Interesting Facts of History-Assorted (1)

1. Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban


Silver coins of Balban

1. Balban was very rigid about decorum. He never appeared in the court without his full regalia and royal paraphernalia.

2. Even his personal servant’s never saw him without his royal apparel, socks and cap.

3. Balban made a distinction between the high born and, the low born, and he refused to come into contact with the low born or to appoint them to any office in administration. He dismissed low born persons from all important offices.

2. Bagh i-Jud

Tombs of the Lodi Kings, near Delhi  1885

Old photo of Lodhi Graden aka Bagh i-Jud

Lodhi Garden aka Lady Wellington Park : The area was called Bagh i-Jud, in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Most of the tombs and mosques there go back to the time of the Sayyid and Lodi rulers of Delhi.

3. Royalty of a different kind


Sultan Qutbuddin Mubarak Khalji and Kurbat Hasan Kangu, the ruler of Malabar

a. A typical and complete hermaphrodite was Sultan Qutbuddin Mubarak Khalji (1316-1320). He occasionally dressed himself in female attire, embroidered with laces and adorned with gems, and went about dancing in the houses of the nobles like a typical hijra.

b. Similarly, Kurbat Hasan Kangu aka Hasan Gangu, the ruler of Malabar, often used to come to court (Darbar-i-Aam) dressed in the fashion of females. He bedecked his arms and neck with jewellery and ornaments.

4. Buwā Begam


Mother of Sultān Ibrāhīm Lōdī Afghān. After Ibrahim Lodhi;s death she was taken in Babar’s harem. She attempted to poison Bābar in December, 1526 (933H.) in the manner which is told in most of the histories. The Iqbāl-nāma adds the interesting detail that she was deported from India, and that on her enforced journey to Kābul she drowned herself in the Indus.

(Humayun Nama- By Gulbadan Begum)

5. Baghi-i-Alam ka Gumbad (Shihabu’d-Din Khan’s tomb-1501)


Bagh-i-Alam ka Gumbad, Deer Park, Hauz Khas, Delhi

During the reign of Sikandar Lodhi, in 1501 Bagh-i-Alam-ka-Gumbad (Deer Park, Hauz Khas, Delhi) was built around the grave of Mia Shihabu’d-Din Taj Khan (a fakir), to commemorate his memory.

6. Shahabuddin Ghori


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He had no offspring, but he treated his Turkic slaves as his sons, who were trained both as soldiers and administrators and provided with the best possible education. Many of his competent and loyal slaves rose to positions of importance in Shahabuddin Ghori’s army and government.

Slaves of Shahabuddin Ghori

a. Qutb-ud-din Aibak became ruler of Delhi in 1206, establishing the Sultanate of Delhi, which marked the start of the Slave dynasty.

b. Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha became ruler of Multan in 1210.

c. Tajuddin Yildoz became ruler of Ghazni.

d. Ikhtiyar Uddin Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji became ruler in parts of Bengal.

7. Tardi Beg

TardiSketch of Tardi Beg’s Tomb

His grave is reported to be near Humayun’s Tomb but is not identified

He was a military commander in the 16th century in Mughal India. He served under the Mughal Emperors Humayun and Akbar.

It is reported that he was disliked by both the troops and generals and was eventually killed for cowardice by Bairam Khan.

8. Another opinion on Lal Gumbad- Malviya Nagar Delhi


Lal Gumbad

Sufi saint Shaikh Kabiruddin Auliya lived here and after he died,he was buried here. (During later part of Tughlaq rule) – Kabiruddin Auliya was disciple/ student of Shaikh Roshan Chirag-e Dilli who was disciple/ student of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.

Feroze Shah Tughlaq had designated Lal Gumbad as his tomb but later he gave it to Kabiruddin Auliya.

There is some debate among historians, on who made this tomb. – Agha Menhdi Hussain says, “this tomb was made by Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq for himself”.

But, Persi Bown opines that the tomb was built during Gyasuddin Tughlaq period. This tomb is very similar to Sultan Gyasuddin Tughlaq’s tomb in Tughlaqabad.

But it is also believed that it was Muhammad Tughlaq who built it as his rest house/ vacation place (aaramgaah). It’s also possible that he made it as his own tomb

Western wall has iron “Raqaabs”. It’s believed to be thieves’ work to climb the wall and steal gold “Kalash”.-Hence it is also called Raqabwala Gumbad.

9. Ashiqa-Deval Rani-Khizr Khani


A Durbar Scene, from the ‘Khizr Khani Duval Rani’, Mughal, 1568 (colours on paper) / National Museum of India, New Delhi, India / The Bridgeman Art Library

“King Karan fled with his daughter Devala devi but his wife Kamala Devi was seized by Alauddin Khalji’s general but on the way back to Delhi on reaching Jhalore the queen was released by Devda Rajput of Jhalore and King Karan’s general”.

“They fled from there in jungle to reach Baglan but on the way, the queen died due to serious wound caused while escaping”.

“Another version says that Kamala Devi, ex-wife of King Karan Dev was now Alauddin Khiljis Mallika-i-Jahan. She wished to secure Deval Devi who was about six months old when Gujarat was invaded in 1297. She was saved and carried by her father to the South”
“Karan Dev was defeated and turned out of Ellichpur. His daughter Deval Rani fell into the hands of Alp Khans soldiers near Ellora Caves. She was taken to Delhi and married to Khijr Khan-Crown Prince (Alluddin Khilji’s Son), after a few years”.

Deval Rani’s mother-Kamala Devi and Khijr Khan’s mother- Mahru were Alauddin Khilji’s wives. Hence Khijr Khan and Deval Devis fondness was disliked, so they had absconded to Delhi. Finally they were married after many objections.

10. Hijre ka Gumbad


India Gate of today stands where, once a dilapidated Hijre ka Gumbad/tomb existed.

In ‘Monuments of Delhi’, published in 1919, surveyor Zafar Hasan recorded the presence of Hijre Ka Gumbad (Dome of Hermaphrodite) in its ruinous stage. “The dome and the arches are brick built. A portion of the dome has fallen, but the building still presents a picturesque appearance. There is no trace of any grave now,” he said and recommended repairs.

11. Bahadur Shah Zafar

He was denied pen and paper. He used to etch his feelings with charcoal on walls of the stable-prison –Rangoon-Burma


‘The King of Delhi’ – Sketch of Bahadur Shah Zafar in exile

by Horatio Gordon Robley, British officer posted in Burma at that time.

12. Kharbuze ka Gumbad

It is believed that Sheikh Kabir-ud-din Auliya, buried in the Lal Gumbad spent his days under the dome of Kharbuze ka Gumbad and the night in the cave located below it. The building has been dated to the late fourteenth century.

It is a small pavilion structure and gets its name from the tiny dome, carved out of solid stone and placed at its top that has the appearance of a half-sliced melon.
It is a tiny little structure, located within the premises of a Montessori school in the residential neighbourhood of Sadhana Enclave in Malviya Nagar.


Old photo of Kharbuze ka Gumbad, Clearly showing the cave located below it.


Kharbuze ka Gumbad now

13. Selling the ‘Taj’?

Governor-General Lord Bentinck, (Calcutta newspaper John Bull of July 26, 1831) wanted to demolish the Taj Mahal and sell away the marble. But the highest bid was only Rs 1,50,000 and the Taj Mahal was saved.


14. Khair-ul-Manazil

The mosque was built without a foundation, a rarity in large constructions even today. Incredible.

15. Mumtaj Mahal (w/o shahjahan)

Was also named as Kudsia Begam and nawab Alia Begam.

16. Shalimar Bagh

Was called Azizabad Bagh after Aizzu’nNisa Begum, one of Shah Jahan’s wife but was commissioned by another wife-Akbarabadi Begum!

17. The shops of Chandni Chowk

Were originally built in a half-moon shape, a pattern, which, however, is lost today.

18. The street of Ballimaran near Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi

Was the colony of boat rowers. Hence the name Ballimaran.

19. In Chandni Chowk

Originally a canal ran through the middle of the street as a part of the water supply scheme.

20. The plunder seized from Delhi in 1739

Was so rich that Nadir Shah stopped taxation in Iran for a period of three years following his return.

21. After 1857 uprising British turned Red Fort

Into army barrack and barred the white lime wash done every two years. White plaster slowly peeled off. Later, it was repaired with red sand stone and named Red Fort. Traditional white ‘Mughal plaster’ was made from ground marble (to give shine) dal pulses lime and fruit juice.
Added by Monuments of Delhi – Also, egg yolk was added for a slight yellow touch.

22. During British rule Sir David Ochterlony and later, Lord Metcalfe

Used Sheesh Mahal Shalimar Bagh, as their summer lodge.

23. Some people don’t mind.

Blake lived in Adham Khan’s tomb & Metcalfe used Quli Khan’s Tomb as weekend retreat calling it Dilkusha.

24. Firuz Shah Tughlaq’s coronation

Took place in Royal Camp of Thatta in 1351. He got investiture from Caliph of Egypt.

25. Very early invasion of India

Before Mahmud Ghazni in AD 712 Mohammed-bin-Qasim, an Arab invader invaded Sind with the ambition of conquering India. However, the climatic condition of Sind did not encourage him to proceed further.

26. Sabuktegin – Yamin ad-Dawlah Abdul-Qasim Mahmud ibn Sabuktegin

Was actually Mahmud of Ghazni.

27. Shah Turkan

Had entered the harem of Iltutmish as a concubine, but later rose to the status of queen. She was wily and conspiring and wanted her Son Ruknuddin to be king after Iltutmish, hence she tried to kill Razia Sultan but did not succeed.

28. Feroz Shah Tughlaq

Originally commissioned Lal Gumbad in Malviya Nagar as his burial place but later gave it to Shaikh Kabir-ud-Din Auliya.

29. The nobility of Delhi suffered immeasurably in the aftermath of the revolt.

In a letter written in 1859 to his disciple Tufta, Ghalib says “Hakim Ahsanullah Khan, one of the senior ministers of Bahadur Shah is living in the stable of his own mansion whereas the English are occupying the main house. The wives and children of aristocrats are actually begging from door to door. The moon faced Begums of the red Fort are wandering the streets in filthy clothes, ragged pajamas and broken shoes”. Reminiscing the bygone good times, Ghalib writes in one of his memorable letters in 1863 ” Sitting upstairs in my house I look at the staircase. That is Mir Mehdi coming, and Yusuf Mirza and Miran and Yusuf Ali Khan. Allah, Allah, I am mourning thousands. When I die who is left to mourn me.

30.The British demolished all buildings within a radius of 500 yards of the Red Fort.

 Similar demolition was carried out around the Jama Masjid. All structures in the way of the new straight boulevards and the railway line that the British planned were demolished. When the British destroyed a kucha or gali or katra and built a broad and straight boulevard over the debris, they dismantled a centuries old way of life and an entire Tehzib.

31. The British seriously considered demolishing the Jama Masjid and the Red Fort.

Fortunately they survived. But by the order of the British, the exquisite Fathepuri mosque was sold to Lala Chunna Mal, a Hindu merchant as his private property and the Zainatul Masjid was converted into a bakery.

32. Begums like Mumtaz Mahal and Nur Jahan

Married off a large number of slave girls to deserving men.

33. Slave girls

Used to be elegantly attired. Their garments were sometimes gifted to them by their masters or mistresses. It was a custom that the princesses did not wear again the dresses they put on once, and gave them away to their bandis.

34. Rana-i-Dil

Was originally a dancing girl before she became a favourite concubine of
Prince Dara Shukoh. After his execution, Aurangzeb desired to possess
her, but she refused.

35. Loyalty of concubines.

Akbarabadi-Mahal and Fatehpuri-Mahal, shared Shahjahan’s captivity in the Agra Fort and they were present by his bedside when he breathed his last in January, 1666.

36. Zafar Hasan (Surveyer)-‘Monuments of Delhi’, published in 1919.

Interestingly, he has also has listed several other ancient monuments and places, like:

a. The origin of Moti Bagh

b. Condition of Teen Burji

c. Bara lao ka Gumbad (being used as fodder store) and Baradari inside DDA Park Vasant Vihar

d. Tomb of Bijri Khan and the small tomb on its south west side belong to Lodi period (both being used as fodder stores)

e. Tomb south of DPS Mathura Road(Nizampur)

f. Gumti of Shaikh Ali at Defence Colony Market

g. Khaipur Baoli

h. Tea House Red Fort, etc.

37. Sabz Burj (Green tower).


For several years during British rule, the Sabz Burj (Green tower) was used as a police station.  It is located close to the Humayun’s Tomb Complex.

38. The Masjid-i Jahān-Numā

download (3)Commonly known as the Jama Masjid of Delhi

It is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India.

39. Jahangir

Made a rule that if a noble died without an heir, his property should be utilized for maintenance of madarasas.

40. Masjid Khairul Manazil

There is a historical incident associated with this mosque. During the reign of Akbar, an accident occurred. One day, after hunting, Akbar went to Nizamuddin Dargah. After visiting when he was passing by this mosque, an arrow hit a soldier accompanying his entourage. The wound was not serious. His bodyguards immediately caught a negro slave who was the slave of Akbar’s late father. He owned the responsibility of trying to kill the emperor.

41. Bairam Khan:

Father Saif Ali Beg; Mother Naqibi Khanum

(family of Nakshbandi Khwajas)

42. A Princes lost for eternity

Shahzadi Aqiqa Sultan Begum at Agra. (B.1531) daughter of Humayun and Bega Begum, was eight years-old daughter, when she was lost in Chausa, on 27 June, 1539, and was never recovered.

Humayun became extremely devastated and regretted ever bringing his daughter to Chausa in the first place. He blamed himself, saying, “Why did I not kill her in my own presence?”, rather than have her fall into the enemy’s hands.


Chausa-where Shahzadi Aqiqa Sultan Begum daughterof Humayun and Bega Begum and sister of Akbar was lost forever

43. Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaqs Tomb


The mausoleum is quite a family affair. In here sleeps not only Ghiyas-ud-din but also his wife, Makh Dumai Jahan aka Makhdima Jahan and his second son Mahmud Khan, who died with him under the pavilion.


Graves of Ghiyas-ud-din, his wife, Makh Dumai Jahan aka Makhdima Jahan

and his second son Mahmud Khan



Zafar Khan’s Tomb

Near the northern side of the tomb there is an octagonal tomb with an inscribed slab over its southern door, according to which Zafar Khan lies buried here. Who this Zafar Khan was is not recorded, but this was the first tomb to be built here and gave Ghiyas-ud-din the idea of building his own mausoleum here too. The top of the enclosed walls offers excellent views of both Tughlaqabad and Adilabad Forts.

Towards the left of the entrance, in the corridor, there is a tiny grave which is said to be that of the sultan’s favourite dog.


Sultan’s favourite dog

44. Mohammad-bin Tughlaq (1325-1351 AD)

He tried to introduce many administrative reforms. He had 5 ambitious projects for which he has become particularly debatable.

    1. Taxation in the Doab (1326)
    2. Transfer of Capital (1327)
    3. Introduction of Token Currency (1329)
    4. Proposed Khurasan Expedition (1329)
    5. Qarachil Expedition (1330)

His five projects have led to revolts all around his empire. His last days were spent in checking the revolts.

45. Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351-1388 AD) is attributed with:

f. Establishment of Diwan-i-Khairat (department for poor and needy people) and Diwan-i-Bundagan (department of slaves).

g. Establishment in Delhi a hospital described variously as Darul-Shifa, Bimaristan or Shifa Khana

h. Establishment of four new towns, Firuzabad, Fatebabad, Jaunpur and Hissar.

i. Number of slaves increased to 1,80,000 in Firoz Shah Tughlaq’s time, which was a burden on the treasury.

46. Bairam actually was not “Khan”, his real name was Bairam “Beg”. Shah of Iran, Tamasp, honored him as ‘Kha’ or Khan.

47. Gulbadan Begum’s Account of the Mughal Harem

In Gulbadan’s memoir, she shows that women in the Harem, knew about the political changes going on in their world, and in fact, did play a role in it.

Gulbadan was also fully aware of the political strife and on-goings of the budding empire, despite her seclusion to the harem.

As described by Gulbadan, the women in the royal harem were often involved in parties, meetings with their male relatives, etc. and did in fact have contact with the outside world


Engraving of a view inside a zenana (Harem) by William Skelton (1763-1848)

Source: Plate 4 of William Hodges ‘Travels in India, during the years 1780, 1781, 1782, & 1783’ published in London in 1793. This engraving of a zenana, the women’s quarter of a palace, was taken from an Indian painting in the possession of William Hodges.

48. The Daag policy of ala-ud-din  khiji

The Daag policy was set for horses, as the rare quality horses were provided to soldier for war purpose but they used to sell it and buy a low quality horses, which was reason for losing in wars. So he set special hot iron mark on each horse and gave orders if anybody found buying or selling Daag horse would be killed.

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