City Monument – Unnamed Mosque, Lodhi Garden
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Let us go then to Lodhi Garden, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky. Here, you may watch the sun slowly dunk down behind the grass-topped dome of Sheesh Gumbad. Or, you may stand on the Athpula bridge to catch the departing sun fire up the talaab waters.
But sunset is not necessary to watch the park’s tenderest sunset. It is in fact best experienced when the sun is hidden behind the clouds, and all the colours of the world have grown a tad dull.
This afternoon, the sky is luckily overcast, and a humid mist has spread across the park. Everything is cloaked in a barely perceptible film of haze, making things look slightly unreal. In such an atmosphere, snuggled amid a bamboo grove, on the untamed acres between Muhammed Shah’s tomb and the lotus pond, a small mossy stone structure is glowing in red. The shade resembles a sinewy paleness that washes through the evening sky mostly at that precise moment when the sun is to vanish. The sight is exquisite. Did a magician’s claws wring out the ephemeral light of yesterday’s evening, and splash it crudely upon the monument?
A display board identifies the edifice to be the remains of a Lodhi-era mosque “most portions of which have now disappeared.” Inside, it is dark and musty. A section of the wall is embedded with an intenser tinge of red. It is emitting a fuzzy radiance, like that of a sea surface when it smoulders an incarnadine red due to the extensive blooming of its underwater algae. You have to be here to believe it.
An ideal evening sky feels precious not only because of its roseate illumination but also because the viewer is aware that such a colour is too fragile to last. But on these stones, that same colour has found a forever home.
A sunset ruin