City Monument – Khirki Mosque, Opposite MGF Mall, Saket
Delhi’s romantic ruin.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
With its blackened walls, collapsed domes, and a covered hall in which natural light plays hide and seek, this is Delhi’s most romantic ruin. One of the seven mosques built in the 1370s by Khan-i-Jahan Junan Shah, prime minister to ruler Feroz Shah Tughlaq, the double-storeyed marvel got its name from the red sandstone grilled windows, or khirkis, that line its walls.
A domed sloping tower guards each of the four corners. Tapering minarets flank the domed gateways at the centre of each side. The pillared hall, with 25 squares, is the highlight. A visually delicious jumble of arches and domes, it takes its dim light from the khirkis, as well as four open courtyards. The Mecca-facing western wall has no window and so is darker and mustier. There, the bats, hanging from the ceiling, make a chee-chee sound that echoes off the pillars.
The roof, accessible by staircases on the eastern gateway, has 72 domes (nine have collapsed). They are rendered more beautiful by the juxtaposition of the surrounding skyline of the Khirki village, which grabs attention by its breathtaking ugliness. Across the road is the glass-paneled MGF Mall.
The hidden world