‘The tank is filled by the rains in the rainy season, and it supplies the people of the city with water throughout the year. When I had pitched my camp here, the princes and amirs…generals and officers, came to wait upon me and pay their respects.’
Water has been an important source for any civilizations to exist and survive. For its geographical positioning, Delhi may have suffered quite a lot in terms of natural sources of water, but the rulers of Delhi, knew the importance of reserving water for later use. Alauddin Khalji, was one of the prominent rulers from the Khilji dynasty, an ambitious man of his times, wanted to leave a mark in Delhi. He built a city right in the middle of the existing establishments of Qila Rai Pithora, Kilokhiri and Indraprastha. He named the city as Siri. His new capital was built in a certain manner to cater to the needs of every citizen. Khilji is probably remembered in history because of his schemes but also because of the huge water reservoir he had built on 70 acres of land, which he called Hauz-i-Ilahi, which we know presently as Hauz Khas.
When Firoz Shah Tughlaq, ascended the throne after the death of Mohammad bin Tughlaq in 1351 A.D., he started a massive reconstruction work. He was a man keenly interested in material heritage and antiquities. He repaired and re-excavated the Hauz-i-Alāi, re-named it as Hauz Khās manicured around 30 gardens in and around this area and many other old structures. Hauz Khās, so much admired by Amīr Timūr in 1398 lies towards the south-west corner of Sīri(the second capital of Delhi) presently in South Delhi. Under the Delhi Sultans, the villages surrounding Hauz Khās was also known as Tarabābād (the City of Joy). The great reservoir, was rectangular, measuring 600 by 700 metres, was over four meters deep. He also built a madrasa on the south and east sides of the reservoir and appointed his learned chief Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi in it. The madrasa was the center of Muslim theological learning in 14th century northern India and the chief educational endowment of the Tughlaq dynasty. Its construction must have been begun in 1352 and finally finished until 1388. The south side of the complex measures 76 meters in length and the east side 138 meters. Though Timur says that there were structures on all four sides of the hauz. The beautiful landscape of this areas is achieved through laying gardens to the east and south.
The garden also contained the tomb of institution’s founder and patron. The tomb of the founder stands in the southeast at the intersection of the two sides. This two storeyed building is covered by a massive hemispherical dome was flanked by two identical halls, now vanished except for the bases of their pillars. It is the reminiscence of Tughliqian architecture was originally covered with paint. In the southeast corner of the garden is low platform with several unidentified graves sites. At the north end of the complex is the madrasa’s mosque. It is built during the reign of Firoz Shah. The madrasa and its garden were nourished in multiple ways by the water of the hauz, and the tomb, as a memorial and a stepping-stone toward paradise, was supported by it as well. Seeking order and stability after the tumult of his uncle’s reign (Jalaluddin Khalji), the sultan created one of the most remarkable buildings in the history of medieval Islamic architecture and attracted to this great center of learning scholars and students from all over the Muslim world.
A blend of historical and commercial centre, Hauz Khas village has a long past. With heritage available in the form of several monuments clustered together and with fashionable boutiques and restaurants, join us and explore as to what makes this place a popular spot for food, fashion and with a history of its own.