Satpula :The Bridge of Seven Openings

On the main Press Enclave Road near Khirki Village, their is a interesting 14th century waterworks known as Satpula (`Seven Bridges’).

Satpula, a weir about 65m high, was built by Mohammad bin Tughlaq in 1323. When Mohammad bin Tughlaq ascended the throne of Delhi, he built a new city for himself called Jahanpanah.

Satpula or the weir is an impressive example of the waterworks projects carried out under the Tughlaq dynasty.

Satpula consisted of a solidly built stone dam with seven wooden sluices  to regulate the flow of water from an artificial lake (filled with rainwater) to the fields outside the city.

Satpula itself, with its solid walls and seven arched openings, has recently been restored by the Archaeological Survey of India. You can climb up onto the wide parapet and see the structure for yourself, but don’t expect anyone to guide you around—there isn’t likely to be anyone there. Satpula can be visited any time, and there isn’t any entry fee.

Delhi War Cemetery

 3rd in the series of ‘Things to do & see in Delhi before you die.
Deserted and lonely un-guarded entrance

How to reach there :
Proceed to Delhi Cantonment by taking the Ring Road in the direction of Naraina from Dhaula Kuan multi-level crossing and continue for 3 km to reach Brar Square traffic junction. There are roadside boards on both sides of this junction. Take a right turn over the railway crossing and after approximately 1km, you will find the cemetery on the right hand side of the road. Do not expect any one , not even a guard at this cemetery. Its totally deserted and a lonely place. Only crisp sound of birds will welcome you. And don’t surprised in case you find Love Birds too in the cemetery. The gates are permanently locked. So you have to jump over to get inside. Don’t’ forget to remove your shoes before you step in on well maintained grassy lawn as a respect to brave soldiers. And remember, this place is not a picnic spot.

Historical Information:
Delhi War Cemetery was created in 1951 when graves from many cemeteries in northern India were moved into the site to ensure their permanent maintenance. Among them are graves from cantonment cemeteries in Allahabad, Kanpur, Dehra Dun and Lucknow. There are now 1,022 Commonwealth casualties of the Second World War buried, or commemorated by special memorial, in this cemetery together with a number of war graves of other nationalities, mostly Dutch.
In 1966, 99 First World War burials were also moved into the cemetery from Nicholson Cemetery, Kashmir Gate, Delhi. This War Cemetery also contains the DELHI 1914-18 MEMORIAL, commemorating 153 casualties buried in Meerut Cantonment Cemetery where their graves could no longer be maintained.
More than 25,000 servicemen of the forces of undivided India died during the Second World War in non-operational zones.


Agrasen ki Baoli

Things to do and see in Delhi before you die.
Second in this series is Agrasen ki Baoli

Surrounded by business towers and posh residential buildings , Agrasen ki Baoli, a 14th century ancient step-well is a surprise for many. This baoli is a designated protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), is a 60 meter long and 15 meter wide with 104 stone steps descending into the well’s dried bottom . Its just close to Hailey Road near Connaught Place. Hardly 10 minutes walk from KG Marg.
Although there are no known historical records to prove who built Agrasen ki Baoli, it is believed that it was originally built by the legendary king Agrasen during the Mahabharat epic era and rebuilt in the 14th century by Agrawal community. Baoli or bawdi is a Hindi word for step well. Flanked on both sides by niches, chambers and passageways, have three levels.

As you enter, gurgling sound of hundreds of pigeons welcome you. Walk down the stairs and listen the silence. As you reach the bottom the skyline disappears and daylight fades.Centuries ago, this was a reservoir as well as a summer refuge for heat-stricken citizens, living in pre-Lodhi times.
There is no ticket for entrance but you hardly sees any visitors, except some love couples or people like me who spend most of the time on road and always interested to explore something new.
Where: Hailey Road, near KG Marg, Connaught Place Time 9am-5pm

Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

Things to do & see in Delhi before you die.

First in this series is Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, the shrine of the 14th century sufi saint.

Located at basti of the same name (Nizamuddin Basti), the Dargah is only accessible through narrow bylanes. In case you are coming here by car then park it on Mathura Road, next to Nizamuddin police station, and take a short walk. Normally crowded Basti streets are empty in the early morning.

Inside, candles are burning on a few unknown tombs jutting out from the floor. A pilgrim is sitting in meditative contemplation. The door to Hazrat Nizamuddin’s tomb is already open for the day. Sneak in to take a look (if you are a woman, peek through the stone jaalis for you will not be allowed in). Fresh roses are placed on the saint’s grave.


Built in the same courtyard and period, the Jamatkhana mosque, a few steps left to the Dargah, has a dozen odd people praying in front of its Western wall. Maybe it’s the pre-dawn darkness, or the moment’s sanctity, or the building’s historical worth or a mix of all, but the sights and sounds feel as illusionary as an early morning dream.

And when, the black sky above the Dargah’s Dome change to pale blue, the Dargah’s dome looks as heartbreakingly beautiful as my lover’s teardrop.

Nizam ke Khadim
Little kid enjoying Qawwalies

Bhangarh – An inexplicable experience

Put the word ‘Bhangarh’ in Google search and the first result you get is ‘Bhangarh is known for its ruins where nobody dares to stay after…’ you eagerly want to know Stay after…। What? Well the second result to your query makes it simpler॥’ Thats Bhangarh in Rajasthan, which is the most, haunted Place in India as per Archeological Survey Of India। “STAYING HERE AFTER SUNSET IS STRICTLY …’ What did you say? Come again। Yeah you read it right. The most haunted place in India and according to ASI board put up there you can’t stay here after the sunset. When it comes from the ASI and not the hearsay, you tend to agree with the statement. Yet the curiosity in you wants to know more. Why can’t I stay there after the sunset! And what’s this ‘most haunted place in India, C’mon, you must be kidding. This is 21st century and you are talking about Ghosts’!

My reaction was no different when my friend Ashwani Khanna, popularly known as ‘Ash’ in our bikers group mentioned this place to me. Not only this, he was too keen to visit this place and stay there as well. The biker in me, always looking for some excitement and new places, immediately fell for this one. I immediately booked my place with him. Now there were two of us and soon the word was circulated in our group (60kph) that when living for Bhangarh, twelve of us were ready to vroom on our bikes to the most haunted place in India.

On further research on the net we learnt that the place is somewhere on the way to Jaipur via Alwar. It sounded better since we were all from Delhi and it could be done on a weekend. On the set D day we started our exciting journey with a bit of qualm. Everyone was chirping yet somewhere the hesitation and uncertainty persisted in our minds. Thinking that the place is not far off, we started late and with leisure halts we kept on riding on a slow pace on the single lane state highways after crossing Alwar via sariska. By the time we made it to Bhangarh it was already dark. Finally we were there. The most haunted place in India. The next task was to spend the night there and get to the truth. As per the notice board of ASI, they would not allow us to stay there for the whole night. Since our primary reason to this place was to meet the ghosts and secondary to see the Bhangarh ruins. If we have to pass the night than why not amongst the ghosts, if they do exists. Immediately a plan of action was charted out. We had come prepared with three tents for the night stay. We divided ourselves into two groups. The first will go and look for the place to pitch the tents inside the ruins and second to go and arrange the food from the nearby dhaba (approx. 1 km from the ruins).

The first group went on and reached the main entrance of the Bhangarh ruins. It was pitch dark and not soul around. We went near the gate and saw a shadow walking towards us. Oh my, was that a Ghost? We were getting ready for the any eventuality and waited patiently for the shadow, which turned out to be a Guard from the ASI. Soon another shadow, I mean the second guard also joined him and after the usual pleasantries both flatly refused to entertain us at that hour of the night informing us about the rule of entry restriction after the sunset. Now was the time to get the facts right. Are there any ghosts living here? Had they come across any such experience? Is it true that people who stays here do not go back alive? All these and many of other thoughts of ours going on in our mind were drowned with the buckets of cold water when both of them announced nothing such happened or happens. All these are rumours. But then why there is restriction on the entry after the sunset? Well, he announced very casually that it is because of the wild animals who probably comes to drink the water from the ‘kund’ within the ruins. Plus this rule applies to most of the places under ASI, isn’t it. How stupid of us! Why we didn’t ever thought on this angle. Now what. Somewhere in our mind we were still not ready to understand their point. After all we ripped off the whole world wide web to know if someone had stayed at Bhangarh ruins for the night and could not come across one single person claiming so and these guards are saying there are no ghosts. We ought to find that out ourselves. The next on the agenda became to pitch our tents there, which the guards had already politely refused. After much buttering and persuasion they agreed to allow us to pitch our tents near the gates to which we gladly agreed.

Everyone was relieved and with full throttle we starting inflating our tents and by the time the food arrived, the tents were up. It was already past 9 in the evening. We had our dinner and the group started discussing the ghostly world. All this went on till 2.30 am before we said goodnight to each other and also taking a good look towards the ruins in that faint hope of some hallucinate effects. Alas… nothing.

It was six in the morning and I heard some hollowing noise. Came out of the tent and it was our dear Langur running towards the ruins. I had the opportunity to have the glimpse of the ruins with the first ray of the sun and it was wow. The next couple of hours were spent clicking the early morning ruins of Bhangarh. It is about 34 kms from Dausa via Sainthal Mod, and 47 kms from Sariska, this place was once a flourishing town of 10,000 homes. According to legend, it was built in the 17th century by Raja Madho Singh, the younger brother of illustrious Man Singh (one of the nine gems of Akbar’s court). A quick look at the surrounding is enough to conclude that it definitely had a prosperous past. With a well planned bazaar and the famous Randiyon ka Mahal (Palace of Prostitutes) in the backdrop makes it a very fascinating sight. The palace in fact seems to be cross between a palace and a fort has definitely been built tastefully overlooking the green lawns and the temples. The temples are a treat to the eyes but seems to have been badly ripped off by the thieves till it came under the supervision of ASI.

Ghosts or no ghosts, a visit to Bhangarh is a must for every traveller. The route from Delhi is via Bhiwadi-Alwar-Rajgarh-Tehla-Bhangarh and the road is excellent.

Input & Photographs : Shekhar Patil