Mehrauli : Off beat historical treasure!Smriti Saxena
By visiting Chandni Chowk if you think if you experienced Ancient Delhi, then you might want to think again. Have you been to Mehrauli? No no, I am not just talking about Qutub Minar, I am talking about Mehrauli as a place itself. It’s one of the seven ancient cities that make up the present state of Delhi. This hidden treasure of old times has been inhabited continuously for a thousand years and is home to everything from an ancient royal tomb to exquisite places of shopping, from street food to fine dining.
Here’s a quick list of top 5 things to do in Mehrauli:
1. Visit the archaeological treasures:
Though Mehrauli is like any ordinary neighbourhood today, its past is what distinguishes it in terms of architecture. You can explore Mehrauli to its past glory, as accorded by the British Colonial norms. You could begin the archeological tour with the most visible piece of architecture remains the Qutub complex where the famous Qutub Minar stands. The Qutub complex is today a UNESCO world heritage site. The other interesting places to visit around include: the mausoleum of 13th century, Sufi saint, Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, the dargah complex that houses graves of later Mughal emperors, Bahadur Shah I, Shah Alam II, and Akbar II, in an adjacent marble enclosure, the Moti Masjid, a small mosque, built for private prayer by the son of Aurangzeb, Bahadur Shah I, the Balban’s tomb, tha Jamali Kamali, stepwell known as Rajon Ki Baoli that was constructed in 1506 during Sikandar Lodhi’s reign , the Adham Khan’s Tomb, the bhool bhulaiyan, and of course the Mehrauli Archaeological Park spread over 200 acre, adjacent to Qutb Minar site was redeveloped in 1997.
2. Spiritual connect:
After the historic time machine, hop on to discover your inner-self. You can begin from the famous Yogmaya Temple. It’s an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Yogmaya, located close to the Qutub complex. It is widely believed to be one of the five surviving temples from the Mahabharata period in Delhi. From there on you could visit the Dargah ( Qutb ul Aqtab Hazrat Khwaja Sayyid Muhammad Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki). This dargah located adjacent to Zafar Mahal, and the oldest dargah in Delhi which is also the venue of his annual Urs festivities. In the same area you could also visit the Mehrauli Church, the Baba Banda Gurudwara and after a decent walk of approximately 2.5 Kms you could also visit the famous Dada Badi Jain Temple. A Dādābadī is a type of shrine, usually located near a Jain temple, and dedicated to one of the Dādā Gurus revered by the Kharatara Gaccha sect of the Svetambara Jains. It’s one of the three located in India. After the Jain temple you could walk upto the main road to visit the Ahinsa Sthal, its yet another Jain temple where the main deity of the temple is Mahavira, the 24th and last Tirthankara of present half cycle of time.
3. Explore self-claimed Delhi’s biggest Farmer’s markets:
If you are fond of fresh vegetables and crowd doesn’t bother you much then this place is just right for you. This farmers market is known to be the next biggest vegetable market after Azadpur in Delhi. Infact the locals claim it to be Delhi’s biggest farmers market. “Mehrauli Sabzi Mandi” is one of the prominent landmarks in the area. This places opens at 3:00 AM and is buzzing with buyers until 4:00 PM, after that there’s a small scale market known as “Choti Mandi” which opens till 10:00 PM. You can literally find all kind of vegetables here and that too at a very reasonable price. It’s open all 7 days a week.
4. From street food to fine dining:
If you are fond of Delhi street food, then this place is a real Pandora’s box. From delicious aaloo pooris to awesome golgappas, from Chinese to Mediterranean fine dining you will find everything that will blow your mind. Mehrauli market has some specific shops that serve a speciality preparation which you not find with anyone else. Should you wish to know on what to eat in Mehrauli : Read “ top 5 places to eat in Mehrauli”.
Shopping in Mehrauli begins right after you pass the Qutub Minar bus stop. The spree begins with designer outlets located on the road that leads to the local market where you would find right from needle to auto parts everything. Also, there are a cluster of shops that specialise in items they are selling. For example: there’s a readymade street where you would find all ready to wear clothes, shoe street where shoes are being sold, pulses and spice market and so on. One of the most interesting thing is that merchandise in the Mehrauli market are usually available at wholesale prices.
Must haves : A pair of good walking shoes, an umbrella and you should not have fear of crowds.
By the way, if you are thinking it’s all possible to cover in one day then you are highly mistaken. You need to plan well if you are visiting Mehrauli!