City Monument – Sunder Mahal, Sunder Nursery
A palace of light.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Soft summer light is entering the dark cool corridor as discreetly as a dream invading somebody’s afternoon siesta.
This is without doubt one of the most beautiful places in Delhi to experience the daylight’s playfulness. Sunder Mahal in Central Delhi’s Sunder Nursery is a 17th-century sandstone edifice. It is named as a palace but it’s actually a tomb–though the tomb in the underground grave chamber is missing. Nevertheless, a connoisseur of monuments will be delighted to loiter around in this lesser-known souvenir of Delhi’s past, especially after its recent restoration by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
The place is a somber shrine to luminosity. This afternoon the daylight is sneaking into the monument through its doors and vaults, and spreading about effortlessly into the darkened corridor. Both the light and the darkness are merging and getting entwined with each other, like a couple in love.
In some places you wade into shaded regions patched with pearls of lights. The effect is other-worldly.
It’s completely silent except for bird sounds coming from outside.
As the day dims and the afternoon transforms into evening, the magical architecture conceived out of light-and-darkness starts to fade and the spell dissolves. But it reconstructs itself the following day.
To the lighthouse