Mehrauli: A Giant Cauldron of Wonders (Part 1)

Located shortly before you reach the haunted Jamali-Kamali, a world swimming in a cross-junction of history and culture. How else would you describe a place, which on one hand holds trinkets of history, an aura of the supernatural nearby, and on the other the modern day marvel called the Delhi Metro, next to an amalgam of faiths. Boys and Girls, and all you lovely Ladies & Gentlemen – Welcome to Mehrauli.

A multitude of roads and streets would seem rolled-out in all directions, inviting one into her lair, “Come, come, come on in dearie!” (add a teeheehee in there). No really, it can be a bit of Hansel & Gretel. Somewhat a hike from the Qutub Minar at one end to the Mehrauli Bus Ud-dah and a short stroll from the Chhatarpur Metro station at the other (Andhera Mor entrance). These are the commonly known entry-points. There are several more – popping out of out-of-sight neighbourhoods and pouring into the heartland of Mehrauli.

Streets apart, why visit if cartography isn’t your thing? Maybe history, eh eh? From the Andheria Mor entrance and a short walk, there’s your Hauz-I-Shamshi or the Shamsi Talab as the locals call it. A reservoir built during the Slave Dynasty, it still catches your eyes. If you can hear it, it has a lachrymose whisper of thoughts to share. Or maybe the Jahaz Mahal, where “if” you plan your holiday calendar well, you could even end up enjoying the annual 3-day culture fest called Phoolwaalon ki Sair (September). Boy, out of nowhere, that just reminded me of the song “Sealed with a Kiss”.

What if you have a differing holiday schedule? No problem, there’s always a sampling of street food, which’ll frequently catch your fancy from either side of the street. Kebabs, niharis, tikkas and its culinary ilk. It’s business as usual if you get caught in a traffic-jam there. Don’t forget to pick up some of the silvery chhabeela or reddish-maroon ratanjyot as you walk on. If you have some meat to melt, a mere half-a-handful is guaranteed to be strong enough.

Besides feasting on delicious Mohammedan cuisine on offer, you may also indulge yourself in picking up a bargain. Dime a dozen, people. There are wooden-frame carvings, pretty uncommon and may well cost a fortune elsewhere in Delhi. But, if you feel you have a strong bargaining acumen, Mehrauli’s the place for you. Walking ahead, you may actually find relics from your grandpa’s or great grandma’s era. Coal irons, and not just regular sized ones, lilliputian ones too to decorate your showcase back home. Manual lawn-mowers and a host of other oddities, Hey! What if you’re out of cash? Somehow, just somehow, you have a debit card on you (any Indian bank issue) ATMs are just another short walk away.

If you are more into soaking in the experience, let the wanderer in you loose. And you can literally lose yourself! The many lanes and by-lanes will coax, cajole and beckon you to explore them, with their half drowsy gaze. A photographers delight, wherein you may snap selfies with some really old style houses in the backdrop. If that’s a thing with you. A straight walk from the Andheria Mor entrance will lead you, with a bit of winded road, to the Mehrauli Bus Stand or Bus Ud-dah. And hullo? What do we have here. Another piece of history, called the Bhool-Bhulaiya (by popular claim it’s a labyrinth or maze). As per historic accuracy, it’s the tomb of Adham Khan son of Mughal Emperor Akbar’s wet-nurse Maham Anga. That’s the beauty of exploring Mehrauli. A single walk can transport you to the diverse shores history, set apart in time by centuries.

Whether you’re a foodie, shopaholic, photographer or just the very-very-spirited traveller, Mehrauli has something for each one. Choose a trinket, choose a memory, or choose to lose yourself in it all. Visit Mehrauli, it is waiting for you.

Source by Indraneel Chakrabarty

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