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QUDSIA BAGH: A walk in the park at a heritage bagh

Quest is a project conducted by The Indian Express in schools in and around Delhi. It covers more than 50 schools in Delhi and NCR...

New Delhi |
February 5, 2009 12:34:18 am

Students of St Mary’s School,Safdarjung Enclave,attend the walk at Qudsia Bagh,conducted by The Indian Express in association with Intach

A schools’ initiative from The Express Group
Quest is a project conducted by The Indian Express in schools in and around Delhi. It covers more than 50 schools in Delhi and NCR.

Quest aims at stirring awareness and opinions. Today,when all that children see are shopping malls and cineplexes,we at The Indian Express want to show a completely different picture of this city to them. Delhi has changed beyond nostalgia and recognition since Independence. How many of these kids know of the ‘Seven Cities’ of Delhi or the stories of the pigeon fliers of Old Delhi?

The idea behind such an activity is to create awareness about the various structures and monuments that the students do not know about. This is a specially designed programme,which will help the students appreciate the rich culture and background of this city. In association with INTACH and ASI,this is a small effort on our behalf to depict a phase of our national life and the decay of a whole he students sending in articles,pictures,poems,paintings,and collages to express their experiences about the heritage walk.

Garden of glory
Qudsia Bagh was constructed by Qudsia Begum,the wife of emperor Muhammad Shah Rangeela,in 1748.

It is set in a typical Persian Charbagh style. The only remains of the Bagh are its imposing western gateway,the Qudsia Mosque and a couple of pavilions in carved red sandstone. The Qudsia Mosque was the private mosque of the emperor and his wife,and had been built in a very simple style surmounted by three-storied high walls. It was destroyed during the 1857 war. The gateway and the mosque were recently restored and efforts have been made to restore the garden to its original beauty.
Kajal kumari
CLASS VII-A

Mughal era,british style
On January 29,we visited Qudsia Bagh. It is located in Old Delhi. The bagh was named after queen Qudsia Begum,who had built the place .

The Bagh had several entrances,but only one survives till date. The Bagh had a three-storey high wall as its boundary,but it had been destroyed in the Revolt of 1857.

The entrance is built with red sandstones,plastered with limestone. Stucco work is done on the walls. It had cusped arches with floral patterns above. At the sides,there were two turrets.

British style of architecture is reflected in the Baradari,built with lakhori bricks,which is much thinner and finer than what we see today. The name “Baradari” was given because it had twelve doors.

Lastly,we visited a mosque that had three entrances called ‘bays’. A water tank,popularly known as the ‘Vazoo’,was built outside the mosque for devotees to wash their hands before offering prayers.

Walks through history like this not only teach us about our past,but also makes us proud of our rich heritage.
Meghna Goswami
CLASS VII-A

Qudsia Bagh: an ode to love
We went for a heritage walk to Qudsia Bagh,which enhanced our knowledge about the Bagh.

India was first ruled by the Mughals. Mohammed Shah Rangeela was one of them. He was known as Rangeela because he was interested in activities other than ruling. Udham Bai danced in his court; she later married him and took the title of ‘Qudsia Begum’.

In 1748,Rangeela died and his son Ahmed Shah became the king. The same year Qudsia Begum built the Qudisia Bagh. The royal family came to the Bagh for picnics and for hunting jackals.

Lakhori bricks were used in Qudsia Bagh,which were much thinner and flatter than the bricks used today. They used limestone plaster to carve designs made by hand,known as stucco work. The Mughals were fond of art and architecture and designed their buildings with cusped arches and plain arches. The mosque and the entrance are proof of their architectural prowess.

We later went to Baradari which is a pavilion and was used as a lodge. A three-storey wall surrounded this Bagh,but much of this was destroyed by Britishers in 1857 with cannon fire.

We finally visited the mosque which had three bays (large gateways) and was used by the royal family for prayers. Outside the mosque was a tank called Vazoo,where people washed their hands before praying.

The walk was a magnificent one which reiterated the duty of all citizens of India to save and to protect our national heritage.
Sanyukta Karmarkar
Class VII-A

Built to hunt,now city lungs
Qudsia Bagh was named after Qudsia Begum,who was a dancer in the court of Mohammad Shah Rangeela. She was earlier known as Udham Bai,and later married Mohammad Shah Rangeela,who died in 1748. The Bagh was also built in 1748. Jackal-hunting was an activity in the Bagh. Lakhori bricks were used to build Mughal buildings — these bricks are thinner and flatter compared to ordinary bricks.

There is a pavilion which was used for lodging by the royal families,known as the Baradari — 12 doors.

During the Mutiny of 1857,the British camped here and fired cannons at the three-storeyed high wall to kill the revolutionaries. They also damaged the walls of Qudsia Bagh.

There are onion-shaped domes on the top of the mosque. On each dome there is a carved lotus. Vazoo — a water tank was placed before the mosque to allow devotees to wash hands before offering prayers at the mosque.

As students and citizens of Delhi,we must visit these sites and involve ourselves in preserving them.
Ishita Singhal
CLASS VII-A

Travelling back in time
The world we see around us would be just a myth unless we improve the disastrous conditions of our monuments which give us a true picture of India’s spectacular culture and heritage.

This is a lesson we learnt as we walked down the lanes of Qudsia Bagh,built in 1748.

We saw a monument built by Qudsia Begum,the wife of Mohammad Shah Rangeela. We were also told that there had been a deep moat around the castle to prevent enemies from crossing the river.

We saw a small cottage made by Smith,a British officer. We also saw a mosque,where people were offering prayers and reading the holy book of Quran. We had just travelled back in time and imprinted its image in our minds.
Tanvi Sharma
CLass VII-A

We invite schools to be a part of this Express Group initiative. For queries mail to heritagewalks@expressindia.com

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