City Monument – Madhi Masjid, Mehrauli
So beautiful, so ignored.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Monuments aren’t only about stones, not always. Sometimes they are more about air and sky.
Such is the case with Madhi Masjid in Mehrauli. Close to Jain Mandir Dadabari, the Lodhi-era mosque is tucked away in a tiny garden. A picturesque stone gateway leads into a sprawling courtyard that hits you with an outdoorsy spread so intensely intimate that the sky seems like roof and the air as palpably tangible as thick jelly.
One of the most beautiful of Delhi relics, the forlorn mosque lies ignored by all but some. This evening the yard is teeming with parrots and pigeons—they are milling around excitedly like North Indian vacationers on a Goa beach. Soon enough other diversions take over the senses, especially the mosque’s mihrab, or the niche, on the faraway west-facing wall. This arched edifice is embellished with a series of little alcoves and looks gorgeous in a most fragile way making you fear that a strong breeze might blow away the entire thing like a papier-mâché Taj Mahal.
Soon the sun’s gone and the courtyard gets marooned under the sky’s dimming light. The birds too leave. There is no one left here except for a few young folks lounging inside the gateway. These boys live in the vicinity but have no clue about the building. They are all in fact glued to their cellphones, leaving the old monument to its air and sky.