A detour through the garden

Detail in the parapet of the tomb of Mubarak Sayyid


The entrance to the Lodhi garden from the Lodhi road is called gate number 1. Very close to this, and overlooking Lodhi road is the tomb of Muhammad Mubarak Sayyid. Having become an avid walker-through-Lodhi-garden this week, I found twenty minutes to walk through the garden between breakfast and the meetings, so I walked up to this structure. At first sight it is a simple enough ruin. Once you start looking at the details, it is no longer so simple.

lodhitomb-domeFirst, you see the glorious full dome. I learnt from Percival Spear the difference between a full dome and a half dome. The outline of a full dome traces out a semi-circle. The outline of a half dome is less than a semi-circle. This full dome sits on a cylinder (called a drum) lying above a building base in the shape of a regular octagon. The dome is surmounted by a lotus flower, and surrounded by smaller domes called chhatris. The purpose of the chhatris is to draw attention from the drum.

lodhitomb-calliThe railing around the drum is beautiful: full of abstract geometrical relief and Persian writing worked out in plaster. The morning sun lit up parts of the railing, throwing the plaster work into relief. I wish I could read Persian/Arabic, so that I could decipher the beautiful plaster work. You can’t call this calligraphy; should one call it plaster writing instead?


The graves inside the tomb are simple affairs: sporting writing which I cannot read. A verandah runs around the octagon. The pillars form lovely vaultings across the ceiling. I noticed that thse vaults are beautifully decorated. I took a photo of one of these decorations, and then decided I had to hurry on to my morning’s meeting.

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.


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