Sunday, April 21, 2013

Abode of Spirits

Ferozshah Kotla

Today world know this place as a cricket stadium, in fact it is one of the esteemed international cricket grounds in India. But just beside this stadium lies the fortress built by Sultan Ferozshah Tughlaq. Like many other monuments of Delhi, it is lying there unnoticed. I had heard first about Feroz Shah Kotla through a television programme regarding monuments of Delhi and was quite fascinated by the myths and stories of this place.

Originally it was a fortress built by Sultan Ferozshah Tughlaq to house his version of Delhi city called Ferozabad. A large enclosure of high walls, Feroz Shah Kotla was the grand and opulent royal citadel of the city. Many visitors like Timur and others have given splendid descriptions of this fortress. But unfortunately, most of its beauty is gone today.

It houses Palaces, Pillared halls, a pigeon-tower and a Baoli (stepped well) some of which are still in good condition. But the two most interesting structure personally my favourite are The Jami Masjid and The Ashoka’s Pillar.

Jami Masjid was the largest of the seven mosques built in Delhi during Tughlaq's reign. According to Franklin who visited the mosque m 1793, it had four cloisters, the domed roofs of which were supported by 260 stone columns, each about 5m high. The centre of the courtyard lay under an 8m high brick and stone octagonal dome. Though none of it exists today, still the remains give a glimpse of its rich structure and an era bygone. A beautiful structure indeed and the most important fact about this mosque is that it is still functional. And one can offers prayers here.

The Asoka’s Pillar from the 3rd century B.C. rises from the palace's crumbling remains, one of many pillars left by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka. It was moved from Pong Ghati Ambala, Punjab (currently in Haryana) placed here in 1356.

Beside these, the most interesting fact about this place is that people come here to light up diyas and incense sticks. It is considered as the abode of Djinns or spirits. I don’t know from where and when this belief has come into existence, but it’s very evident. Believers come here to ask for the completion of wishes.  Some people even leave written requests. The steady stream of believers assures that wishes are being granted by the Djinns.

Thursday is the day when most people come with their petitions and leave offerings. Either it be the curiosity of people (like me) or the faith, whatever the reason may be, people do visit this place. But like many other places of it is lying there unnoticed and needs proper maintenance and repairing.