and the remaining two with vaulted roof there are oriel windows to the north and south and the tapering minarets. They appear to be precursor later architectural styles. Khairpur village (presently within DDA's Vasant Vihar park)  was the former name where the monuments stand today. 

In the past decade or so the central government  under the ASI is making efforts to repair, conserve and preserve   dying heritage monuments across the country. As for Delhi,  there are countless monuments, mostly Islamic structures and they are undergoing conservation though the task is a tough one because of encroachment.  The  Bada Gumbad is part of Delhi's  heritage  list and I understand it was renovated in the recent past.

Dedicated efforts  toward renovation and conservation of old heritage structures in which the ethos and culture of the place are preserved,  have positive advantages like improvement of tourism, saving the sites for the posterity to appreciate their aesthetics, etc. The negative aspect is correct planning and implementation.  Unfortunately, such efforts need  sound advice of experienced conservation experts who know what kind of construction materials, etc  can be used and how to prop up damaged roof built with different styles, etc. Present building materials can not match with those used in the past. However, the experts can give proper guidance as to the selection of materials and others that come close to those used in the past era.