Lodhi Garden New Delhi – Heritage amidst Nature

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Lodhi garden in New Delhi is unique. It not only carries a few eras of the Delhi’s history in its folds but also is one of the rare historical places, which are living. This is not a place where only tourists come, walk around, click pictures and go back. Lodhi Garden is very much an integral part of the life of Delhi’s people.

Lodhi Garden - New Delhi
Lodhi Garden – Intersection of Heritage & Nature, Image – Shutterstock

Those who are fortunate to be living in its vicinity probably use it as their everyday walking garden. Young couples use it to spend time together, and other Dilliwallahs make a one-off visit to sit and breathe the fresh air here. History buffs come here to see the Lodi era tombs and mosques. Architects come to study the architecture of that time.

Lodhi Garden – Places to visit in Delhi

These days Lodhi Garden is the favorite haunt of photographers. They come here to click the picturesque locations, trees, and birds. Film-makers use it to depict the backdrop of Delhi. Master storytellers like Khushwant Singh sat here and wrote novels like The Sunset Club set entirely in Lodhi Gardens. Often called the lungs of Delhi, most people come here to spend some time with nature. Situated enviably between the Khan Market and Lodhi Road, it is easily accessible from both sides.

View of Lodi Gardens from one of the tombs
View of Lodhi Gardens from one of the tombs

Going by the aura around Lodhi Garden, I expected it to be big, but it is actually a mid-sized park spread in about 90 acres. There were two villages that existed around the monuments till early 20th century, one of them was called Khairpur.

History of Lodhi Garden

In 1936, the place was landscaped and the garden was created. It was named Lady Willingdon Garden, after the wife of the then governor-general of India. After independence, gardens were named after the dynasty whose remains still adorn it.

Garden was re-landscaped in 1968 and a glass house was added to it. Lodhi Garden has a natural terrain that goes up and down at places with big and small monuments punctuating the abundant nature. It has small and not so small ponds with flowers and birds and a Bonsai garden.

Lodhi Garden Walking Trail

My Lodhi Garden walk started from Khan market side. As you enter from the parking, the Athpula Bridge would be right in front of you.

Athpula Bridge – Lodhi Garden

Athpula Bridge at Lodhi Garden
The Athpula Bridge at Lodhi Garden

Athpula literally means 8 bridges. It was called so as it stood on 8 pillars forming 7 arches. The central arch is the biggest one with subsequent arches becoming smaller, giving a concave shape to the bridge.

As it stands today, you wonder where is the river over which this was built. The water surrounding the bridge is an artificial water body. Well, though the youngest monument in the Lodhi gardens, this bridge is still 400 years old, built during Akbar’s time by Nawab Bahadur over a canal that connected to the Yamuna. What is noteworthy about this bridge is that this is one of the rare imprints in Delhi from Akbar’s time.

Sikandar Lodhi Tomb

Sikandar Lodi Tomb at Lodhi Gardens
Sikandar Lodhi Tomb at Lodhi Gardens

Follow the paved path around the Athpula and you would see a fort-like a wall. You have to go around it to reach the gates of Sikandar Lodi’s tomb. Built in the early 16th century by his son Ibrahim Lodi, this tomb is in the typical octagonal shape of Lodi era. This tomb has an uncanny resemblance with Adham Khan’s tomb in Mehrauli, with three archways opening on each of the eight sides.

Tomb at Lodi Gardens, Delhi
Tomb at Lodhi Garden, Delhi

The inside of the tomb has a high dome, with a painted ceiling and beam and lintel entrances in red sandstone. Arches inside have geometrical designs in blue and green. The western wall gives an impression of being a mosque with a Mihrab like a recession. The walls enclose huge gardens that surround the main tomb building. The platform outside the entrance wall has two canopies.

Legend of Octagonal Tombs

Lodhi Gardens - New Delhi
Lodhi Garden – New Delhi

A legend says that Mughals thought of Lodis as traitors. In their era, the traitor’s tombs were made in the Octagonal style like that of Adham Khan’s. Another interesting point is that Sikandar Lodi chose to be buried in Delhi while he used to rule from Agra.

Sheesh Gumbad

Move a little ahead and you would see Sheesh Gumbad and bang opposite it Bara Gumbad. Now, these are square tombs from Lodi era. Sheesh-Gumbad was so called because its outer finish with blue enameled tiles gave the impression of being a mirror. Very few of these tiles survive now and the dome carries a bare look. A family seems to be buried in this tomb, which is fairly well preserved from the outside but is totally ignored inside.

Bada Gumbad or the Big Dome

Niches of Bara Gumbad, Lodi Gardens, Delhi
Niches of Bara Gumbad, Lodhi Garden, Delhi

Bara Gumbad has a mosque on one side and a Mehman Khana or guesthouse on the other. As you enter Bara Gumbad, you suddenly are hit by the sheer height of the dome. In the platform between the dome, mosque and guesthouse are some graves that probably belong to a later period. The Bara Gumbad mosque was the most pleasant discovery of this walk.

This mosque with three domes and five arches has the beautiful engraving of geometric designs and Arabic verses in the off-white color. It is a riot of incised plasterwork. It also has some of the best Squinches that I have seen in Delhi monuments. Interior of this mosque is pretty well preserved making it worth visiting.

Read More – Garden of Five Senses, Delhi

No one knows who are buried in these two tombs. But I guess it is safe to assume that these must be noblemen, going by the grandeur of these tombs. It is argued that Bara Gumbad is not at all a tomb, but a gateway to the mosque. But apparently, the graves have been found inside establishing it as a tomb.

Mohammad Shah Tomb

Mohammad Shah Tomb at Lodi Gardens
Mohammad Shah Tomb at Lodi Gardens

As you walk towards the Lodi road, you would see another majestic octagonal structure, with peculiar and ornate Chhatris or canopies on all around the octagon. These chhatris make the distinct element of this tomb, with everything else very typical of the tombs of that era. This is Sayyid dynasty’s Mohammad Shah’s tomb. It is the biggest structure in Lodi garden. The ceiling again has some elaborate circular painting in blue and red enclosed in a star-like formation. It makes a very photogenic tomb, as it is on a higher mound and is absolutely symmetrical.

Unidentified tombs at Lodi Gardens
Unidentified tombs at Lodi Gardens

Here and there you would see some grave platform in the gardens. It would almost feel as if you have come to meet all those who lay buried here. The dead do speak to you, not literally, but through the pieces, they left for the future generations, cast in stone carrying an imprint of their times. The monuments show the importance given to people after they died, not sure if in their lifetimes that were way smaller than the life of their tombs, if they got the same reverence and gratitude. I am not sure if they met as many people in their lives as they meet from their graves.

Intricate symmetric paintings in the ceilings
Intricate symmetric paintings in the ceilings

Birds of Lodi Gardens

You cannot miss Parakeets at Lodi Gardens
You cannot miss Parakeets at Lodi Gardens

While absorbing history, do not miss the present. A variety of birds live in Lodhi Garden and a lot more visit these Delhi Gardens during winters. In case you do not know much about the birds, there are elaborate boards to explain the various varieties of the birds that you can see here. Of course, the trees and plants are there to admire all around.

Read More – Birds in My Garden

I missed the Kos Minar built during the Sher Shah Suri’s time. You find them all along the Grand Trunk road that runs from Amritsar to Kolkata.

Travel Tips for Lodhi Garden New Delhi

Fountains at Lodhi Garden - Delhi
Fountains at Lodhi Garden – Delhi, Image – Vivvi Smak / Shutterstock.com
  • Entry to Lodhi Garden is free.
  • Lodhi Garden Timings are typically 6 AM to 7:30 PM. They may reduce a bit during winters.
  • You need at least an hour to see the garden properly. If architecture and birding interests you, you can easily spend half a say there.
  • The closest Metro Station for Lodhi Garden is Jor Bagh on Yellow Line. You need to walk for about 5 minutes or take an auto from there.
  • Lodhi The Garden Restaurant on the garden premises serves European and Mediterranian food. It is a high-end restaurant. You can always hop over to Khan Market for a bite.
  • Shoot the birds with your camera but do not feed them.

More Delhi Walks on IndiTales:

  1. Walking on the Walls of Lal Kot.
  2. Walk through the North Ridge of Delhi.
  3. Walking the South Mehrauli Trail.
  4. North Mehrauli: Ruins & Remains from across the Eras.
  5. Walk through the 1857 Revolution in Delhi.

19 COMMENTS

  1. really found the comments interesting in a place that so many people of Delhi take for granted but enjoy tbe immense beauty. Was amazed that the Yamuna actually flowed as far as Lodi gardens.

  2. much enjoyed your blog especially ‘Lodi Gardens’ My childhood memories are attached to this garden as we used to stay in Lodi colony…wanted to show-off to my son who is not a great fan of Delhi. He fell in love with this place! You and me have walked the same place on the same day… but missed each other – pity !

  3. You should also give a look at the red mosque and few high platforms with graves that lie near the cycle track. Further, the rose garden and the structures around it including a mosque are also worth a look.

  4. Lovely pictures – time is running out but I will make it point to visit the LODHI Gardens in Feb 2017, at the time of the a World Book Fair..

  5. Really a very beautiful place. The pictures are attractive and impressive. Right now I am in Delhi and I would like to visit this place soon.

  6. I love the way u write a blog in beautiful manner . The pictures are very amazing . The content is perfect. thanks for sharing this post

  7. I am also from Delhi and I feel Lodhi Garden is a great tourist point. We don’t have a lot of tourists knowing about Lodhi Garden and blogs like this will definitely attract more visitors to Lodhi Garden.

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