KHOONI DARWAZA


CONTRIBUTED BY SAHIL AHUJA

One of the most notorious gates in entire Delhi is the “Khooni Darwaza”, literally “the gate of blood” – throughout its history the structure has seen enough bloodshed to deserve its re-christening as the “Lal Darwaza” (“Red Gate”).

Khooni Darwaza (2)

Description                  This double-storied gate stands preserved almost in its original shape near the medieval fortress called Feroz Shah Kotla. This gate however has no relationship whatsoever with the fortress or the settlement within. The gate was once part of the several gates that Sher Shah Suri built as part of the wall constructed for the protection of his city Shergarh which he administered from the Old Fort in Delhi. During Sher Shah’s time, the gates were known by the names of the cities they faced and the original name of Khooni Darwaza was Kabuli Darwaza since caravans bound for Afghanistan passed in and out through this gate.
History The gate got its present name ‘Khooni Darwaza’ because of the various bloodbaths committed in its premises. In the early decades of the 16th century A.D., Emperor Jahangir ordered the killing of two sons of Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan (a noble in emperor Akbar’s court, he was a powerful general & also a poet-writer – still widely known for his couplets called ‘Rahim ke Dohe’). Their bodies were left here to rot & be eaten by birds of prey. In A.D. 1658, Aurangzeb hanged the head of his elder brother Dara Shikoh at this gate after he ousted his father Shahjahan from the throne of Delhi.The gate is supposed to have seen bloodshed in 1739 A.D. as well when Delhi was ransacked by Nadir Shah of Persia. However, this is disputed – according to some sources, this massacre occurred at another gate of the same name located in the Dariba locality of Chandni Chowk (which is more likely since much of the killing was concentrated around Old Delhi, Nadir Shah himself commanding from the Red Fort and the Sunehri Masjid in Chandni Chowk).Later on September 22, 1857, as retaliation to the Sepoy Mutiny against the practices of the British East India Company, Major Hudson murdered the sons and the grandson of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah ‘Zafar’ outside this gate. The Khooni Darwaza saw bloodshed again during the riots of 1947. Many refugees were murdered here while they were proceeding towards the camp established in Old Fort.
Construction The gate is 15.5 m high and the construction materials used are strictly local and the prominent among those is Delhi quartzite stone. The frames of the windows are made up of red sandstone. On either side of the double height pointed arch there exist three separate flights of stairs leading to different levels of the gate.
Protection  Khooni Darwaza is today a protected monument under the aegis of the Archaeological Survey of India.
Ownership    Archaeological Survey of India
Location         Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, about 2 km from Daryaganj Market – take an auto from Red Fort/Chandni Chowk Metro Station to reach Feroz Shah Kotla, the gate stands right outside.
Remark     The gate lies hidden among the trees with a lone watchman sitting guard. Entry to the gate is prohibited by means of grilles and iron gates.Haunted?? –
The Khooni Darwaza is said to be haunted because of the gory incidents connected with it. Folklore says it’s in the realm of spirits and djinns and blood stains can still be seen on its walls. The spirits of the slain Mughal princes are said to appear as an apparition regularly. For a detailed write up on the gate click more!

You have new information on this heritage resource do let us know ! Write to us at info@cattsindia.org

Disclaimer: The article expresses individual views of the author. The rights to the content of the article rests with the author.

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One response to “KHOONI DARWAZA

  1. A close up photo would be more welcome. besides location & how to reach hints. Anyway a necessary addition to this hub

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