The Hauz Khas I was told to visit was all shops, designer outlets and eclectic array of restaurants, cafes and bars. That’s why I went there, for tea and then to meet a friend for dinner. The sheer density of shops startled me – neither did it have the cramped quirkiness of an actual bazaar, nor did it have the feel of a nice up-market mall. It was a confused in-between, at least in my opinion. It seemed to be a living embodiment of instant gratification and wasteful living. Added to that, some blocks were under repair and a serious hazard to be trapped inside in the advent of a fire. I was disappointed with Hauz Khas and even more so with my friend, for thinking I would like it.
It was after wandering down the roads to reach the end of the line of shops that I saw a gate, which led somewhere. That is when I saw the Hauz Khas complex – a set of buildings that includes a water tank, an Islamic seminary, mosque, some tombs and the look of an urban settlement. I fell in love with Hauz Khas.
The name Hauz Khas comes from this very tank lying in this set of buildings – ‘Hauz’ in urdu means a water tank and ‘Khas’ means royal – thus royal tank. The origins of these monuments dates back to the 13th century Delhi sultanate, which was a part of the Allauddin Khilji dynasty. During the Tuglaq dynasty rule over Delhi, this area further developed. Foruz Shah Tuglaq de-silted the tank, and it is his tomb that we see here. Some years ago the tank was completely dry, but now due to efforts by INTACH and the Delhi government, this area could be one of the most beautiful in Delhi.
Sadly, even when the government does good conservation work and opens up heritage for us to experience for free, we misuse our freedom. We write our names across it, try to imprint our transient love life on a 12th century heritage monument, throw a half-eaten pack of chips in the corner of the room, and worse, even urinate ON these heritage walls. When will we learn our important role in preserving and protecting our own heritage? Even if we are tourists, viewers, partakers of the beauty, we should learn not to be active destroyers in any way.
Let me repress those memories for a bit and talk on about the good bits. Have you taken a walk there? If not, let me take you on a tour of the heritage sites and also leave you with a few images of the commercial establishments.
set 1: the first set of dome-shaped structures you see when you enter. there was not sufficient information when we visited, so i am not quite sure what these are
set 2: the intricate patterns in the tomb, and mosque
set 3: the islamic seminary and the royal tank
set 4: ugly today peeps into yesterday. will some future generation call our buildings beautiful?
set 5: the glitzy glamourous part of hauz khas, the reason i visited in the first place!
hope you had a lovely tour about hauz khas, now go there yourself and experience the beauty.
hauz khas – heritage preserved, heritage renewed, heritage breathing… for you and me