Rajon Ki Baoli, Mehrauli Archaeological Park

Categories Delhi

Don’t look out of the window and think what a mad man will go visiting a park in this weather. We made the trip months back, I am just getting to write about it now. There are quite a few things that make Mehrauli one of the best tourist spots in Delhi. It has the most magnificent and one of the oldest structures in close proximity and given that it is not on every tourist’s list yet, it is still possible to have a leisurely, hopefully lonely, walk around the complex.

 

Rajon ki baoli

I have previously written about the Gandhak Ki Baoli, though we covered all of them the same day, I have not mustered the courage to write about them all, yet. Anyway, Rajon means masons, not kings. So, the baoli is named after the masons who were working here. On what? There is a mosque next to the baoli. But the baoli supersedes the mosque both in scale and grandeur. So, it is hard to believe that some king allowed the masons to keep working on this baoli in their own free time.

rajon ki baoli delhi

In fact, compared to any other baoli in Delhi, this is bigger and many times richer. A dedication to masons? Hardly. Self-funded part time passion project by the masons? In 16th century, even such thoughts must have been impossible to conceive. So, why is it called Rajon Ki Baoli? No idea. Every source seems to tell the same story. I will just keep searching.

rajon ki baoli mehrauli archeological complex

In the mean time, the confusion should not stop you from visiting the place. Built in 1516 by Daulat Khan during the times of Sikander Lodi, the baoli is three storeys deep with an additional layer at ground level and you can see the enormity of it only when you have walked really close. Like all baolis, there is a well in the back and pool in the front. The arched halls on all three sides are shaded, cool and bear calligraphic inscriptions from the Quran. Some say Allah, others I could not read.

mosque at rajon ki baoli

You can climb on top of the roof and realise how massive the whole structure is. You can hop over to the adjacent mosque from the roof. The mosque is small and beautiful. The Quranic inscriptions apart, there are rings of blue tiles that must have been exquisite when they were intact. Now, you can see a glimpe of them here and there and have to imagine the rest. On the walls the mosque, you will see a lot of scribbles in Persian that would have been considered vulgar graffiti if they were not so old.

Scribbles at mosque mehrauli

mehrauli mosque

This was one of the last walks of the season before the onslaught of summer. I am more than thankful to Sohail Saheb of Delhi Heritage Walks without whom I may never have seen these corners of Delhi or would have failed to understand them, anyway.

  • Sohail Hashmi

    The Baoli Came to known as Rajon ki Baoli rather late in the day. The ASI, formed in the late 19th century , finally began to get serious about its work only in the early decades of the 2Oth century, at least in Delhi, and it then that it was discovered that a group of Masons had taken up permanent residence inside the deserted mosque. The twll tale signs of their presence over an extended period of time remain in the form of soot marks that blacken the cieling of the mosque even today. The Masons were finally encouraged to leave in 1920. But the name has stuck. The Graffiti is not vulgar, most of it is persian poetry ans there are some Scriblings in Arabic as well. Probably A madrasa ran here and the writing on the wall is testimony to the fact that the Teachers did not exert themselves too much, a story that has echoes in many schools even today.

    • Thanks for the details, Sir. Now, the post seems redundant 🙂 By vulgar, I meant to eyes who are untrained in the language.