It was in the first week of March, late in the afternoon. Winter was receding and the weather was just perfect for going monument hunting.
Before leaving, we ran a quick search on the internet. A map in hand, we got off at the Qutab Minar Metro station and walked along the road. After about fifteen minutes, we entered a small opening.
It’s called a park. But we soon realised we were in a jungle.
We tried to figure out where we were on the map. We turned the map around, trying to align it with the shadows, to get a sense of which direction to head towards. As it turned out, we were poor map readers. We took different paths, each one giving us different leads, and none of them making any presence on the map.
Along each dust road, we saw broken and crumbling remains of the past, surrounded by the filth of ‘modern’ day. The old ruins told us we were somewhere – but not exactly where. After taking three different roads, and ending up at the same water stream, I folded the map and put it inside my pocket.
We asked some locals for directions. Some of them gave us a vague direction in which to go. One lady pointed out that we had entered the wrong gate, and that the proper entrance was ahead along the main road. There was, however, a way through the village. We had come too far inside. If we were to turn back, it would only be to return another day.
A middle-aged gentleman gave us two sets of directions; the one he recommended, was longer and clean, through the main road; the other was shorter and filthy, through the village. We gambled on the shorter one. We had already walked a lot, and since we were wearing shoes, we didn’t think filth would be much of a problem. If only we knew better.
We walked along the narrow, steep village roads and crossed a stretch of rotting garbage. But it was a foul-smelling stretch of pigs, which made us run as fast as we could. We continued on the path, wondering what else was in store. As per the directions, we had to take another turn. There were trees all around and we still couldn’t figure out where we were. We decided between ourselves, that if we did not find anything in the next 5 minutes, we’d look for the way out.
And then, just after turning, we saw a stone signboard.
Almost an hour after entering the jungle, we stood facing a stone wall. We walked around and climbed up the stairs.
Rajon ki baoli, read the stone sign. The mason’s stepwell. We had reached what we had come looking for. Tired wanderers, the thirst of our eyes was finally quenched with the sight of the well.
For those of you who have a little better sense of direction, hopefully this map will help. Clearly, we didn’t do our homework properly. To view the interactive map on Google Maps, click here. For better photographs, ask Wiki