Zafar Mahal: last structure built by Mughals in Delhi

Delhi is an amalgamation of many cities built at Different times, it is the history of Delhi which fascinates.

“No one belongs to Delhi but my city belongs to everyone.”

This necropolis has so much to offer, every nook and corner has a story to tell. Many aspects of the modern city are explored by exploring the old remains of the city.

The City has witnessed it all, it has seen both the Grandeur of the Pandavas and the fall of the mighty Mughal empire.

The wanderer in me, intrigued to go out and explore Delhi. There are Precisely 1307 Historical sites in Delhi, to my dismay majority of them lie in deplorable conditions, one of them is Zafar Mahal.

A mughal era Summer retreat, which also happens to be the the last Mughal monument of Delhi. Zafar Mahal was built by Akbar Shah II and the Royal gate was added by Bahadur Shah Zafar II, hence the name.



Hathi Gate


The monument has been encroached, the builders have used the walls of the monument to build another building. As per the rules of the Archaeological Survey of India this is illegal. The problem is to create community awareness. If we as a society recognise the importance of preserving our natural and Cultural heritage, half of our Problems will be solved.

I led a campaign ” I stand For Zafar Mahal. ” The campaign received good public as well as media response. Almost, all leading newspapers wrote about the encroachment at Zafar Mahal but the campaign failed to receive its objective.

Encroachment of the monument

The Summer Palace which was initially called the Lal Mahal, May have lost its glorious charm today but it should be our responsibility to Save the future of the past.

Our Monuments are our Gateways to the past as responsible citizens it is our fundamental duty to look after our Heritage. Not many are aware of the annual festival of Delhi called the “Phoolwalon ki Sair” or “Sair e Gulfaroshan.”

The origin of the Sair traces back to the era of the late Mughals, when Akbar Shah II’s son and Bahadur Shah Zafar’s Brother was imprisoned by the British. The mother prayed, if my son returns I will offer a Sheet of Flowers to the Dargah of Hazrat Qutubuddin Bhaktiyar Kaki next to Zafar Mahal in Mehrauli. Since then every year the festival is celebrated, with less pomp and Show but the flower sellers really look forward to this festival.

Another important aspect of the festival is a Pankha(Fan) of Flowers is also presented to deity yogmaya, the yogmaya temple is believed to be one of the oldest temples in Delhi. Ghalib has written in one of his couplets, Delhi is known for its phoolwalon ki Sair and without the festival the essence of Delhi will wither. The late Mughals usually visited Zafar Mahal during the phoolwalon ki Sair. look at the processions from the Zafar Mahal.

Unfortunately, today only the last remnants of Zafar’s summer palace survive. Bahadur Shah Zafar wanted to get buried inside Zafar Mahal next to his father and Grandfather’s grave but fate had something else for him in store, he was exiled to Rangoon separated from everything he loved, broken hearted, the last of the great Mughal emperor died in exile.


Moti Masjid







Grave in Zafar Mahal


The city’s relationship with the past will always intrigue me, the density of historic remains in Delhi, can keep anyone busy. As British historian Willaim Dalrymple puts it, ” Delhi has been quite clear about its superiority to the rest of the country. It was the seat of the Great Mughal and the place where most chaste Urdu was spoken. It believed it had the best- looking women, the finest mangoes and the most talented poets.”

Nobody can escape the cultural spectrum of the city. For all its fault, I shall never leave this city. Nothing can beat the morning walks at Lal kot walls, The assemblies of Jama masjid, the Qawaalis at Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Dargah, the night life at India Gate. Delhi has given me so much, My turn to Save and preserve its heritage and Culture.

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