Mehrauli Archaeological Park – Main Mehrauli Hoon


Have you ever wondered what the first City of Delhi looked like? How rich is the past of Delhi and who were the people that ruled this place? If you want to find your answers, join  Delhi Walks® for an interesting Heritage Walk in the first city of Delhi – Mehrauli.

 Delve into a realm where mighty empires rose and fell, where love stories were etched in sandstone, and where the echoes of bygone eras still whisper through winding alleyways. Unlock the secrets of Delhi’s primordial crown jewel – Mehrauli, the first city that spawned an epic tapestry of dynasties, intrigues, and architectural marvels. Go back with us to a time when Delhi first saw any urban settlement.

Mehrauli literally derives its name from the word ‘Mehr‘ or the blessing of Allah. However, this city was not established by the first Muslim rulers but by the first ruler of Delhi, Anangpal Tomar. It was later extended by Prithviraj Chauhan and got the name Qila Rai Pithora. It was only under the later rulers that the city got its name Mehrauli. Our Mai Mehrauli Hoo signature experience will transport you to an age when the Tomars and Chauhans ruled supreme, leaving behind a trail of wonders waiting to be rediscovered by the modern wanderer’s eye.

As you stride through the ancient Mehrauli Archaeological Park, prepare to be spellbound by the ethereal tomb of Balban’s son. Behold its weathered cenotaph, once enchanted to release enticing fragrances befitting a fallen sultan’s final resting place. Let your imagination soar as our walk leaders® weave tales of Balban’s dramatic rise and decline, breathing vibrant life into stone facades.

But that’s merely a whisper of the marvels awaiting you. Around the next corner, an architectural gem captures the boundless depths of human affection – the iconic blue-tiled Jamali Kamali tomb and mosque. This breathtaking complex immortalizes the legendary romance between two brave souls, Jamali and Kamali, whose love for one another defied societal norms. As you gaze upon exquisite jali lattices and lotus motifs and unravel the symbolism behind them with our walk leaders® , you’ll be transported into a world where love knows no boundaries and architecture was used to physically manifest this beautiful human emotion.

As our journey unfolds, you’ll encounter an open-air museum of Delhi’s dynastic legacies. From the majestic Lodhi Tombs to the ancient stepwells of Rajon Ki Baoli and Daulat Khan’s mausoleum, remnants of mighty Tomar, Chauhan, and Mughal empires emerge from every crevice. All around, exotic bird calls and lush flora create a verdant paradise lost to the modern concrete jungle.

Be ready to notice the perfect picturesque spot at Rajon ki Baoli. If you are a person fascinated by water bodies, this is the perfect place for you.

But the show stealer  awaits at the exquisite Dilkhusha palace and boat house complex. Once a Mughal nobleman’s final repose, this sandstone marvel was ingeniously transformed into a lavish honeymoon retreat by the English aristocrat Thomas Metcalfe. As you wander amidst shimmering fountains and ornate lattice archways, let our impassioned narrators sweep you into the era when love conquered all boundaries – even death itself. It won’t be an exaggeration to say one is often transferred to a charming English town at Dilkusha.

On this multi-sensory odyssey, you won’t just bear witness to Mehrauli’s captivating history – you’ll become fully immersed within its beating heart and soul. Our  walk leaders® will regale you with priceless anecdotes, ancient legends, and vivid tales that blur the lines between past and present. From the grand visions of Tomar kings to the opulent indulgences of Mughal nobles and cunning colonial reconfigurations, every brick and turret will whisper secrets into your spellbound senses.

When you finally emerge from this transcendent time-warp, the modern Delhi sprawl will feel like a mere afterthought. For you’ll have experienced the true genesis of this great empire – a saga of passion, conquest, and resplendent grandeur that few are privileged to witness firsthand.

Today, Mehrauli is overshadowed by the mighty Qutub Minar. But Mehrauli is one of the most historically rich complexes of Delhi. It is now used by early-morning joggers and students who want to enjoy the newly built cafe in the complex. But, after this experience, you would have seen the time travel that Mehrauli Archaeological Park is.

Indulge your thirst for discovery and ignite your wanderlust! Secure your place on the “Mai Mehrauli Hoo” heritage trail by joining India City Walks® and Delhi Walks®. Let us peel back the velvet curtains of history and whisk you into a world where love, art, and power converge in breathtaking symbiosis. An experience simply unmatched by any “sights and bites” tour, this is your gateway into the primordial soul of Delhi.

Walk with us® to get whisked away into a realm where passion defies mortality, where grandiose visions are etched in stone, and where every crevice holds the promise of rediscovering lost eras. Join us in an odyssey that will forever intertwine your spirit with the magnificent genesis of Delhi’s great saga.

You can reach us on +91 989 969 2790 or email

RED FORT – Qila e Mubarak Heritage Walk


 If you’re familiar with the magnificent Red Fort of Delhi, you know it’s the place where the Prime Ministers of India hoist the national flag to celebrate the country’s independence. It’s the very spot where the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, stood and delivered his famous “Tryst with Destiny” speech. However, how many of us truly understand the rich history that lies within the walls of this iconic structure?

Walk with us® on an incredible journey to explore the majestic beauty of the Red Fort’s architecture.  Immerse yourself in the captivating tales of its past that will certainly leave you awe-struck and gain a deeper appreciation for the struggles and triumphs that echo within its walls. With India City Walks and Delhi Walks, you’ll embark on an unforgettable experience that will leave you in awe of this remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For centuries, the imposing sandstone walls of Delhi’s magnificent Red Fort have stood witness to the epic saga of royal dynasties, struggles for power, and India’s historic march towards independence. It appears as if it has survived the whims of cruel time. Our walk in this historic structure also known as Qila-e-Mubarak takes place in a chronological order wherein stories of establishment of the Mughal dynasty mark the beginning of the walk. The saga of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, naturally, marks the end of this experience. Owing to this nature of the walk, one gains deeper insights into how Mughal history unfolded in the Indian subcontinent thus making the experience of history and culture enthusiasts, tourists trying to understand roots of India, and individuals part of the educational ecosystem.

Our tales from the Red Fort signature experience will immerse you in the triumphs, intrigues, and extravagant lifestyles of Shah Jahan’s mighty citadel like no other. One will be amazed to notice the precision of courtly etiquettes practiced in the royal court. If you are someone who spends hours watching period pieces, this is an experience designed especially  for you! Ofcourse, there is drama on one hand and extraordinary beauty of human relationships on the other.

Crossing the imperial moat, you’ll enter through the Delhi Gate – the same regal passage once graced by the emperor himself. Then marvel at the grand Lahore Gate, whose arches have borne witness to colonial subjugation and India’s defiant struggle for freedom.

Within the mighty sandstone ramparts, a dazzling new world awaits. Lose yourself in the buzzing Chatta Chowk bazaars, where vibrant awnings and fragrant delicacies conjure visions of royal opulence. Gaze upwards at the incredibly carved ceilings that once shaded Mughal princes and princesses alike. This pitstop is nothing less than a testament to the vibrancy of Indian markets. From embroidered shawls to Mughal handicrafts, you name it, they have it! Shopkeepers of the market claim to have been here since no less than a century.

From ancient stepping stones emerges a breathtaking panorama of Shah Jahan’s grand creations. Ever thought about the relationship that music shared with the Mughal court? Did you know that it was a love affair that was responsible for the deterioration of this relationship? Detailed answers to these questions will be woven into stories at the regal drum house of the palace- Naubat Khana.

Stand in awe before the vacant throne of the Diwan-i-Aam, envisioning the Peacock masterpiece that once embodied Mughal grandeur. Stories about this structure will certainly give one a sneak-peak into a day in the Mughal court.

The stunning Mumtaz Mahal palace named for the emperor’s cherished wife, the intricately tiled Rang Mahal with its mesmerizing cascade – all unfurl before you in timeless glory.  Glimpse the hammam baths to uncover long-forgotten bathing rituals with our expert storytelling. The structures, carved in white marble, convey flavours of royalty. These structures look no less than a set for a movie in their full glory.

 As you meander through ornate pleasure pavilions and private bedchambers, our passionate walk leaders® will bring tales of royal romance, political machinations, and hard-won freedom struggles alive in the most authentic way possible. From peak political drama to the beauty of human relationships, our heritage walk in Red Fort covers finest stories of portrayal of human emotions.

As you pass through lush, sculpted gardens and opulent palace pavilions, prepare to be regaled with thrilling accounts of some of the strongest women that Indian history has ever seen – the influential Jahanara and the defiant Zebunnisa -dotting the palace structure with their individual assertions of love and desire. Ever wondered about royal suitors  risking everything to indulge in forbidden romances? Our walk leaders® got your back with the finest soul-stirring stories about it!

And just when you thought you’ve experienced it all, prepare to be dazzled! From the exquisite marble domes of Moti Masjid to Sawan-Bhadon’s ornamental ode to nature’s cycles – every turn reveals another magnificent bygone jewel.

The experience will end at the Zafar Mahal which awaits to reveal sagas of pain, suffering, and regrets. How did such a mighty dynasty of Mughals decline? Was it because of internal or external reasons? To know more on similar lines, join our experience in the magnificent Qila-e-Mubarak.

This isn’t just any heritage tour – it’s an all-encompassing sensory odyssey transporting you into the heart of Shah Jahan’s epic rule. So don’t just visit Old Delhi’s crown glory – immerse yourself in its very essence- See Delhi from the Eye of Delhite®!

Be among the select few to experience tales of Qila-e-Mubarak with Delhi Walks® this season. Our limited-batch journeys grant you exclusive access to revel in the fort’s mysteries as few ever can. Walk With Us® into a realm where Mughal opulence still lives and breathes! This experience is no less than a time travel, do not delay!

You can reach us on +91 989 969 2790 or email

Haveli Trail: Old Delhi

The beauty of the Old Havelis in Chandni Chowk lie in the crumbling state as they are in, today who have stood the test of time. Walking past the Old city of Shahjahanabad, the almost broken and haunted looking havelis have a certain magnet which has the power to attract you towards them. Take out some time, to admire the elaborate arcades, colossal doors, which take you back to a long by-gone era.
Situated in Chhota Bazaar, opposite old St.Stephen’s College building, Seth Ram Lal Khemka Haveli was once a place where wealth and power concentrated. It was built in 1850, the mansion has been a witness to the plunder during sepoy mutiny and the revolt of 1857. The present owners, Baglas, inherited the mansion in around 1905. The mansion is built using two types of brickworks from colonial era and the thinner ones, being the Lakhori bricks.
This 19th century mansion welcomes you with an open-air aourtyar with stairways leading towards the large rooms. The effort of the present family can be seen in keeping the old charm alive of the mansion.
How to get there: Ten minutes walk from Kashmere Gate metro station
A textile from the Mughal era, one of the wealthiest people in Delhi, Lala Chunnamal’s haveli was built in 1848. The positioning of the haveli, is interesting as it is situated in the Walled city of Shahjahanabad, the commercial hub of the city, but as you enter the quiet lanes, you forget the hustle and the chaos around you. Although a neglected haveli, it still sparks the erstwhile opulence and an unrestricted entrance welcome you whole heartedly. The mansion consists of 128 rooms which still consists of the chandeliers, antique wall hangings, family pictures on the wall with wooden chimneys. Currently, the 10th generation is staying as well as has the ownership of the mansion
How to get there: Five minutes walk from Chawri Bazaar metro station via Nai Sarak Marg
A mansion near the canal, as you walk through Daryaganj road, is a mansion which was owned by the forefathers of Pervez Musharraf,the ex-President of Pakistan. The mansion is said to be spread over 24,800 sq.ft the structure is dilapidated even though it was once a seat of muslim culture and traditions.
How to get there: Ten minutes walk from Chawri Bazaar
The traffic at Lal Kuan might let you walk past through the quaint place which was once a haveli of Begum zeenat Mahal, the favourite wife of Bahadur Shah Zafar. Towards the west of Hauz Qazi, the mansion dates back to 1846, when it was ordered by the empress herself. After her death, the Mahal was not taken care by anyone, till it was sold to the Indian Government by the Maharaja of Patiala. It stands in complete disarray and houses the famous school for Muslim girls, which happened with encroachments over the years.
How to get there: Ten minutes walk from Chawri Bazaar metro station via NaiSarakMarg
Bhagirath Palace, one of the biggest markets for electrical, was also a mansion for someone. While we still use the place for our shopping, much less is known about the mansion. The mansion was constructed in 1`8th century for a French mercenary Walter Reinhart. His wife’s name was Begum Samru. Pondering over the architecture you might see that it reflects quite a lot of both, the Greek and Roman architecture, with Corinthian columns.
How to get there: Ten minutes walk from Chandni Chowk metro station

When the abode of Godly city became a Mughal City!

The city of Dinpanah, was founded by Humayun, four years, after his father had founded the Empire. On the banks of the river Yamuna, the city was constructed unknowingly, that there was another ancient city which existed at the same area. It was called as ‘Indraprastha’ which translates as the ‘city of the God Indra’. While going through the fort complex, you get to witness the Mughal magnificence as well the remains of the ancient city scattered around, in the form of pottery and other materials. But one very significant thing which the fort city reflects is the material remains that have been left by Sher Shah Suri. An Afghan ruler who had overthrown Humayun, wreaked havoc in the Mughal city, built the new capital city called Sher Shahi, which is now known as Purana Qila. After successfully defeating Humayun in 1540, Suri demolished all that remained from the existing fort city of Dinpanah, re-used the materials from it, as well as from Feroz Shah Kotla and Siri, to make his new city SherGarh which translates as ‘the abode of Lions’. While the fort city was enclosed with three gates which were referred to as Bada Darwaza, Talaqi Darwaza and Humayun Darwaza, the outer walls, right in the front was demarcated with few more gates, such as the Lal Darwaza and the Kabuli Darwaza.
Humayun was often known in history as a moderate Mughal ruler between his charismatic father Babur and his legendary son Akbar. Humayun a superstitious man that he was, must have chosen the particular location of Indraprastha, not far from Nizamuddin Auliya’s shrine. It seems a little awkward that although the gates and outer wall can be proved to be of Humayun’s time, there is not a single other structure of his time.
The gates and the outer walls prove to be of Humayun’s time, but not more than this can be called as pertaining to Humayun’s time. A decent look inside the fort will reveal how scantily the monuments are scattered around the whole area. The main attractions of the whole place might be either the Sher Mandal, and The Qila-e-Kuhna Mosque. The exquisite design of the mosque can be credited to Sher shah, but it doesn’t look like Pathan architecture. A look at the octagonal dome makes it look more like a ‘Lodhi-era’ construction. However, the mosque is the best preserved part of the complex as its horse-shoe shaped doorways is one of the most beautiful example of symmetry, two on the left are ‘sawaal’ and two on the right are ‘jawaab’.

The Tentacles of Incomparable Slaves: Qutub Complex

There is no tower like the tower of the triumph modeled to prove the victory of the Turkish over the Indian lands. The QutubMinar is one of the finest brick minaret which was the tower of triumph modeled after another victory, Minaret of Jam near Herat in the remote valley of western Afghanistan, which was erected by the brother of Muhammad Ghori.
The evening QutubMinar, with its tapered star like base with a circular top, was the victory tower with four ornamental bands adorning its lower storey, followed by two more storeys with two bands each. The construction of the first floor of QutubMinar was started by Qutub-ud-din Aibak, the founder of the Mamluk dynasty, who had also commissioned for Jami masjid. Later the first mosque of Delhi, was called as Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, which was right on the stronghold of the Hindu citadel of Tomars and Chauhans in delhi.
“To summon the prayers so loud that it could reach Misr (Egypt) and Medina”, was the intention of building the magnificent Minar. The piece and other pieces in the architectural arena in the QutubComplex, are exquisite as the complex beholds layers of history in it. While the Rajput rulers had stationed themselves in the first city of Delhi which was comprising of the precincts of Qutub Complex, the first Muslim rule had not been that adventurous to explore more places. Hence you come across the Mosque, and in its courtyard you can stumble upon the Iron Pillar which is said to have got by the Tomars, and has resisted rusting for 1600 years. The early Turkish rulers were primarily soldiers who had their imagination take shape with the Hindu craftsmen who were locally available.
The complex, sitting on the old citadel of Tomar’sLalKot represents the imagination of the Turkish sultans which was fuelled by their conquests and an uncertainty in the new land: a Muslim theme with Hindu imagination. Together, the layers of history in the complex area represents group of monuments of the Mamluks and Khilji dynasties, and some unreal dreams which were left deserted.
The journey which started from QutubComplex, spread tentacles around Delhi and spread their Sultanate throughout Delhi. It’s fascinating to trace how the Sultanate started off with simpler backgrounds to such elaborate tomb structures as we see elsewhere.

The Story of New Delhi

The story of the longest serving capital of India goes back to the British empire, when they wanted to add to the existing heritage, but also wanted to show their prowess by erecting some iconic monuments. But because of the lack of imagination, they named their city “New Delhi”.
The first foundation stone of New Delhi was laid by King George the Vth, the new emperor of India, after successfully crushing the revolt of 1857, and establishing the British Empire in India. For the longest time, the seat of British power was Calcutta, but when they experienced the bloody revolt from the Indians, their affirmations of the power could not stop them from acquiring the seat of power from Delhi. The architects chosen for this dream project of the British were Edward Lutyen’s and Herbert Baker.
On a December winter, during the Delhi Durbar, George V, along with Queen Mary, made an announcement that the capital of the British Raj would be shifted from Calcutta to Delhi, while the Viceroy’s residence was in the process of construction. Both Baker and Lutyens’ masters in their work, and excellent 20th century architects, wanted to replicate the colonial, vintage architecture, so that the Raj feels comfortable coming and settling in Oriental lands. The constructions in the city began after the First World War, but could only be completed by 1931. The initial planning consisted of the important residences, like the Secretariat buildings, the Viceroy’s residence, the India Gate which was made especially to welcome King George the Vth to his new territory which later would become the ‘Jewel in the Crown’.
These were initial places which were constructed. Later, both Baker and Lutyen’s started considering other places, in the vicinity of their city. Thus, was Delhi Town Planning Committee, set up to plan the city which would expand its tentacle’s till as far and wide. Thus the bungalows which expanded till present day Safdarjung Tomb till South are still in use by the prominent personalities of politics.
A glance through the wide roads, the roundabouts and the greenery around it, reflects why the architects chose to name it, what it was, in contrast to the existing seat of power.

The Story of a Lost Paradise: Qudsia Bagh

Wife of the emperor Muhammad Shah and the mother of a successor- Ahmad Shah, laid out a beautiful garden complex adjoining the western bank of Yamuna. A palace cum summer house, dotted with pavilions and a mosque were set amidst rolling greens of rose and fruit gardens and murmuring waterfalls.
After the death of Aurangzeb, the Mughal Empire had started crumbling, where the most prominent nobles had taken over their territory and started ruling all by themselves not recognizing the central authority which was still Mughal. Muhammad Shah Rangeela came to the throne, after frequent successions by recent predecessors who had been unapologetic of their responsibility of the Empire. Qudsia Begum and Nawab Javed Khan became the rulers of the Empire. While Ahmad Shah was a puppet king engaged in petty pleasures, he had slowly retired to a large pleasure garden that he had built. Qudsia Begum single handedly would take the responsibility of the Empire and

Presently, the greenery of the area most of which is taken over by the development authorities and established a home to beautiful birds, residence for squirrels and an exotic splash of lush foliage, which overlooks the Inter State Bus Terminus. Of all the original structures, only a few remain which are the main western gateway, a mosque, and a garden pavilion. They carry the scars of the revolt of 1857 war. The walls of the pavilion and structures scream out of the negligence of the later Mughals to be able to hold on to their power.

A walk in the garden pavilion will let you stumble upon the handsomely built mosque, which sits on the raised platform and built of think bricks, introduced by the British, and were called Lakhori Bricks. The mosque is characterized by the three bulbous domes, topped with sandstone lotus finials and surmounted upon an equal number of bays that are punctured with arched openings.
The mosque is adjacent to the busy road, which was once over the course of the river Yamuna. A colonial era building, it was built around the earlier Mughal pavilion, and it was once said that the original stable house for the horses of Qudsia Begum.

The House of Knowledge, a 14th century Complex!

Hauz Khas is probably one of the most elegantly designed structures in Delhi’s architectural history, which nestles amidst a beautiful landscape and calm quiet ambience, with immense greenery and the effervescent beauty of the lake, this is the most popular hangout for the youngsters and photographers. Built in 13th century, it is one of the oldest structures of Delhi, which is still vibrant because of the heart throbbing activities that happen in the place.

Hauz Khas was known as Hauz-e-Illahi when it was constructed by Allauddin Khilji, was further raised by Feroz Shah Tughlaq as a knowledge city and a center of excellence which also served as the city for the servants where refugee intellectuals would take shelter, while fleeing from the onslaught of the Mongols.
The entire beautiful complex of Hauz Khas consists of a madrasa, which is L shaped, three domed structure, conspicuously called as the Assembly Hall for a lack of better understanding of its use, a Mosque which is near the Assembly Hall, all of which is overlooking the Hauz-e-Illahi later, when renovated by Feroz Tughlaq was called as Hauz Khas. The Madrasa built almost 25 years after Tughlaqabad was abandoned.
A unique feature about the complex, is the madrasa has a protruding mihrab wall onto the lake where the scholars can overlook the calm waters.
A poet from the Tughlaq court writes about the madrasa “The moment I entered the blessed building..its fragrance possessed the odour of amber, hyacinths, basils, roses, tulips.” & on the food: “..pheasants,herons, fish.. heaped everywhere & students sat cross-legged on carpets brought from Shiraz & Yemen..”
Jalal Rumi was the first principal of the Madrasa, who had a knowledge of 14 sciences and all 4 Quranic recitals. With some intense academic seminars and discussions happening among the students and the learned professors under the very roof, the place had a lively environment.
Unani medicine is believed to have originated in Ancient Greece but it had been passed on to many universities in Samarkand, Tashkent and brought to India finally by the refugee scholars, who would come to the Madrasa.
A place which would be lively with debates, discussions, Feroz Tughlaq chose this particular place for his final resting in the city of Mehrauli, away from his own city of Ferozabad. The Tomb is the most intricately carved tomb built with a band around of Quranic scriptures and stucco medallions which were later decorated by Ibrahim Lodhi, the dome especially is an exquisite site to watch. The best part about the tomb structure is the courtyard which served not for defense but for a place to sit and relax, unlike his ancestors from Tughlaq kingdom was something which catches the eye of a local.

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