<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Qasai Wala Gumbad, the only Tughlaq-era mosque with a hemispherical dome, on Muradabad Pahadi in south Delhi’s Vasant Vihar is a heavily encroached heritage structure. It is a unique construction mainly because two mosques – one a Tughlaq-era mosque and other a Lodi-era mosque – stand adjacent to each other .Deep inside a park, few meters away from the Vasant Vihar Club, exist the two mosques. A huge gate, guarded by young kids, and a long pavement takes one towards the two marvelous white structures. One of these mosques is now used as a madrasah, known as Abdul Mannan Academy, where over 100 kids stay and study.The two beautiful structures are encroached and nobody is allowed inside the main gate, except on Thursdays when people visit the Dargah, which is just next to the two mosques. Few people visit Dargah of Syed Murad Ali Baba Shah here on Thursdays for prayers. There is very limited access to the mosques as the structures are under the control of a religious organisation, that does not allow outsiders here, not even students’ parents.When DNA visited the heritage structures, several questions were asked at the gate and the reporter was strictly asked to not take any pictures and leave within five minutes.”We do not even let in parents of over 100 madrasah students. The Archaeological Department is eyeing our mosque and a case is going on. This is our land,”says Mohammad Feroze, caretaker of one of the structures.Because of the encroachment, many Delhiites, even the historians, and locals living in the area are unaware of one of the Capitals’s beautiful heritage.”I have always been fascinated with these two mosques and visited on a Thursday when many local women go to the dargah. But the caretakers inside recognised me as an outsider with my camera, and asked me to leave that very moment,”said Vikramjit Singh Rooprai, Heritage activist.”These structures have so much potential due to their dual history and location, the government should do something about opening them to the public,”he adds.Inside the premises exists Delhi’s largest Baoli, or step-well, which has been taken over by the mosque authorities. Visits to either the mosque or the step-well are prohibited. The step-well is crumbling, struggling to retain its identity due to the neglect.”Also, these structures are under the flight path i.e. close to a runway and planes pass over these mosques, an area like this should be accessible to security and police, if it is not to the public,” adds Rooprai.

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Encroachers take over heritage mosques, bar visitors