Lodhi Garden in Delhi: The Complete Guide
Delhi's abundant parks provide a refreshing retreat from the city, and the Lodhi Garden is the most extensive.
This vast 90-acre expanse is dotted with the remains of a variety of historical monuments from the 14th-century Tughlaq dynasty (which ruled the pre-Mughal sultanate of Delhi) to the 16th-century Mughal period, making it a popular place to wander. . in addition to relaxing.
Plan your visit with this comprehensive guide to Lodhi Garden!
The British developed the Lodhi Garden in 1936 as a scenic setting for the monuments, which were surrounded by a town called Khairpur.
Lady Willingdon (wife of the then Governor-General of India, Marquis of Willingdon) designed the garden.
It was named Lady Willingdon Park in her honor, but the Indian government renamed it Lodhi Garden after independence from the British in 1947.
The name reflects the prominent monuments in the gardens of the Lodhi dynasty, the last ruling dynasty of the Sultanate of Delhi.
Lodhi Garden received a major renovation in 1968 by American landscape architect Garrett Eckbo and acclaimed architect Joseph Allen Stein, who also designed many iconic buildings near it.
The works included the incorporation of a greenhouse for growing plants and a pond with a fountain.
Other specialized sections, such as a bonsai park and a rose garden, were later created in the garden.
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A mysterious tower is considered the oldest structure in the garden, although not much is known about it.
Historians believe that it may be part of a walled complex belonging to the Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1413).
Unfortunately, the wall no longer exists.
Most of the monuments in Lodhi Garden date back to the successive Sayyid and Lodi dynasties, when the area was their royal burial ground in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The oldest of their tombs are those of Sultan Muhammad Shah Sayyid, the third ruler of the Sayyid dynasty.
His reign lasted from 1434 until his death in 1444. The tomb was built in 1444 by his son, Alauddin Alam Shah Sayyid, and is the only remaining legacy of the garden dynasty.
Not long after the death of Muhammad Shah Sayyid, the Lodhi dynasty took control of the Delhi Sultanate in 1451, and the founder Bahlul Lodhi easily replaced the ineffective King Sayyid.
It was during the reign of his son Sikander Lodhi, from 1489 to 1517, that the most outstanding monuments in the garden were built.
These are the Bara Gumbad (great dome) complex, Sheesh Gumbad (mirror dome), and the tomb of Sikandar Lodhi.
The Lodhi dynasty and the Delhi Sultanate came to an end in 1526, when the invading Emperor Babur defeated Sikander Lodhi's son, Ibrahim, during the First Battle of Panipat and established the Mughal rule in India.
The new Mughal emperors made less of an impression in the Lodhi Garden than they built his tomb in grand style elsewhere. (Emperor Babur's tomb is near Kabul, Afghanistan, Humayun's tomb is a few kilometers east of the garden, and Akbar's tomb is on the outskirts of Agra, where he had his capital.)
However, the garden has a rare structure that is preserved from the golden age of the Mughal Empire, made during the reign of Emperor Akbar (1556-1605).
This sturdy arched stone bridge, named Athpula because of its eight pillars, was built on a tributary of the Yamuna River (now a lake).
The restoration of the monuments in the Lodhi Garden has been underway for the past decade and is currently being carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India.
How to get there
Lodhi Garden is situated between Safdurjung's Tomb and Khan Market, in the heart of South Delhi, on the border with Lodhi Estate.
By road, it can be reached in about 20 minutes from Connaught Place in New Delhi.
If you don't have your own vehicle, rickshaws and app-based taxi services like Uber are popular options. Alternatively, you can take the Delhi metro train.
The main entrance to the garden, known as Gate 1 or Ashoka Gate, is located on Lodhi Road.
Free parking and toilets are available. The closest metro station to this entrance is Jor Bagh on the Yellow Line.
From there it is about a 10-minute walk. Some Delhi Transport Corporation buses stop right in front of this entrance.
Lodhi Garden has another entrance (gate 4) on the Khan Market side, about a 15-minute walk from Khan Market subway station on the Violet line.
There are also several smaller entrance doors around the periphery of the garden.
The garden is free to enter. It's open every day from sunrise (5 a.m. or 6 a.m., depending on the time of year) until sunset, around 8 p.m. However, avoid Sundays if you are looking for serenity.
Locals gather there to hang out and it gets very crowded.
What to see and do there
Health-conscious Delhi residents start their day early at Lodhi Garden with activities like yoga, running, and biking.
If you want to participate in yoga there, book a full two-hour morning class led by Vidhi of Awaken Inner Buddha Yoga and Meditation.
The monuments are the main attraction of the garden. If you are particularly interested in history, you may want to visit them on a guided walking tour.
One of the best options is the Sayyids and Lodhi Legacy tour offered by Delhi Walks.
Delhi Heritage Walks also run regular group walking tours of the Lodhi Garden (or take one of their private tours).
Enter the Lodhi Garden through the main gate and turn left, and you will reach the tomb of Muhammad Shah Sayyid.
It features an octagonal design and elegant Indo-Islamic architecture with small Hindu-style chhatris (domed pavilions) around its distinctive central dome.
There are other graves within the tomb, probably belonging to family members.
Go back along the way and you will find a small mosque from the 18th century between the tomb of Muhammad Shah Sayyid and the Bada Gumbad complex.
This complex, which sits on a raised platform, is one of the largest and most beautiful monuments of the Lodhi era in Delhi.
Its imposing main domed structure is believed to have been the gateway to the attached mosque, built-in 1494, as it lacked a tomb. Look closely to admire the incredibly intricate decorative details on both buildings.
Around the corner from the mosque, there is also a minaret that resembles the Qutub Minar in Delhi.
In front of the mosque is a domed pavilion that was apparently a guest house. It is known as Mehman Khana.
You will see Sheesh Gumbad in front of the Bada Gumbad complex.
This building contains several unidentified tombs and some historians claim that it may be the tomb of the founder of the Lodhi dynasty, Bahlul Lodhi, who died in 1489.
Of note are the blue tiles, which once covered much of its exterior, including the dome.
Sikandar Lodhi's tomb is north of Sheesh Gumbad. The tomb itself is not really impressive compared to the others.
In fact, it is very similar to that of Muhammad Shah Sayyid, without the chhatris on the roof. However, it is surrounded by a substantial protective wall that has an elaborate portal.
To the right of Lodhi's tomb is the lake with Athpula from the Mughal era covering part of it.
If you head out from this end of Lodhi Garden, near the Khan Market, look for the old wrought iron gate that opens onto Rajesh Pilot Marg.
Its stone pillars bear historical inscriptions of the garden's inauguration, which read "The Lady Willingdon Park" and "April 9, 1936."
There are some smaller monuments near the entrance, Gate 3, on the west side of the garden.
The tower is on one side, and the ruins of a late Mughal-era wall gate and a small mosque are on the other.
In addition to the monuments, several attractions for nature lovers are scattered throughout the garden.
These include the Bonsai National Park (near Gate 1), the greenhouse (next to the grave of Muhammad Shah Sayyid), a butterfly park and a herb garden (around the mosque between the grave of Muhammad Shah Sayyid and the Bada Gumbad complex), a rose garden (next to the wall portal and the mosque) and the duck pond (on the lake).
Lodhi Garden is also home to nearly 30 species of birds.
If you are interested in learning about the trees at Lodhi Garden, scan the quick response (QR) code for many of them with your smartphone.
What to do nearby
Hungry? Dine at Lodi - The Garden Restaurant just outside Gate 1. It serves eclectic world cuisine in its atmospheric garden.
There are many other great places to eat in nearby Lodhi Colony and Nizamuddin, as well as the trendy Khan Market.
Lodhi Colony is known for its vibrant street art murals on the buildings between Khanna Market and Meher Chand Market.
Lovers of handicrafts can also visit the boutiques at Mehar Chand Market.
Do you want to see more graves? Safdarjung's Tomb, Humayun's Tomb, Najaf Khan's Tomb (commander-in-chief of the Mughal army), and Nizamuddin Dargah are located in the area.
Additionally, there are many lesser-known Mughal-era sites at the Lal Bangla complex, sandwiched between the Delhi Golf Club and the Oberoi Hotel.
Culture lovers should stop by the India Habitat Center on Lodhi Road, next to the Lodhi Garden.
It has a visual arts gallery, exhibitions, and regular cultural events. Tibet House is recommended for those who are interested in Tibetan culture.
This five-story building on Lodhi Road was built by the Dalai Lama in 1965 and has a museum, library, resource center, gallery, and bookstore.
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