Zafar Mahal, Delhi - last Mogul structure, a crumbling glory - a great monument needs urgent repair and restoration

Last Mogul structure. Zafar Gate of Zafar Mahal
Moti Masjid and Dargah
Above image:  Ruins of the palace with the three white domes of Moti Masjid and Dargah of Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki (left) in the background, Meharauli, South  Delhi ...............................................

Among the Indian cities and towns, the city that has the largest  concentration of Islamic structures of beauty and exquisite artwork is Delhi and its suburbs. Reason: Delhi was ruled by Muslim rulers
for a long period. It was during the period of Mogul rule,  one can see prolific  buildings - mosques, palaces, forts, mausoleums, gardens, etc. The exception being  emperor Aurangzeb, the most treacherous ruler after Allaudin Khaliji, well-known for his religious suppression of non-Muslims and misrule. Aurangzeb wanted to expand his kingdom, so he had spent much of his money on war expeditions and constructed a few buildings. His war-mongering attitude and suppression of Hindus had already set the stage for the down fall of Mogul rule in India. 
Zafar Mahal made of red sand stone, Delhi  Alamy
Zafar Mahal, in Mehrauli village, in South Delhi, India is considered the last monumental  Mogul structure built as a summer palace during the declining period  of the Mogul era. The building, made of red sandstone and  marbled  relief.has two parts namely the Mahal or the palace, which was built first by Akbar Shah II in the 18th century (the work began in 1842), and the entrance gate called Hathi gate  that was reconstructed in the 19th century (1847) by Bahadur Shah Zafar II (24 October 1775 – 7 November 1862), popularly known as “Zafar” (in Arabic meaning Victory).  The first part  consisted of a single floor with  a few rooms, some open area, Moti Masjid and Naubat Khana(Drum room). the first floor can be accessed  through an unsafe  steep staircases, without railings. Here, a lone stone pavilion and a chatri still stand as remnants of  one of the last days of the mighty Moguls.

The emperor held  Hazrat Khwaja Quttubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, a renowned sufi saint  and successor of Hazrat Khwaja Mouniuddin Chisti in great esteem. As a matter of fact, many Muslim rulers of Delhi never failed to pay obeisance to him and treated him with utmost reverence.  The then Delhi ruler started a festival Sair-e-Gul Faroshan (Phoolwaalon ki sair) in Hazrat Kaki's honor  and used to celebrate his urs from this palace.
 'Hathi Gate is an extension of  the existing Zafar Mahal and is 300 feet to the Ajmiri Gate of the Durhah of Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki. This 3-story entrance is tall (11.75 feet) and wide (50 feet ) enough to allow  a decorated  elephant with the 'houdah' (seat, where people sit on elephant) mounted over it. The decorated attractive balcony - Chhajja was a vantage point from where the royal family could see various processions and parades in the comfort of their privacy. The upper balcony is divided into chambers decorated with marble and inlays. The arches give a glimpse of the Rajasthani architecture and Bengali Domes. Bahadur Shah Zafar II built the entry gate between 1847- 48 according to an inscription on the main arch.

 It is a poignant story because Bahadur Shah Zafar, who wanted to be buried in the precincts of the Zafar Mahal (palace) close to the famous Dargah of Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki in Mehrauli, Delhi, was deported by the British to Rangoon where he died  from old age in custody on 7 November aged 87 without any honor. He, actually, died in obscurity, considering his exalted royal status. He was gone, but his  poetry and legacy will live on for ever. 

Before his exile to Burma, in the heart of Delhi right before Khoon's gate, three of his unarmed  last Mogul heirs were shot dead point blank by a crazy  English military officer.  Zafar  happened to be the last mogul emperor because in the 1857-58 Indian rebellion against East India Company's misrule after the Delhi siege, the British officials brought false charges against him  for the crimes that were committed by the rebels without  either his orders or his knowledge.  That was the end of Mogul dynasty rule in India that  started with the first Mogul Emperor Babur.  He conquered Delhi in 1526 AD  and the Mogul rule ended after 332 years when on October 7, 1858 the last Emperor Bahdaur Shah Zafar II (1837–1857) was arrested and deported to Rangoon, Burma.  He was taken in a bullock cart with British escort. An unfortunate fall from sublime to disgrace orchestrated by the British indirectly  and inadvertently helped by Mogul misrule by Aurangzeb and others.
Zafar Mahal, Delhi
The 18th century Zafar Mahal, the last Mogul building is in ruins and  seems to become a crumbling glory as it is losing its battle against real estate barons and illegal encroachment. In 1920 itself it was declared as a monument of national importance. Because of neglect, the royal rooms, part of stairs and roof are  almost gone for ever. The government, in association with the ASI, should preserve what is left  out and try to repair and restore the crumbling parts. The government has a moral responsibility to preserve our heritage and culture from the clutches of some goondas in the real estate business by taking action against them and those who erase our past history that is frozen in such monuments. Loss of monuments means our posterity will be groping in the dark to know the history of our past rulers and other details. Many media reports point out that Zafar Mahal is under threat  and one day it may disappear like the morning dew.