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Sayyid and Lodi Periods

October 18th 2006

Tour Guides: Ahmet, Jodi, Merinda, Orit and Veronika

After the invasion of Timor in 1398, Delhi was left sacked and in ruins.  Control of the Sultanate was under Timur's empire and after some political manoeuvring by some of Timur's appointed Governors and Ministers, Khizr Khan (Timur's Governor of Lahore and Sind) took over Delhi in 1414 and established the Sayyid Dynasty.  Khan claimed to be a descendant or 'sayyid' of the Prophet Muhammad, hence the name.  He built the city of Khizrabad in Delhi but today there is little evidence of it other than it remains the name of a village within Delhi. He was followed by his son and then two Grandsons before the dynasty ended and they were succeeded by the Lodi family in 1451.

The first ruler of the Lodi Dynasty was Bahul Lodi.  Bahul was a powerful Punjab chief and earned much respect from his subjects and during his 38 year reign he succeeded in expanding the control of the Delhi Sultanate again. Bahul was followed by his son Sikander who founded the modern city of Agra as his capital.  However the importance of Delhi was not entirely reduced and Sikander was eventually buried here in 1517.  He was followed by his son Ibrahim who proved to an arrogant ruler leading to one of his Ministers inviting Babur, the Mughal ruler of Kabul to invade.  Ibrahim was killed at the First Battle of Panipat in 1526 thus ending the Lodi Dynasty.

Though the cities these rulers created may no longer be evident many mosques and tombs remain north of the area of Jahanpanh up to a region just south of India Gate.  On the tour we saw the Moth ki Masjid and tombs within Lodi Gardens.

Moth ki Masjid

At the far right of the mosque there are a set of steps which lead up to the roof, though there is no great view.










This mosque is within the village of Masjid Moth in Delhi.  It provides a tranquil haven from the encroaching city and a nearby rubbish tip.  In 1943 Delhi writer Percival Spear said you could travel to the mosque "a long way out of Delhi to Safdarjung's tomb" and then "take a path across the fields" where "the country is quiet open" and "enter the mosque from the village street by a beautiful gateway".  While the gateway is still there, not much of the rest of the description holds true for visitors today.


The inside of the gateway.


















Detail of a wall niche in the gateway.














View across the mosque's courtyard.











The mosque was built by a courtier of Sikander Lodi's called Miyan Bhoiya.  It is said that the Sultan Sikander picked up a grain of moth (lentil) that had been dropped by a bird and gave it to Bhoiya, who thought that such a seed must be blessed and should be planted.  This he did and it produced two hundred seeds, which were sown again and thus from the original moth Bhoiya gained a great fortune and in thanks built the Moth ki Masjid.


The street in front of the mosque and a chatri with some original blue tilling still in place
















At the rear of the mosque old and new collide

















The rear wall of the mosque, backs on to a busy street.











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