Sunday, May 8, 2016

Feroz Shah Kotla

Last week, I suddenly decided to take a day off and to visit a few places that remain unvisited in Delhi. One of these places is the Feroz Shah Kotla, the fort - citadel of Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlak, built in the mid 14th century. There is the international cricket ground adjoining of the same name, and although I had seen a Test match here, I could not visit the ruins of the fort earlier. 

These ruins are clearly visible from the elevated Ring Road that goes on to North Delhi, especially the Asokan pillar from the 3rd century BC that the Sultan had brought down from Ambala and installed on top of a pyramidal structure. Presently, the ruins consist chiefly of the ruins of the palace, the Jami Masjid, the pyramidal structure and the baoli, or step well.


Now begins the fun part. The palace ruins as well as the masjid and the pyramid have all a system of quadrangular cells at the base on all four sides

Many of these cells showed evidence of some rituals in their remains of incense sticks, vermillion marks and oil lamps. Even rose petals. Sheaves of paper were stuck up with pins. 

Creepy, isn't it? Turns out that the ruins are inhabited by a particular class of disembodied personages called djinns, who have the power to grant favours or whatever one wishes for. Thursdays are special for these purposes. Even the security guards said that their own prayers have been met!

It appeared that all these cells connected to some kind of a central hall or something but the gates have all been properly sealed off during conservation/ restoration work.

The Jama Masjid is now all in ruins but still in use for congregational purposes. 


View of the pyramidal structure from the masjid, with the Asokan pillar atop.

The pillar of Emperor Asoka is made of polished sandstone and his edicts are inscribed on them in the Brahmi script (3rd century BC). These edicts proclaim his policies such as the planting of trees, the right conduct, service to father and mother and the pastor, kindness and tolerance. Amazing, how a bloodthirsty conqueror converted to Buddhism and proclaimed that religion may be free from the persecution of men! "And that religion may be free from the persecution of men, that it may increase through the absolute prohibition to put to death (any) living beings or sacrifice aught that draweth breath."

Asokan Pillar Edict at the Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi
Well past 2.00 p.m, decided to go to the Tibetan refugee colony at Timarpur, about 8 kms away, for some wholesome food. The colony has turned much snazzier in the decades since I went for the first time but the Dalai Lama still rules the hearts and minds of the people here. Amazing once again, how Delhi has a connect with Buddhism 2400 years ago and the present day!


  1. Wonderful that you took a day off and went exploring. It sounds a fascinating place and one must feel the spirits there........did you ask one for a wish? Your photos are wonderful, and took me on a little trip I otherwise would never have made. Thank you. Always nice to see you posting!

    1. Thank you Sherry. I did not make a wish, for my wishes are not just one and then, I did not want to overburden the djinns as they appear to have a considerable workload at hand :)

  2. "Ghost Tours" are all the rage in the US these days. These ruins look like the perfect place to conduct one of these haunting tours. Are ghost tours popular in India?

    I had to laugh at your response to Sherry—yes, I'm sure the djinns have their hands full with all kinds of special requests!

    Thanks for another interesting historical tour.

    1. There are no regular Ghost Tours as such Rita. Haunted places there are, and in fact, very near to the fort of Feroz Shah, there is an old gateway which is called Khooni Darwaza or the Bloodied Gate, where an English officer murdered two sons and one grandson of the last Mughal Emperor. It is said that these souls still continue to seek revenge ....