I chanced upon Madhi Mansjid whils I was looking for Baagh e Naazir.
Little did I know that the area has now been taken over by Ashoka Mission, a Buddhist organization.
Baagh e Naazir (“Garden of Nazir”) was built by the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah Rangila’s Khwaja Sara (chief eunuch) Nazir in 1748 (1161 A.H.).
It is located in Mehrauli, near Jamali Kamali and Mehrauli Archaeological Park.
This garden contained a number of pavilions, the most notable among which was made of red sandstone. Others were made of stone and plaster. The garden was surrounded by a stone wall, large sections of which still exist.
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s seminal work on the monuments of Delhi, Aasar us Sanadeed , contains a description and a sketch of the monument as it appeared in 1854.
Sketch of Baagh e Naazir. sketched by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in 1854 for Aasar us Sanadeed
Madhi Masjid (The Forgotten)
Its prayer hall combines the features of an open wall-mosque and a covered mosque. It is profusely ornamented with colored tiles. Based on the massive proportions of its square gateway like the gateway of Bara Gumbad, this mosque can be assigned to Lodi or early Mughal period.
Looking for BaghiNazir I stopped on the road at a signboard that reads “Jain Mandir Dadabadi”.
I thought of going to Jain Mandir, hence took a left turn, and suddenly chanced to see Fort-like boundary walls and an ancient well!
The Builder or period when Madhi Masjid was built is unknown, but the architecture is similar to the Lodi Garden tombs hence presumably it may belong to the same period- late Lodi or early Mughal.
The mosque is an unusual combination of a covered mosque and a wall mosque. It retains some remnants of colorful tiles used for decoration. Its Central Mihrab, faces west in the direction of Medina.
Its small serrated star-shaped depressions, slender elegant minarets, exquisite plasterwork medallions inscribed with Quranic calligraphy and geometric patterns, finely-described “kangura” patterns (battlement-like leaf motif ornamentation) and a line of slightly slanting eaves (“chajja”) supported upon seemingly heavy stone brackets. Each rectangular chamber is pierced by three arched entrances and their roofs, though externally perfectly flat, are marked corresponding each squat entrance by three concave domes along their interiors which are supported on rudimentarily simplistic honeycomb brackets. Towards the rear, the corners are fortified with immensely thick conical towers. Exquisite plasterwork medallions inscribed with calligraphy, finely-described “kangura” patterns and overhanging windows (“jharokha”) surmounted by melon-like fluted domes.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has done a remarkably commendable job in conserving the monument, restoring its numerous ornamental features and maintaining the tiny grass-covered space abutting its gateway.
Madhi Masjid is one of Delhi’s exquisitely carved medieval monuments but was forgotten amidst wilderness with supreme cultural indifference.
Translation of Aasar Us Sanaadeed, 2nd edition. By Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, published by Delhi Urdu Academy, Delhi.