While travelling in India, I became fascinated with the variety of patterns in its architecture. Historically, they’re mostly a legacy of the Sultanates and the Mughal Empire, and Islam’s tradition of non-figurative art. But interesting patterns can also be found in Jain, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and modern architecture, and also in natural forms.
These galleries collects all the photographs of patterns I took during my visit. I’m releasing these into the public domain. They are far from comprehensive, and others can be found in various places such as Wikimedia Commons.
How to get there: Take the yellow line metro to Qutub Minar. Then try to get one of the autorickshaw drivers there to take you. They’re only interested in the lucrative Qutub Minar metro to monument shuttle run business, so they won’t want to. Also they probably don’t know where it is. Find an old man who speaks a bit of English and tell him where you want to go. Let him explain to the suspicious auto driver. Agree an extortionate rate for the return journey. Set off at a snail’s pace, because the auto has a punctured tyre, which the driver forgot to mention before you agreed to the deal. Pull over at a tyre shop. Take the spare wheel, which also has a puncture, to be fixed by the tyre wallah. When this is done, replace the punctured wheel with the newly fixed spare wheel. Don’t bother with a jack; the driver can just lift up one side of his vehicle while the mechanic replaces the wheel. Set off again, this time at a more reasonable speed. Stop repeatedly the entire way to ask for directions from locals, most of whom have no idea where it is, either. When you see an unsigned dirt track through a wasteground, take it. Ask some more locals hanging around a building site / slum. Turn around and go back the way you came. Take a different unsigned dirt path which forks off the first. If you’re surrounded by overgrown scrubland and piles of rubble, and you’re wondering where the hell you’ve taken yourself, keep going. Now you’re there.
Hauz Khas’s calligraphic decoration is in dire need of conservation work. But you can get a good thin crust pizza next door.
Where: About 10km south of central Delhi. The yellow metro line goes to Green Park or Hauz Khas stations but both are 10 minutes’ walk to the complex itself. Have fun asking people for directions, as the whole area is called Hauz Khas as well so you’ll just confuse them.
Tomb features: The tomb is part of a larger archaeological site, the remains of a complex built by Sultan Alauddin Khilji (reigned 1296-1316) and renovated by Firuz Shah Tughlaq. So there’s a whole bunch of old ruins to look at. And a stagnant reservoir. Next to it there’s a modern complex of upmarket boutique shops, bars and restaurants, which I think is the main reason my friend who took me there likes it so much. And beyond that, there’s a deer park. The tomb itself isn’t much to look at from the outside. The ceiling’s ok, with some painted calligraphy, but it’s a poor state of repair.
Summary: If you like to combine your tomb viewing with a bit of clothes shopping and a latte, this is the tomb for you. Otherwise you can give it a miss.