MUHMMAD SHAHS TOMB
There exist several monuments of the Sayyid and Lodi periods in the old Lady Willingdon Park, now popularly known as Lodi Gardens.
The tomb of Muhammad Shah(1434-44), the third ruler of Sayyid dynasty, follows the typical octagonal pattern, with a central octagonal chamber, surrounded by verandahs, each side pierced by three arched openings with a running CHAJJA above them.
A sloping buttress occupies each angle of the structure. On the roof over the centre of each side is a CHATTRI, with its dome repeating the outline of the large central dome rising majestically from a sixteen-sided drum, with a turret at each corner. From the drum of the dome rises another series of turrets behind the corner-turrets.
The domes are crowned by a sprawling lotus, the other members above them now missing. The ceiling of the dome is decorated . Each side of the chamber has a beam-and-lintel doorway, although the main entrance is on the south. The openings of the doorways, as also of the outer verandah, were originally closed by perforated screens.
The chamber opening on the west was latter fully walled, so that it could serve as a mosque. There are eight graves inside, the central one among which is believed to be that of Muhammad Shah.
The general features of this tomb correspond with its precursor, Mubarak Shahs tomb but with its compactness on plan, high dome and matching CHATTRIS in short , with its better proportion it is more pleasing.
Above 300 m north-east of MUHAMMAD SHAH tomb lies the Bara-Gumbad, a square tomb with an imposing dome, turrets on corners and facades possessing a semblance of being double-storeyed. Arches and bracket and lintel beams are both used as spans here.
On the interior, it is ornamented with stucco work and painting, while on the outside the monotony of grey stone is relieved by the use of red and black stones. The person lying buried in it is not identified, but he must have been an officer of high rank during Sikandar lodis reign.(1489-1517).
Adjoining the Bara Gumbad on the west is the mosque, known as the Bara Gumbad mosque, which appears to have been erected as an adjunct to the tomb. Built with ashlar stone, the front of its rectangular prayer hall is faced by five arched opening, the central one sited in a projecting frame. Over the arches runs a chajja.
The three central bays of the hall are surmounted by low domes, the end-bays being covered by flat roofs. Oriel windows projecting on its north , south and on the west from the back of the mihrab bay , are features which distinguish the early Mughal mosques. The rear-corners and the sides of the mihrab projection are occupied by tapering minarets in the Tughluq style but seem to anticipate the octagonal towers of the early Mughal and Sur periods.
The mosque was built in 900 A.H (1494) during the reign of Sikandar Lodi (1489-1517) as seen from the inscription over the southern mihrab. The long hall infront of the prayer hall appears to have been raised at a later date as a mihman-khana or guest house.
SHISH GUMBAD lies about 50 m north of the Bara gumbad masjid. Architecturally, it follows the usual pattern of square lodi tombs with a double storeyed appearance and is not much different from the Bara-gumbad . its Western wall contains a mihrab, which serve as a mosque, but the other sides have a central entrance.
The ceiling is decorated with incised plaster-work containing floral patterns and Quranic inscriptions. Originally the tomb was richly decorated with blue tiles. This decoration, now surviving in traces, gave it , its Persian name meaning a ‘GLAZED DOME’.
It is not known who lies buried in this tomb, although there exist several graves inside it. Its was , however , built during the Lodi period, perhaps during Sikandar Lodi’s reign.
SIKANDAR LODI’S TOMB
This tomb lies about 250 m north of the Shish-Gumbad on the north-western corner of the Lodi Gardens. It is octagonal tomb, with a cntral octagonal chamber, surrounded by verandah, with each side pierced by three arches, and the angles occupied by sloping buttresses.
The CHHATRIS over its roof have disappeared. The mausoleum is surrounded by a square garden, enclosed within high walls, with a wall-mosque on the west and a gateway with outwork on the south, which impart it a dignified setting.
Writer has completed her masters (Specialization in medieval history) from Jamia Millia Islamia, department of history and culture.