A Walk Around Jahanpanah

Jahanpanah—literally, ‘Refuge of the World’—also called the fourth city of Delhi, was established in AD 1326 by the second Tughlaq sultan, Muhammad bin Tughlaq. It was created by linking the scattered urban settlements of the older cities of Siri and Lal Kot by extensive walls with thirteen gates.

Historians believe that the fortifi ed city set aside for the sultan and his royal household contained the citadel with the sultan’s palace complex and the main mosque, while the majority of city’s population continued to live within the walls of Lal Kot. Today, very little survives of what can be dated to Muhammad bin Tughlaq’s reign other than small sections of the fortifi cations, mostly parts that connected Siri to Lal Kot from the south. The elegant and impressive Begumpuri Mosque, located within the Begumpur village, was perhaps the main mosque of Jahanpanah.

Nearby, the Bijay Mandal group of buildings would have been part of the royal residence. Not far from the Begumpuri Mosque, in the village of Sarai Shahji, the Sarai Shahji Mahal was an inn with an attached mosque dating from the Mughal period. Further still, the late-fourteenth century Lal Gumbad, and the tiny fascinating Kharbuze ka Gumbad are associated with saint Kabir-ud-din Auliya who is buried here. Numerous other ruins including tombs, mosques, and gateways lie hidden away in the lanes and by lanes of Malviya Nagar, Shivalik, and Greater Kailash that originally came under the old city of Jahanpanah.

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