Design Inspiration from Mehrauli
Delhi inspires- even at the peak of an inhospitable summer. In the heat induced quietude, Delhi still offers bounties of beauty. The Amaltas, Jarul and Gulmohar are in blazing bloom, wayside Bougainvillea and hedging now cover some sidewalks in overgrown neglect, rendering parts of the city beautiful in an lazy, unkempt sort of way. The beauty of natural world is primarily where we draw inspiration for our interior design, but this week we turn to Delhi’s historical past. Red ochre and white plastered monoliths, derelict tombs and step wells in Mehrauli direct the summer colour palette for ongoing work.
The historical journey of Delhi as one of the oldest inhabited cities began in present day Mehrauli. Mehrauli is an urban settlement that has continued to thrive unabated for the past thousand years until today. Amidst this bustling and dense settlement is located Mehrauli Archaeological Park, just south of the Unesco World Heritage site of Qutb Minar precinct.
This vast expanse of urban green, spread over an area of 200 acres, is the richest cultural repository of Delhi’s past from all eras & of varied typologies- step-wells, ‘dargahs’ and mosques. A rare patch of land where the beauty of the natural world and heritage reign even amid urban sprawl.
The architecture itself is understated and therein lies its beauty. The subtly of natural plaster, granite and sandstone are wonderfully calming on a hot June Delhi day. From afar, the monuments are a picture of robust masculinity but on closer inspection, they reveal a delicate burst of intricate decorative works that exude femininity. Naturally then, does this scene provide ample references for interior design as tones, materials & aesthetics will eventually seep into our work.
The rulers that built and inhabited these magnificent structures are long dead, leaving behind trails of their legacy in history books and monoliths. But, perhaps their inadvertent and most pleasing legacy is not of the territories they claimed or history created, but the beauty they left behind.
Words: Neeraj Bhagat & Shivani Dogra
Images: Shivani Dogra