The tale of Dhaula Kuan

Historical place

There are many places in and around Delhi which have either funny or weird names. For instance Khichdipur, Barakhamba Road or Dhaula Kuan. Why ‘Khichdi’pur, were people served khichdi here? Or where are the 12 pillars on Barakhamba Road?

What factors decide the names of these places? Like Dhaula Kuan is named after a well. The well is situated in a garden on the side of the road going to Palam Airport. It is a very old well with a broken ladder leading down to the water. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) who takes care of the garden has also installed a pump in it to irrigate the garden.
The water well is ancient and considered religious for many reasons.

If the local story is to be believed, then it is said that the water well was constructed by an Emperor called Shah Alam II. He ruled over India during the 1706-1806. His territory was small and he ruled from this very region of Delhi. Shah Alam II was a sturdy man who loved his adventures.

This is why he frequently went on excursions around his small kingdom. His kingdom was pretty small and it ranged from the Red Fort to the Palam region. His empire was sarcastically termed as ‘Sultanat-e-Shah-e-Alam, Az Dilli ta Pala’ (meaning his kingdom starts at Delhi and ends at Palam).

The neglected garden offers shady walks and a deserted watchtower where children can play. It is an ideal place for a picnic in the heart of the Capital, specially when the weather is pleasant. People can sit in the open or under the trees the whole day.

The well is over 200-years-old and is evident from the stones used to make it. Attempts have been made in recent times to repair its exteriors but in vain.

According to Mahavir Singh Rathi, one of the caretakers of the Jheel Park, “This well is very old and has a great history attached to it. But, sadly now the water level has gone down and people don’t use it anymore.”

Dhaula Kuan sits between Chanakyapuri and the Delhi Cantonment; the former is an affluent neighbourhood that is home to a number of embassies and the latter houses a number of military personnel and their families.

Major institutions and points of interest in the neighbourhood include The South Campus of the University of Delhi, including the Sri Venkateswara College and the Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College, The Army Public School, The Air Force Auditorium, The Army Golf Course and Springdales School.

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