Ruins before they are sanitised

I was walking from Qutub Minar to the metro station (Delhi's metro system is being dramatically expanded and it's a very nice way to get around) and for a long stretch, the road goes past a walled garden. A really long stretch. At one point, the wall had broken down. To go in or not? Would I be trespassing? But all the greenery was tempting, so I went in.

Turns out that I was not trespassing. There were signs inside that said that it was "Mehrauli Architectural Park".
But the monuments themselves were completely overgrown. Know those pictures every historical site has about how the place looked when the first archaelogist/explorer was led there by a local shepherd? That's how the architectural park looked. Ruins everywhere, overgrown with greenery. It was very pretty -- and after the crowds at Qutub Minar ("more visitors than the Taj Mahal"), the lack of another soul in this archaelogical park was blissful.
It was when I saw the plaques that I realized what was happening. The plaques all talked about conservation efforts that had started in the late 90s. The conservation work had been started recently, and it being Sunday, there were no workers around. They mustn't even have gotten around to building a gate -- I'd come in through a construction entrance. Hmm ... may be I was not supposed to be here.
Was the park open to visitors or was it an archaelogical site in progress? I don't know, but I did have a nice look around. It's so rare that you get to see actual ruins, in a state of being ruined, that I was enthralled.

And just as I was about to leave, I saw a couple of teenagers. They were scrambling up on to one of the mosques. Maybe the place needs a gate after all.
P.S. turns out that there is a gate; the break in the wall that I (and the teenagers?) came in through was not supposed to be there. Here's a nice article on Mehrauli Architectural Park -- it's worth a visit before it gets all cleaned up and sanitised.
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1 comment:

  1. This is how Woody Guthrie's boyhood home site looks in the off-season. They trim back some of the brush around WoodyFest time, but go back in October, and it's gone back to nature again.