City Monument – Khooni Darwaza, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg
The home of headless ghosts.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Khooni Darwaza means ‘bloodied gateway’ and legend has it that blood drips from its ceilings during the monsoon.
Built by Sher Shah Suri in 1540 it is in the in the middle of the four-lane Bahadurshah Zafar Marg connecting New and Old Delhi.
It was originally named Kabuli Darwaza, when Kabul-bound caravans left the city through its arched entrance. The gateway, 15.5 m high, took its present name after the Mughals started displaying the heads of executed criminals from its battlements. Soon it became a popular place to hang the body parts of unwanted princes.
Emperor Aurangzeb displayed his brother Dara Shikoh’s head at the gate. Prince Dara was to succeed Shahjahan as the ruler of Mughal India.
After the British crushed the 1857 uprising, they killed the sons of the last Mughal Bahadur Shah Zafar at this gateway. It is believed that the restless spirits of Zafar’s sons still float around in the ruin.
But snooping around this ghoulish ruin is not so easy. The staircases reaching to three different levels within the gate are closed to visitors. Good luck with your ghost spotting.
Where Opposite Maulana Abul Kalam Medical College, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg Nearest Metro Station Pragiti Maidan Time Sunrise to sunset
Don’t be scared
Look, Dara’s head!
United colours of Khooni Darwaza
Hunting for ghosts
Stained with blood