I was at a restaurant in Malaviya Nagar having lunch. I had some time to kill before heading to the airport. I glanced at the map to look at any interesting places nearby. A large “green area” in Hauz Khas attracted my attention. A monument “Munda Gumbad” at the centre of the garden looked like a nice place to visit.
The taxi driver dropped me at the entrance of the park. It was a hot day and the park had lot of trees providing much needed shade. I reached “Munda Gumbad” only to find a small ruin. It was very disappointing and I decided to just take a walk around the lake. As I walked along the lake, a huge old structure dominated the view. Apparently, it had missed my attention when I was searching in maps. It was the Hauz Khas fort and it looked beautiful.
Entering into the fort was tricky. The fort was within few feet from the place I walked and I could see lot of people but there was no way to enter. I asked a security guard and he mentioned that the entrance from the park is not possible. Going from the main road meant a long walk which I was in no mood in that hot climate.
Apparently, there was a small exit from the park and a narrow pathway though the shops led me directly into the fort. The entrance was free though it was maintained by ASI. The first thing I did was to get to know about the fort. The board containing the information helped me on this regard.
Hauz Khas complex borders the tank known originally as Hauz-e-Alai, which was constructed during the reign of Alauddin Khilji (ruled 1296-1316). It lay somewhat to west of Alauddin’s newly fortified city of Siri. The water was collected in it mainly during rainy season and was then used throughout the year by the people in the neighbourhood. In the years after Alauddin, lack of maintenance led to silting up of the channels that fed to the tank, and it dried up. During the reign of Feroz Shah Tughlaq (ruled 1351-88) the water supply system to the tank was restored. The tank then came to be known as Hauz Khas or Royal Tank.
The mosque and a madrasa are the main buildings in the complex. A three domed building is another structure that looks attractive. There is a tomb of Firuz Shah Tughlaq.
I spent about an hour in the complex. My knowledge of Delhi sultanate was very minimal. It improved slightly with this visit to the complex. Seeing the crowd, the place looked like a lively place with lot of upscale restaurants, art galleries and boutiques surrounding the complex.
Overall, it was a nice place to visit. Unlike Mehrauli Archeological complex, Hauz Khas was teeming with tourists and provided a different atmosphere.