Cyclomats | Trip #20 | 20210110 | Satpula, Khirki Mosque, and Mexican

'Seven bridges' dam, 'Window' Mosque, and Mexican+Kulfi

(Cycle Trip #20. On 20210110)

Jan 10th, Sunday. Our 20th trip. Now, entering our 6th month in a row. On winter weekend mornings (it was 8°C), you are on the road because either you've to or you want to.

ATM stop. Balu maintains our pool money (group activity sustainability hack). Breaks to stretch are surprisingly refreshing on long trips. We bought this blue cycle for Keerthi in the USA in 2014.

Swapna Liddle's book content page gave a tip on Satpula dam, built-in Muhammad bin Tughlaq (1325-1351) period. (We welcome suggestions!) But, on arrival, it looked small. Balu went in to check.

After entering the gate, we walked some 50 meters and took a right turn to see this view. These arched structures (once Madrasas) sandwich this unique architectural piece, in the Saket area.

Satpula ("7 bridges") is a weir/water barrier. It's very accessible, and there's an adjacent park too. A few boys were chilling. We all are numbed to the absence of women in our public spaces.

It's a nice place to bask in the sun, enjoying the vantage. (And to keep an eye on your cycles) On the left is the dried 'lake' for which Satpula was built. Satpula was also part of the city wall.

We've learned that the background matters more than us in our pictures. :) First time I wore my winter jacket. It protected me during my Kailash Mansarovar Hiking trip on the Himalayas in 2012.

The sun was lighting the scene with bright colours. Wish I could go here again with some civil engineers who could talk more about bays and sluice gates.

We've started calling this composition as 'Bollywood shot.' Indeed, Satpula was smaller than we imagined it to be. However, because of its layered nature, we could crisscross it a few times.

Vishvas wanted to see Satpula from the 'lake.' Someone told us that we need to go around the park. We came out. Found this horsedrawn cart used for marriages parked outside the gate. So, click!

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We 'hid' our cycles behind a bush, locked them together. Walking through the adjacent park, we reached the 'lake' turned cricket ground. But, thorny bushes hide Satpula from below.

After all the circumambulation, we found a passage that directly connected Satpula to the 'lake.' With self-deprecating jokes, we climbed to Satpula again, and walked back to our cycles. Happens.

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Our next stop was the Khirki Mosque. This rare gem was built during Firoz Shah Tughlaq period (1351-1388), successor of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq. The mosque is centrepiece of the Khirki 'village'.

Locals call the mosque as qila, fort. Some fort features are mixed with mosque features. This is also a rare mosque, at least in North India, with covered prayer space.

Interior of the Khirki ('Window') mosque is a photographer's delight. The four open courtyards throw in abundant light, while the pillared corridors provide kaleidoscopic views in every direction.

Our excitement is real. Khirki mosque indeed was a stunning structure.

The invasion of bats inside the Khirki mosque is real. Thousands of bats welcome you with their incessant noise and unbearable smell (of their defecation - you can't even walk in some stretches).

I took out the DSLR. Though we didn't speak about it much, we all knew that Manas would leave for his higher studies soon and we will miss him much.

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When our Aykya Theatre Group operated in Chennai, any soapbox type prop would make us sit on it and say some dialogue. This setting looked perfect for a Shakespearean soliloquy.

Khirki mosque is a unique architectural achievement. The beautiful multi-dome roof, overlooked by the surrounding houses, is accessible through a small flight of stairs.

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Vishvas suggested that we go around the mosque. It seems not many visitors do that - the dogs were barking, and old grandma warned us of snakes in the bushes.

There were some sad indications that some of the residents use the mosque compound as their dustbin. A larger civic sense is yet to seep in.

While in Khirki, Balu said he is hungry. We started looking for someplace to eat. And we found a mall Saket. Fortunately, the mall parking lot has a separate section for cycles.

We entered the mall. It was such a stark shift from the 14th to the 21st century within a few minutes. It was almost like a film, an artificial construct.

Since it was a food court, there was a wide variety of food. I left it to Vishvas, Manas, and Balu to choose.

We got some mixed items - some Mexican (Burritos, Quesadillas, Tacos), some dim sum (it wasn't good. As a compensation, I narrated the Tianjin Gou Bu Li baozi. )

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We got 3 kulfis, as Manas declined. My chocolate-paan kulfi had real paan leaves! While waiting for Balu to get our coffees, Manas rightly finished Balu's kulfi. So, we got one more kulfi for Balu.

We finished our meals with a cup of Saravana Bhavan filter coffee. I also like the saying on the tray sheet: "Count the memories, not the calories."

Until the next trip.