Magar jab shukr-e-ne’mat mein jabin jhukti hai bande ke
Woh sachi bandagi hai ik sharifana ita’at hai
you have probably passed by it, or even prayed in it without realising the history of Defence Colony ”s Jama Masjid.
Khwajasara Basti Khan was an important noble in the reign of Sultan Sikander Lodi. Though today it’s in a limited area but he had enclosed an extensive piece of land near Hazrat Nizamuddin basti and built a mosque, baoli and tomb in it with an impressive gateway as an entrance to it. The tomb was built in 1488 AD. The baoli dried up centuries ago but the gateway, tomb and mosque survive despite many additions.
The gateway is a white building with a lofty dome and very soothing to the eyes. It is built of stone and mortar and measures 35 square feet and stands on a plinth. It was locked so we could not see inside but we were told it was a store room now.
There is a madarsa and mosque, which is attached to the gateway and covers up most of the area of the complex. It was very neatly lined with wooden benches for holding books and bookcases – the Quran and other books were kept in it.
A double staircase in the courtyard leads to a pretty, white coloured gateway through which one enters the upper portion. The tomb itself stands on a raised terrace and contains five arched cells in each of its four sides. The dome is white while the rest of it is painted a bright red. It measures 21 square feet and its height is 60 feet.
The four corners were marked by red chhatris of which only one remains. Internally, the dome was lined with red sandstone and is ornamented with alternate circular bands of white and black marble. But now not much of the marble remains.
When we visited it we found the tomb full of wooden planks and left- overs from construction activities. There were no signs of the grave, which is supposed to have been in the middle. Today this serves as the Jama Masjid of Defence Colony and is well maintained with a busy madarsa.
delhi #khwajasara #jamamasjid #defensecolony #bastikhan #mosque #baoli #sikanderlodi
Excerpt from: “The Forgotten Cities of Delhi: Book Two in the Where Stones Speak trilogy” by Rana Safvi.