Chirag Dilli & Khirki

Chirag Dilli is named for the much-revered Sufi mystic, Nasiruddin Mahmud, Roshan Chiragh-e-Dehli (‘The Illuminated Lamp of Delhi’), who came to Delhi in the early fourteenth century and was a disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya, and later became his successor. Along with Khirki village, south-west of Chirag Dilli, this forms one of Delhi’s oldest neighbourhoods, dominated by some interesting structures—both religious as well as secular—from as far back as the fourteenth century. There is Satpula here, the dam that Muhammad Tughlaq built when he established his city of Jahanpanah. Near it is the huge mosque built by the wazir of Muhammad Tughlaq’s successor, Firoz Shah Tughlaq. There is the still-venerated Dargah of Chiragh-e-Dehli himself, and, in its vicinity, the tomb of Bahlol Lodi, the fi rst of the Lodi sultans. The village of Chirag Dilli, in itself, makes for a rewarding walk: it is one of Delhi’s more untouched urban villages, retaining many signs of a long and interesting past—in its gateways, its village square, and in its occasionally—visible signs of old architecture. The village wall, with its gates and turrets, was built under the aegis of the Mughal emperor Muhammed Shah ‘Rangeela’ (r. AD 1719–48). Although much of the village now consists of modern buildings, Chirag Dilli still has a number of old houses: Mughal havelis, colonial structures, and more.

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