In 1303 A.D., Alauddin Khilji laid the foundation of his capital city Siri. He decided to build a reservoir to serve the basic needs of growing population. The tank called Hauz e- Alai (tank of Alauddin) was spread over huge area of 6 hectares and it remained filled with monsoon water naturally. After the death of Alauddin, focus shifted away from Siri to Jahanpanah as new capital. The water channels got silted up and dry bed began to cultivate. In the middle of 14th century, Firoz Shah Tughlaq ascended the throne and showed great interest in educational buildings and laying out gardens etc. So, the tank was desilted again and several buildings were built around it, which together are now known as Hauz-Khas and are enclosed partly within modern walls. After the death of Firoz Shah, the tank again silted up and area came to be inhabited by rural population, which grows to be known as the Hauz Khas village.
The Hauz Khas Complex houses a water tank, an Islamic seminary, a mosque , a tomb and pavilions built around an urbanized village with medieval history traced to the 13th century of Delhi Sultanate reign. Firoz Shah Tughlaq built a Madrasa on the southern and eastern banks of the lake, which are the western and northern wings of the Madrasa respectively. The two wings of the Madrasa are at right angles to one-another, making the English alphabet L, with Firoz Shah Tughlaq’s tomb being the meeting point of the two wings. The Madrasa and the tomb were constructed in the 1350s
In the 1980s, Hauz Khas Village, studded with domed tombs of Muslim royalty from the 14th to 16th centuries, was developed as an upper class residential cum commercial area in the metropolis of South Delhi, India.
It is now a relatively expensive tourist-cum-commercial area with numerous art galleries, upscale boutiques and restaurant. Located between two primary arteries of the city (inner and outer ring road), Hauz Khas village is hidden behind forested area. Several boutiques were launched by fashion designers which was the beginning of the trend that converted this forgotten village into smartest retail destination in the city. Since then, the village has been continuously evolving. It has emerged as a staging space for a new sub culture allowing innovative ideas to grow. Its coffee shops, experimental artworks, exhibits, etc find room in evolving urban loads.
Let us now take a look at the Hauz Khas complex in detail, the architectural intricacies and the present day culture of the Hauz Khas Village.
FIROZ SHAH’S TOMB
Close resemblance to the Tughlaq architecture.
Firoz Shah’s tomb is in the middle of a madrasa he commissioned, overlooking the lake. The tomb's plain style is faithful to the austerity of much of Tughlaq building. The simple 15 foot square structure is built of ashlar walls finished with lime plaster with arched entrances and merlons along the parapet. Above the parapet rises an octagonal drum, which supports a shallow and slightly pointed dome. The north and west of the tomb are contiguous with one of the wings of the madrasa. To the east are several chattris, small domed structures supported by pillars, which house tombs of saints and religious teachers. The tomb has a low platform to the south that is enclosed by a graceful stone railing. Internally the tomb is paved with gray stone slabs. The intrados and ceiling of the dome are embellished with coloured bands that intersect each other. The squinches are decorated with plasterwork including incised calligraphy. The designs have been incised and gorgeously painted in dark red, green and turquoise. The medallions, Quranic verses, and floral designs combine to describe paradise. The tomb contains four unmarked graves; three are made of marble and the fourth, near the east door, is of rubble and plaster. The central grave is that of Firoz Shah. The other two marble graves, which are...
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