Whenever I pass by the walls of the Humayun Tomb complex, I think they are calling out to me. ‘Listen, please listen, we want to speak with you.’
I pause momentarily, gaze at them and then gently smile at myself. How can stones speak? I guess I am getting over the hill!
But these stones, that guard the magnificent Humayun Tomb, do have a story to tell. The story of Kilokri.
Delhi travel stories- The first Slave Sultans
840 years ago, the peculiarly sounding Kilokri had had an unenviable reputation. It was here that the youthful Sultan of Delhi lived, and kept a vast harem of concubines.
Kaiqubad had ascended the throne of Delhi in extremely attenuating circumstances. His grandfather, Balban had lorded over the infant Slave Sultanate for nearly 40 years and had cut to size many aspiring Turks.
Balban was preceded by a clutch of inept Sultans, Razia, and Iltutmish, not in the same order. Barring Iltutmish, all the other predecessors were weak and did not deserve the throne of Delhi at all. The Mongols were all over the place and were itching to lay their hands on the Sultans of Delhi.
When Balban took over the charge, he controlled his enemies- both internal and external- and ensured that they acknowledged him as an heir of Iltutmish. In short, Balban was the Iron Man of the Slave Dynasty.
Delhi Travel Stories-
The year 1288 was quite painful for the Sultan. He was terribly unwell and believed that his end was near. A few years earlier, Balban had lost his favorite son, Mohammad in one of the battles with the Mongols. Balban had wanted Mohammad to succeed him but that wish did not translate into reality. There was somebody else ready to take over as the next Sultan of Delhi.
Kaiqubad- Sex and Wine
That somebody was Kaiqubad, Balban’s grandson, and the son of Bughra Khan, Balban’s other son.
Kaiqubad was a strapping lad, much like Khusrau, the grandson of Mughal emperor, Akbar. He was handsome, polite and had a way with people.
Kaiqubad was installed by the emirs of Balban who had wanted to control the power strings from behind. They thought the new Sultan could be managed easily and how correct were they!
The young Sultan was brought up in a cast-iron environment. He could not drink alcohol nor could he even look at the face of any women! Balban himself was a very disciplined person and wanted Kaiqubad to be modelled after him.
But the young Sultan, all of 17 years of age, proved to be a man of clay. Liquor became his constant companion. And when he was not drunk, Kaiqubad surrounded himself with young and pretty girls. He didn’t mind whether those girls were married or single. The Sultan was determined to pack his harem with every beauty that was available in his small kingdom.
But there was a problem. He could not pursue his pleasures in Mehrauli, the traditional seat of power. If Kaiqubad had to continue with his drunken orgies, then there had to be a separate palace for those jamborees. And there was no better place than the village of Kilokri in south-east Delhi!
A pool of sex !
So, he built himself a magnificent palace in Kilokri with fountains, a vast swimming pool, and luxurious gardens. This palace was the harem for his countless sweethearts who vied for his attention. Each of those beautiful women wanted to spend a night in the imperial bedroom with the Sultan and gain influence. Not bad at all for them!
Delhi Travel Stories-
And what did the Sultan do?
Well, every few days, the lustful Sultan organized a competition in the swimming pool. All the participants had to come naked and swim around with a candle illuminating their private parts. If you managed to keep the candle lit during that competition, you were a winner. It was that simple, actually.
So this is how the Sultan lived his short life in his Kilokri palace. Wine and women were the only constants in his life. Kaiqubad believed in living life to the hilt. He had lived a life of harsh discipline under his grandfather Balban and now that he was the Sultan of Delhi, that tough life was gone.
Kaiqubad did not live long. His concubines and girlfriends gradually became bored with him and one day decided to put him away. One day, the drunken Sultan was neatly wrapped up in a blanket by one of his servants and tossed away into the raging waters of the Yamuna. The year was 1290.
Would you like to travel the ancient village of Kilokri with him? If yes, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will plan nice itinerary.
Hope to see you one of these days, bye.