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Enshrined in Mughal era's charm

Nov 27, 2013, DHNS 20:09 IST

Magnificence

The airy enclave of palatial Qudsia Bagh, built in 18th century, is a place for evening revellers today.

A wisp of magnificence is palpable in its air. Once Yamuna chartered its course alongside this Mughal garden, breezing in air through its corridors. Though the river changed its course, the garden still dots with men playing cards, labourers catching up their noon’s nap, and tired travelers.

A mosque, a gateway and some domes carved in diamond-cut style, is what remains of the sprawling palace of Qudsia in Qudsia Bagh made under Mohammed Shah Rangeela’s wife, Qudsia Begum in 1748.

Qudsia was a dancing girl who won over the heart of the Mughal emperor Mohammed Shah and gave birth to Ahmed Shah who went onto be the emperor’s heir after his death in 1748. Qudsia Bagh bore the brunt of the British forces during the siege of 1857. Perhaps, one can take down bricks and mortar, but the signature of splendor stays on.

A history enthusiast, Asif Khan Dehlvi of Delhi Karavan, says, “Qudsia Bagh is the same site where Britishers held their forces to attack the mutineers during the revolt of 1857. The masjid and the park surrounding Qudsia’s palace are intact and functional even now.” Romanticisingly, he adds that the palace was built around Yamuna in a way that it remained airy and ventilated from all the directions.

Though there’s no sign of Yamuna around the park now, the park still soothes a tired traveller looking for a place to take rest.The dome in one corner of the bagh is Qudsia Begum’s mosque that still remains a site of worship.

In its halcyon days, the bagh comprised a palace, a mosque, a summer house, and many varieties of fruits and flowers in its gardens. To picture the palace in its full glory and reminisce its splendour, find out a picture entitled, “Cotsea Bhaug” by English artistes, Thomas and his nephew who came down to Delhi in 1789.

As the bagh was torn apart during the revolt of 1857, the britishers took over to bring back its lost sheen. So, the Persian-style bagh also carries a british atmosphere to it, owing to their involvement in its management, thereafter. The erstwhile Persian garden was based on squares of fruits and trees with paths and running water in between.

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