Bijai Mandal – in Jahanpanah, the 4th medieval city of Delhi

Jahanpanah  the fourth medieval  city of Delhi was built in 1326–1327 by Muhammad bin Tughlaq (1321–51) to address the constant threat of the Mongols.
It was a fortified city of Jahanpanah (meaning in Persian: “Refuge of the World”)
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Today all we have are descriptions by the Moroccon traveller Ibn Batuta who lived in Delhi during Muhammad  bin Tughlaq’s reign.
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Sultan Muhammad’s palace had three gates, each furnished with a flurry of officials presided over by marshals in caps of gold plumed with peacock feathers. The first gate was also home to the executioners. The second led into a large mashwar, or audience chamber. “The third door,” continued Ibn Battuta, “opens into the immense and vast hall called Hazar Ustun, which means [in Persian] ‘a thousand pillars.’ The pillars are of painted wood and support a wooden roof, most exquisitely carved…. It is in this hall that the sultan sits for public audience.”
(Tim McIntosh in http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/200602/a.tangerine.in.delhi.htm/) i will blog on qasr e hazar sutun separately so its just a mention here.
The famed treasure house in this palace which housed tge treasures captured by the Sultan from his conquests as well as taxes from citizens is now a pile of dirt. Locals say they used to discover gold coins till recently
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There used to wells filled with treasures in this area. Today there is dirt and broken beer bottles by people who come here to have fun taking advantage of the isolation.
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Sir Syed calls this the Badi Manzil. It is an octagonal building diameter 38’3″ and 20’high,built of rubble with steeply sloping sides,the corners being strengthened by dressed stones. At each of its four cardinal points there is a doorway. On the roof of reached by some very stinky and dirty stairs at the SW corner are 3 circular holes diameter 1’5″ which look as if a cover was fitted in tgem. alAccording to Sir Syed supported a structure,probably a baradari crowning the Mandal. They are filled with dirt today.
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The purpose of the Mandal is unclear and according to Akhbarul aakhyar it was a bastion (burj) of the fort of Jahanpanah and that it was from this strange architectural  wonder that the Sultan inspected his troops.
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The entire structure is built  on a raised platform, surmounted by another higher platform. Some of the rooms are inaccessible  to the public and could  possibly have been the living quarters of the Sultan. .
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Its an important  piece of history lying in utter neglect, state of disrepair and isolation.
There is an unknown tomb from probably tge Lodi era which is the first thing that greets you as you enter the fabled city.
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When we went there, it was a public holiday and there were groups of boys chilling out there including boys of a lical band. They said that here they got privacy to eat and drink as they pleased.
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It is also home to the dargah of sufi saint called Sheikh Hasan Tahir, accompanied by several other graves around it.
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And what looks to be the remains of a madarsa opposite it
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But for me the most telling tale of the apathy of the government towards this important witness to medieval history was the tin box tucked into its boundary by locals
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Mera kuchh samaan tumhare paas hai!

Location : Kalu Sarai Village near IIT, New Delhi
earest Metro : Hauz Khas

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