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Zafar Mahal at Mehrauli

Zafar Mahal, one of the last known pieces of Mughal architecture in India, is located in the bustling Mehrauli region of South Delhi District. This historical structure built by Akbar Shah II, in the sun set years of Mughal Empire, is now more or less in a dilapidated state; it has been declared a protected monument under the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act of 1904 and is under renovation. Zafar Mahal is situated just 100 yards west of the Dargah-Qutb-Sahib of Khwaja Qutb’d-Din Bakhtiyar Kaki, the most popular land mark in the region.

Zafar Mahal is a three-storeyed structure built in red sandstone with a free use of marble, measuring around 50 ft across with an 11 feet x 9 inch opening at the entrance. An inscription on the main arch proclaims that the gate was added to the existing Mahal by Bahadur Shah II in the eleventh year of his accession in 1847-48 AD. A broad Chhajja built in the later Mughal style is considered its crowning feature.

Beyond the gate, a spacious arcade with arched compartments on either side runs for some distance due south, while another branches off eastward just inside the entrance. It is thought that the layout of these arcades was suggested by the Chhatta Chawk or vaulted arcade of the ‘Lahore Gate’ of the Red Fort.

A few steps down either arcade take one to the remains of the Mahal itself. Its ruined state and the unavailability of documents regarding its construction make it nearly impossible to deduce about the architecture. Even the ‘List of Mohammedan and Hindu Monuments’ issued by the Superintendent Archaeological Survey of India, Northern Circle, in March 1920 has nothing more than a couple of lines describing its apparent state. It is believed that the palace was built to be used by the Royals on their visits to the Dargah Qutb Sahib.

Zafar Mahal is located around 16 km south of Connaught Place, New Delhi.

Updated on 7th June, 2005
District: South Delhi


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