Delhi is a city of contradictions like no other. Home to many architecturally modern buildings it also houses monuments from across the centuries among its midst. Delhi has so many facets that though I have been living here for years it still is an enigma of sorts. so when I chanced upon an opportunity to discover the city of jinns, I jumped out of the bed at 6.30am….hangover of saturday night notwithstanding.
A couple of us met at the gates of Kotla Firozshah to explore the trail of genies and the lost city of firozabad built by Muhamad Tughlaq. (Aside:The first thing that always jolts me is the entrance fee to these breathtakingly awesome monuments…5 bucks…come on now charge more and maintain more.)
This was my first visit here and I was amazed to realise that one has crossed this place so many times without really noticing it. another example of me living in a limbo.
On entering the fort the fragrance of many incense sticks, the tranquility around the area, and the greenery envelops you. There are nooks and crannies, all around and in the fort where the faithful have tied threads, lit incense and offered pots of milk and kheer to appease the jinns living here. Some have pasted and tucked in their petitions praying for the fulfillment of their desires. Interestingly the petitions are in urdu, hindi and even english…like love faith transcends language.
A little gyan about our Sultan Tughlaq (1351-88)- he was a keen builder and is also merited with constructing 2 levels of Qutab Minar (the ones in marble) that were destroyed earlier by lightening. He mobilized the transfer of 2 Asokan pillars that are in Delhi. One pillar takes pride of place in this compound itself. By the way he was also the first Sultan to have started the jaziya tax on Hindu population.
Kotla Firozshah has 3 main structures Jami masjid, a baoli or a stepwell, and Asokan pillar.
The mosque is raised above ground level and on each side below is a colonnade giving access to the vaulted chambers, this is where most petitions for the jinns are stuck on the walls.
On moving out from here we came across the structure that is believed to be built to support the Asokan pillar from the 3rd cent BC . There are milk pots around here too and the resident kittens smirk at you when you cross them. A rickety and small gate where you have to duck to enter proves a challenge to the generously endowed. This leads you up the stairs and to the base of the pillar. Now like everything else this one too has a story as to how this was transported here. Our sweet guide told us that the entire city of Ambala was involved in one way or the other with or without choice in bringing the pillar down and transporting it safely to Firozabad. The huge monolitih sandstone pillar inspires awe and is about 13 mtrs high. Some used to call it the Bheema’s stick too. Inscriptions on the pillar include the Devanagri and Brahmi script.
The circular baoli is not open to public but our guide had taken the requisite permissions and the chowkidar Daya Shankar ji of the handled moustache opened it for us. The guide told us that permission is required now since this place has witnessed a couple of suicides too. The steps leading to the baoli are very dark and when we all along with Daya Shankar ji reached the baoli, prodded him on the existence of jinns…to which he passionately replied “arrey sir koi jinn nahi hota sirf deewar kaali pad jaati hai agarbatti se aur phir hum toh Hanuman Bhagat hain….bhoot pisach nikat nahi aave, mahavir jab naam sunawae.” This left the group in splits. However if you really do ponder yes the walls of this protected monument are turning all sooty black. There are many big fish in the baoli and when I was coming out I spotted too many bats …had I realized earlier I may not have stepped down.
One can also spot many eagles circling this place
as some jinns are fond of the non vegetarian stuff too. Jinns or no…the faithful or non believer…this place is beautiful and a must visit. Next time I may petition