Friday, 26 November 2010

Dadi-Poti ka Maqbara

Location - Hauz Khas/Green Park (Map location here)

Co-ordinates - N28 33.208 E77 12.226

Closest Metro Station - Hauz Khas/Green Park (Yellow Line)

Landmark - Aurobindo Market
The Dadi and Poti tombs from the entry gate

Just as the road turns in towards the Hauz Khas village, rounding the corner around the Aurobindo market, a look to the right transports the scene to the 15th century. On the left of me, across the road is the Aurobindo market. I was in the market at the Midlands book shop, trying to hunt down 'The Hall of a Thousand Columns' by Tim McIntosh Smith. The book traces the 8 year journey of the great Moroccan traveller Ibn Batuta in India and derives its name from a hall in the Tughlaqabad palace which Batuta has eloquently described in his journals. Just as I left the book shop and walked out a little further up towards Hauz Khas village, there was blinding light on the right. It was already dark and I could see 2 monuments bathed in orange light. The domes atop them were lighted puprle. Intrigued, I entered through the black iron gate.

The tombs lighted up in the night

The complex houses 2 tombs, one fairly larger than the other. The larger, Dadi ka Maqbara, dates to the Lodi period while the smaller, Poti ka Maqbara is from the Tughlaq period. The original names of the tombs are not known, nor is anything known about the people buried in. It is said the tombs derived their current names much later and owe this to the disparity in their sizes (Dadi is grandmother and Poti is granddaugther in Hindi).

The tombs from the North

Dadi ka Maqbara - 15.86 metres X 15.86 metres in dimension, dating to Lodhi period, this is the larger of the 2 tombs. The northern and southern walls have arched entrances and 2 levels of 4 arched niches each, giving it a 2 storey appearance from the outside, which is typical of many Lodi period tombs. Inside, the structure is square at the base. As the walls rise, its get octagonal, then hexagonal and finally 32 sided before the sides merge seamlessly to form the round of the dome. There are unidentified graves inside.

From the North East

From the complex's entry gate

Same shot, different time

One of the corners inside the Dadi tomb

Poti ka Maqbara - smaller in size at 11.8 metres X 11.8 metres and with sloping walls typical of the Tughlaq period, this structure is a bit of an enigma. Tombs traditionally have their entrances to the South and as such, the south face gets the maximum artisan attention. However, the south face here is plain. The north face on the other hand is ornately decorated, though the decoration has blackened with time and lack of care. The dome on the top is supplemented by a lantern shaped structure, possibly to hold a lamp. As with the larger monument, there are unidentified graves inside.

The carving (blackened on the top and sides) on the north face of the Poti ka Maqbara

Looking through the South entrance with shadows in the night
The lantern structure on the top of Poti ka Maqbara
Poti ka Maqbara glows in the night
As the evening descends, the lights put up by ASI come on and give them a surreal look. Watching them from the road outside is like looking back in time. From seeing a black Mercedes flit past you to these serene structures which have seen it all for the last 6 centuries. To think that the man whose adventures I was trying to find the book for could have possibly overseen (or atleast seen) the building of these monuments 6 centuries ago!!


  1. i have been to this place. remarkably serene...

    nice work boss. keep it up. all the best!

  2. Thanks..I lived nearby for years but had not seen them in the dark!

  3. Very nice description of the place. The tombs seemed to be haunted.