Thursday, 28 May 2020

Kashmere Gate, Delhi, a heritage site where the English company first broke the Delhi siege in 1857

Kashmere gate, Delhi Indianexpresscom.
Kashmere gate, Delhi
Built by the Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan (January 1592 -
22 January 1666), the Kashmere gate in Delhi got its name because it was  from here the road to Kashmir started. Located in the historic walled city, it forms the northern part. Now it an important part of North Delhi (old Delhi area) and  The Red fort, Delhi Raiway Junction, etc are near-by.  It is one of the 14  original gates of the city survived today.  Made of of brick masonry and covered with plaster,  it is the only  two-bay gate among the  surviving gates. The gate the tall walls  with polygonal squares face the city side. There used to be a deep moat all round it to prevent the access of enemies to the gate and the adjacent walls. But, the moat has disappeared. 

Cannon ball marks, Kashmere gate, Delhi, 1857.gounesco.comAdd caption
Above image.   Delhi Siege: Cannon-ball marks on the walls adjoining Kashmiri Gate. Kashmiri Gate was heavily bombarded by British artillery positions on the high Northern Ridge.  When  the rebel firepower decreased, batteries were set up at much closer range: at Qudsia Bagh, Old Customs House and Ludlow Castle which maintained round-the-clock bombardment of Delhi’s northern and western walls..(

When the British had settled down here in 1803, they immediately took action and strengthened the walls of the old city They were damaged during the siege by Maratha  army led by Holkar in 1804.The Marathas  were against the British hegemony  and their army was a force to recon with. Later the English company reinforced the  gate as well as the damaged  walls abutting the gate. 

The British gradually  had begun settling down  and set up residential colonies   in the Kashmere gate area. This place once had  beautiful Mogul mansions and palatial houses of nobility. 

The 1957 first war of Independence  that was  started by the frustrated Indian Soldiers of the Bengal Cavalry at Meerut Cantonment (here the proportion of Europeans to Indian soldiers was far higher than other places) began to spread like a summer bush fire and it engulfed many parts of northern states. When Delhi was under siege during this revolt, the Kashmere gate gained historical significance.  

It was in the vicinity of this prominent gate, there  ensued  a  tough and fierce  between the English army and the rampaging Indian soldiers and others. As already mentioned, the reasons for this revolt  were :  he British atrocities against the natives, ill-treatment of soldiers in the army, exploitation of natural resources  and land owners, dishonesty in business deal, etc -- all these went beyond the level of tolerance. The soldiers and others got a chance to let out their pent-up hatred toward  the English domination over them.
The Indian soldiers assembled near the gate and developed  several plans to resist the English soldiers. The British army needed  further enforcement from near by garrisons like Meerut to deal with the large  siege of Delhi. They got the first break and n the morning of 14  September 1857, the  English army broke open the sturdy gate by breaking the bridge and the left leaf of the gate  using gunpowder.  
This was the first beginning of the final assault on the rebels towards the end of the famous siege of  Delhi.  The existing structure here carries  the  evidence of the  historical struggle that finally ended in favor of the British. After a four-month long bloody siege of Delhi, the British forces  saw victory  on September 14, 1857, The  gate  took the brunt of heavy attack on both sides and suffered  damages. The Kashmere  Gate incident is the silvering in the dark cloud for the British army, a major break through and a symbol of victory. The edit of god could never be changed.  India had to suffer one hundred years more from that time on under the British yoke. 
The unfortunate fact is   although both Hindus and Muslims, upper and lower castes fought in the First War of Independence, the wrath of the British Empire fell on  an innocent man  and the Muslims. That man was  last Mogul ruler  Bahadur Shah Zafar, a fine gentleman who had nothing to do with all the killings going on.  The  Mogul ruler   was ‘captured’ by Major Hodson,  a notorious British officer (who also killed the other three mogul princes near Khooni Dharwaza)  who brought him back as as prisoner to the walled city Shahjahanabad, now an empty one.  The British  protected those who sided with them.  The British were angry because   the rebels fought under the banner of the Mogul king. The old man  was later banished to Burma where he died in obscurity.  
 In the wake of this worst rebellion,  the administration of India passed  from the East India Company to the Crown. The capture of Delhi from the mutineers was vital to the British due to the city's symbolic importance as the seat of India's Mpgul rulers.
siege of Delhi, 1857, Alamyi com

Since this area became a traffic bottleneck, in  1965, a section of the Kashmiri Gate was pulled down to allow free flow of vehicular traffic.However the traffic was allowed to pass through it, as it became a protected monument under the ASI - the Archaeological Survey  of India .

Chaburia Mosque, Delhi - a heritage site that saved the lives of many British in 1857 revolt

Chauburja Mosque, Delhi ,
Chaburia Mosque, Delhi.
The capital city of Delhi and the neighboring places like Agra, etc are a haven for monument lovers and freaks. There are many monuments in this big city that  remain unknown or unexplored for various reasons. The ruined Chaburia mosque is a heritage site and is gaining popularity among the visitors to this old city.

The historical Chaburia Mosque, a two-story building is in the Delhi Northern Ridge area. This place is believed to have been built by Feroz Shah Tughluq in the 14th Century. Located in a park the main Ridge road got its name because of the four-domed corner turrets which once stood upon the raised platform. The Moguls in the later period added few structures on to the building. This structure is characteristic of  of rubble masonry and has   a staircase at the western end to access the upper level.  During Firoz Shah Tughlaq’s reign it happened to be a mausoleum,. At that point of time, the design of this structure is a unique one.  A multi-chambered tomb is an unusual structure in those times, of course, with exceptions.  With the passage of time and other factors, the east part was in a bad shape, however  adequate restoration was done to retain the old heritage value.  Still, the entire structure requires, repairs and restoration. 
Kashmirigate in 1857 siege.
This structure is a silent spectator of the worst revolt against the English company that took place in 1857, often called ''the first war of Independence. (earlier name was ''Sepoy Mutiny''). The major rebellion by the Indian soldiers - both Hindus and Muslims began at the Meerut   city Cantonment (MP) and snowballed into a hell bent-riot. The rebellion against the authority of the East India Company was on a mass scale covering  much of Northern India, It was triggered by  the sepoys of the units of the Army which the company had itself raised in its Bengal Presidency (which actually covered a vast area from Assam to Peshawar).  The revolt against the atrocities of the English company also  shook the British colonies, at one stage, it went out of control causing mayhem and murders.  Unfortunately  it led to mass killing by the British and, on the part of natives, they turned against the British civilians and killed them including women and children. During that tumultuous period  in 1857,  this structure   was used as a picket and ammunition store by the East India Company's Army  and the British, who escaped  from the  rampaging mob took shelter in this building.  
Near this 14th century building lie  a  few other  heritage structures like  Flagstaff Tower, Khooni Khan Jheel and the remains of a 14th century baoli (step well).  : source INTACH

The Tomb of Mogul princess Roshanara Begum, Delhi - she tuned to spirituality after her past unethical life!!

Roshanara Begum's tomb, delhi.  wikipedia common org

tomb of Roshanara Begum, Delhi wikiwand org.
tomb of Roshanara Begum, Delhi.  wikipedia common org. 
Though she was smart and talented in poetry and other aspects,  Roshanara Begum  had a soft corner for her younger brother Aurangzeb and  gave him full support when there was a tassel among the brothers   over the  succession  to the covetous Mogul throne. She even went to the extent of spying  regularly  on Dara Shikoh, the legal heir to the throne. In the wake of confusion and fight among his sons,  father Shah Jahan became ill  in 1657.  This resulted in the killing of his brother, most  popular Dara Shikoh,  by Aurangzeb and imprisonment of his aged father.  Dara was supported by Shah Jahan's eldest daughter. 
Roshanara Begum d/o emperor Shahjahan
Above image: Roshanara Begum  3 September 1617 – 11 September 1671), a Mughal princess was  the second daughter of Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife, Mumtaz Mahal............
tommb of Roshanara begam, Delhi. wikipedia common org
After ascending the throne in 1658 upon murdering his own 
brother in public, ruler Aurangzeb  gave the title of  Padshah
Begum to  Roshanara for her  support in the struggle. It is said, Roshanara  had been been the mastermind behind  Aurangzeb's  accession to the Mogul throne. This made her become the  First Lady of the Mogul Empire and a powerful woman. In the later years, her relationship with her elder sister and also Aurangzeb  soured. She was fond of gold and began abusing  special power.  In her early years she was over pampered  and was  disrespectful to her mother and even minorities in the harem, Hindu or Christian girls. Frequently, she was haunted by her wrong political action and its implications. When Aurangzeb publicly  beheaded his  elder brother Dara, she was unmoved.  Roshanara  was the one who had Aurangzeb   send the bloody severed head of Dara to Emperor Shah Jahan (who was in prison). The great emperor, upon seeing his son's severed head, felt horror and swooned.  Later years, Roshanara   moved away from Mogul politics and had a palace built and spent her time peacefully. She remained single through out her life. Once unjust, hot headed and corrupt, she had a painful death  in 1671 at the age 54.  It is said she was poisoned by Aurangzeb because of her sexual overtures with  a secret lover  in the place; the emperor himself had his elder sister body interred there in the place where she  had resided.   
Her palace in the middle of the Roshanara garden is a reminder of the crucial, cunning  and diabolical role she played in the history
 of India.  This garden was designed and commissioned  by 
herself in 1650s.  At the same time Shah Jahan was building Shahjahanabad.
tomb of Rosashanara begum, Delhi//
Roshanara Begum, tomb, Delhi.  wikipedia common org
Above  image top:  A simple grave  in  Hazrat Nizamuddin's durgah,  Delhi of Roshanara Begum, daughter of Mogul ruler Shah Jahan  and the builder of the Taj;   tomb is enclosed within marble screens of lattice work.  Daily  offering of rose petals on the grave.........

Today, however, Roshanara is best remembered for the Roshanara Bagh, a pleasure garden located north-west of the walled city. . With the passage of time, only two buildings have survived. - a central pavilion or baradari and an entrance gate. The original char bagh became  an English garden and the pavilion that once stood is no more intact.

 The bagh - garden can be entered through  the remains of the original gateway that is finished in lime plaster  with damaged fine glazed tiles, a typical Mogul feature. A channel runs all the way from the gateway to the pavilion  and it is said that there must have existed some water fountains to enhance the beauty of the garden.
Standing at the end of  a square pool, the building can be accessed from two sides. The pool that is  decorated with sculpted kangura pattern on its edges  makes the  well proportioned pavilion look majestic; the bulbous columns of the arcade are typical of  late Shahjahani design. Like Shalimar Bagh, it is  decorated with Lakhori bricks and sandstone and covered with lime plaster decorations. Light painting in lime paster is noticed on the interior. 

Roshanara’s grave is in the center of this pavilion in an enclosure created by four marble screens with jali (screen with ornamental patterns) work, but is an open grave now, only covered with earth, the marble cenotaph ismissing, may be stolen sometime in the past. The original shape of the  Roshanara garden was obliterated when the British converted part of it as the English garden. 

In the later years, burdened by sins, misdeeds and accessory to the murder of her brother Dara, Roshanara turned to spirituality . Initiated to Qadiriyya branch of Sufism  by Mullah Shah Badakhshi of Lahore, in the later years she became a follower of the Chisti saints Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi and Kwaja Moinuddin Chisti of Ajmir. The Mogul princess wrote a biography on the Sifi saint of Ajmir. She lived in many places, Delhi, Lahore, Agra and other places. 
She was the favorite daughter of Shahjahan and she loved her father very much. In a moment of aberration she went against her father Shah Jahan in support of Aurangzeb.  After her father's imprisonment in 1658, she took care of him till his death eight years later.  Unmarried Roshanara  died  on 6 Sept, 1681 at the age of 67. Aurangzeb gave her  a posthumous  title ''Mistress of the Age''  (Shazibat-ul-Zamani). Her tomb is in the Hazrat Nizamuddin Durgah complex, Delhi. 
Being pious,   every year  she used to send roughly 2000 pounds of rice to Mecca and Medina through her ship called  ''Shahibi'', an ocean going ship built on her personal order.  When treacherous Aurangzeb imposed tax on non-Muslims like Hindus, she vehemently protested against it and told him this would alienate him  from majority Hindus and later it would weaken him as a strong ruler. 
Being ruthless, despotic and a war monger in the later years, Aurangzeb's treasury ran out of money and he laid the foundation for the fall of Mogul rule in India.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

''Poikkaal Kuthirai Aattam'' of Tamil Nadu - this folk dance needs revival!!

Poikkaal Kuthirai Aattam
Poikkaal Kuthirai Aattam
Representing  the culture and heritage of Tamil region, the folk dance of  Poikkal Kuthirai Attram nowadays is rarely performed in Tamil Nadu on the temple festival days. This dying art needs to be revived for our posterity. This art form had been here for a pretty long time and produced great performers. It used to be popular in villages as well as in towns. It is said that this type of dance using wooden legs was popularized by the  Maratha rulers of Thanjavur..  This  dance is performed in the northern states and  is called  Saithikoda in Orissa, Theelu Gurram in Andhra Pradesh, Kachikoti in Rajasthan and Kuthikali in Kerala.

Among the folk dances of Tamil Nadu, Poikkaal Kuthirai Aattam (poi - False, kaal - leg, Kuthirai – Horse) meaning horse dance with false legs- was once a famous one. In the 1950s 
and early 1960s, one could see a pair or more  performers both 
male and female performing Poikkal Kuthirai attam  to the accompanying music and drum beats  during the religious procession on the main streets. Sometimes, they would perform on certain festival occasions. As part of publicity, in the same period, movie theater owners would use these performers when a new movie was to be screened in their theater. Their show on the streets  would get the attention of the people about the new flick.
It is quite unfortunate, in the past  couple of decades personally, 
I haven seen Poikkal Kuthirai Attam either in my native  town 
or elsewhere. Positively, this folk art is on the decline and the present generation of young people  do not evince interest in our traditional folk dances. Further, with the departure of old teachers/Gurus, you seldom run into people who could teach this kind of dance.   
Poikkal Kuthirai Attam is a tough one and you need proper training. It is a unique  type of dance performed with a dummy horse having a gap inside so that a person can fit into it to perform the dance.. The performer will be wearing wooden stilts below their feet. 
Since the performer should have easy mobility, the dummy  horse with nice colors and other decorations is made of light-weighted materials (jute, cardboard, paper, and glass) and the cloth at the sides of the dummy swings to and fro covering the legs of the dancer. The colorful skirts  swing around with the movements of the dancers. Tie wooden legs (stilts)  should be securely tied to  their feet so that sound is produced  when they stamp  on the floor, quite similar to the  sound of he hooves of the horse. The dancer will normally brandish either a sword or a whip.  Poikkal Kuthirai Aatam is performed to the accompaniment of Naiyandi Melam.

The performers need a lot of training, it will take some time for them to walk on the  stilts (wooden legs) without loosing balance. Once they achieve the balance and  basic skill, then they should maneuver the body while wearing the stilts. If you keep wearing them for a long time, it is painful to the leg as well as to the whole body. In those days at many towns in Tamil Nadu, in particular, the delta districts, the road show was performed both by talented men and women   during religious festivals and provided  entertainment to the masses.  
Poikkaal Kuthirai Aattam
Karagattam and Kavadi Aatam are closely associated with  the Hindu religion, but this Poikkal kuthirai Attam was  performed for entertainment as well as for religious processions. About this dance there are references in  the great Tamil work of  Ilangovadikal ''Sillapathikaram''(2nd centuryAD). Legend has it, when Goddess Durga was performing  dance, her enemies became jealous of her and wanted to kill her by taking the guise of poisonous snakes and scorpions.  Goddess Durga, as usual, performed the dances, this time the goddess was wearing a pair of stilts below her feet. The poisonous critters got crushed and killed.

Abhisekam (consecration) at the Hindu temples.- an elaborate way to get the ''lord's blessing - a brief note

abhisekam is done to Murugan idol (utchvar) by priests.
,Shiva linga abhisekam,TN. Sankara yatra com Hindusthan today com.
Abhisekam Lord Shiva, Thanjavur big temple, TN ,shankara yatra com
Particularly, in all Hindu temples, there are daily puja rituals conducted by the temple priests  and they include Aarthi, conducting prayer/puja  six times or four times a day, etc. The morning ritual is called Abhiṣeka(m) or abhisheka(m) and  is conducted in an auspicious period by the temple priests while chanting specific mantras.  It is a laborious ritual in all Shiva temples as well  as Kali, Durga and Mariamman temples. The abhisekam is done on the stone idol of the deity in the sanctum/ garbagriha.  On certain occasions, it is conducted on the Utchavar brass idol kept in the sanctum. 
Shiva linga abhisekam by a priest.  you tube
What is Abhiseka? It is a Sanskrit word meaning "bathing of the divinity to whom worship is offered.   "It is part of the temple religious worship/ rite  that has been around for more than 1000 plus years. The officiating priests pour  a liquid offering on the image or murti of a God or Goddess. The liquid could be holy water, milk,  sesame oil, sandalwood-paste water, etc.  While abhiseka or anointing is going on, the priests will be chanting relevant mantras  till the end of the ceremony. Once the ceremonial bath is over, the screen near the sanctum is closed. The priests will be busy beautifully decorating the presiding deity  with fine clothes, jewels  and flower garlands, etc. The alangaram/ decoration of the divinity will be a special one relevent to that day and temple schedule. Then the screen will be open for darshan with various aarthis.  The next abhisekam will be on the following morning.   Abhiṣeka is common to other  Indian religions such as  Buddhism and Jainism, but their methods are different.  

Unlike Shiva-Shakti worship at temples, in the case of  temple worship of Vishnu , abhiseka is not mandatory and the god and goddess will be ceremoniously given  what is called ''Thailakkappu'' -  application of oil mixed with herbs on the idol. The oil is applied on the entire idols. Once it is done, the daily puja protocols, etc will resume. Thailakkapu is not done frequently  on the deities  at Vaishnava temples.

A Rudrābhiṣeka or abhiṣeka of Rudra is performed on  Shiva lingams. A Kumbhabhishekam (consecration) /Samrokshanam (Vishnu temples) is  performed in Hindu temple once in 12 years. The entire temple undergoes white-washing, painting, civil  repairs, cleaning of  stone and metal idols, sculptures, etc. All the kalasas atop the vimanas will be cleaned and  and refilled with fresh Dhanya inside them .  Conducting Homam  in  front of 'Yagakundam' (pit of fire) in the 'yagasala'  for certain days  is the most important part of the ceremony.   Equally important is the  poring of the holy  water  kept in the Yagasala  on the kalasas atop the temple vimana  and this will complete  this significant ritual. This is done for the prosperity of the town and the state.

Krishnapura Chhatris of Indore, MP - needs good restoration work!!

Krishnapura Chhatris, Indore city, MP.
Krishnapura chhatris, Indore, MP, Just
Top image: Lord Srisha is playing flute at Krishnapura Chhatris complex, Indore city, India..............
The  roughly  300 years old  historic Krishnapura Chhatris of Indore just half a kilo meter from the city palace of the Holker family -Rajwade is a popular tourist spot and here lies the mortal remains of many rulers of the Holker dynasty. The complex built in the middle of  19th century has well ornamented cenotaphs and chhatris supported by ornate columns with fine decorations on the exterior as well as on the interior.  
In the last several years, the Krishnapura Chhatris complex is not well maintained and the up keep is poor. Nor is it well guarded by some security people. Having  withstood the ravages of time this far, this site  a few years ago had to face the  raid of hobos, junkies and useless characters, creating an insecure atmosphere, in particular, for women.   Way back in August 2016, the Hindustan News paper carried an article about the poor condition of this historic site. The tourists and others  were afraid to visit this place because it turned out to be a hangout for the drunks and indecent people including  anti-social elements. 

What is so pailful is the local city administration is turning a blind eye to the plight of this old site  that  is  being misused by unauthorized people.  No guards are posted there, the place is not properly barricaded either. The Krishnapura Chhatris complex,  named after Maharajah Yashwant Rao Holkar I’s wife Kesarbai Holkar (also known as Rajmata Krishnabai), houses five cenotaphs. They were funerary memorials  built on the banks of the Chandra Bhaga and Khan rivers. What is so impressive is their architectural features - 01. a blend of Hindu and Mogul style of design patronized by the rulers of  the Marathas, Rajputs and Mughals, 02.  nicely carved statues of warriors, etc, 03. beautiful carvings of gods and goddesses on the outer and inner walls
Interior, Krishnapura Chhatris, Indore,
Interior, Krishnapura Chhatris, Indore,

Krishnapura Chhatris, Indore city,
Krishnapura Chhatris, Indore city,

The  article mentioned about the complaint by a  resident woman, “The chhatris have dropped out of the list of attractions in Indore because of drunkards and drug users, father used to bring me here all the time when I was a child, but they don’t seem safe anymore. The stares we get are discouraging enough.”

Close to the place there are heaps of filth and the rodents used to raid them salvaging for food.  Inside the complex visitors could see rats scurrying around the cenotaphs and chhatris. The visitors can not enjoy the beauty of the chhatries, etc by standing in a place ridden with lots rats crisscrossing the site. 
Way back in 2016 it self the residents were quite disappointed with the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) and the Indore Gaurav Foundation (IFG), who promised to  to beautify the place in 2015 itself. They put up faulty light posts whic faltered a month later. Nothing solid has been done so far. As of 2018 the heritage lovers of this city were  making persistent efforts to clean up the Krishnapura Chatris complex. and free it from the grip of junkies and drug-addicts.  In 2018, the State  Tourism Department had a proposal to repair and restore the chhatris  and include this site in the  walking tour of the historic sites of Indore city. The officials at the municipal corporation say, the main road block is paucity of fund. A large chunk of money goes to the civil works, etc.  Soon, it is believed, security guards would  be deployed there to avoid trespassing of anti-social characters, etc. Photo credit:

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Khirki Mosque, a fort-like pre-Mogul structure of Delhi - needs publicity

unique fort-like design, Khirki Mosque, Delhi.
Fort like look, Khirki mosque, Delhi. tripadvisor in.n
Unlike countless masjids built here in Delhi  or  elsewhere the  Khirki Masjid  structurally looks  different. The local people of  Khirki Village in South Delhi  call it ‘the qila’ (fort) rather than as ‘the masjid’. Kirki means window, hence it is called a ''Mosque of Windows''.  It is close to the Satpula or the seven arched bridge on the edge of southern wall of Jahapanah (the fourth city of Medieval Delhi).  
Khirki Mosque, Khirki, Delhi
The very first glance at this structure won't impress  you as a place of Muslim worship. The reason  is  its massive sloping rubble walls, its corner domed towers and  rubble masonry front part ,  would make it look like a fortified building, certainly not a holy place.  Khirki Masjid, with a large square plan, was built  by Khan-i-Jahan Junan Shah, the Prime Minister of Feroz Shah Tughlaq (1351–1388) of the Tughlaq Dynasty (during Firoz Shah’s reign (probably in 1375 AD). Some historians suggest the structure is dated back to the 1350s   The two-story structure  has four domed towers at four corners and they appear to bulge out. The lower level has rows of shallow, arched cells  and above them is the entrance where  worshipers would enter the masjid to offer Namaz/ prayer.
Khirki Mosque, Khirki, Delhi
Central arcade, Khirki Mosque,
The unusual  aspect of this mosque is the intentional fusion of Islamic and traditional Hindu architecture  and further, this structure seems to be the only   monument-style mosque in North India, which is mostly covered.  During the  Muslim rule of North Karnataka, in places like Gulbarga such covered mosques were built in the past. 
The construction date of this mosque is under debate. The  inscriptions on the eastern gate of the Mosque say the builder was 'Khan-e-Jahan Junaan Shah'. Some historians in their study "The Tughluqs: Master Builders of the Delhi Sultanate"  made comparison with other construction activities of that period. It is    dated between 1351 and 1354 when Feroz Shah Tughlaq, during his stay in Jahapanah, ordered this mosque to be built as "his pious inaugural contribution to the Capital"

The main structure is raised on a plinth of 3 m (9.8 ft). There are four open courtyards surrounded  by arcades built with 180 square structural columns and 60 pilasters. They  run in north–south direction and divides into aisles. In the interior, bays of arcades signify non-hierarchical space.  The advantage of open courtyards is it is a source  of light and ventilation to the interior prayer areas.  It is quite comfortable  during Namaz in the summer time. As for the roof, it has 25 partitioned  squares of equal size  with 9  small domes in each square. It means a total of 81 domes with alternating  12 flat surface to cover the roof. The four corners of the mosque are adorned with domed towers that look like watch towers. .   There are  3 protruding  gateways at the corners of the mosque, fourth one is absent or missing?  The turrets that flank the south  and north  gates are circular in shape; their articulation  gives them a three storied appearance.
The main gate, which leads to the qibla on the western wall, has a projecting mihrab. There are arch windows (carved out of stone guard) with perforated screens or jalis or tracery on the vaulted first floor cells. They are known as "Khirkis", seen on the second floor.
The mosque's walls are made of typical   rubble masonry construction with plastered surface on the outside. The interior walls are simple  with traditional carved stone screens.
Khirki Mosque, roof terrace.
The presence of large number of stone screen windows in this mosque is a slight departure from the earlier style and  the Khirki Mosque's  unique architectural  element and style is widely interpreted as  a precursor to the intensely ornamental-rich Mogul style of  architecture (1526-1857) and of  the Lodhi 's (1451–1526.
 The salient features are: interiors are undercoated but  for traditional carved stone screens (jalis) that also admit light and provide ventilation. The rubble core construction of the mosque's walls, both exterior and interior, can be seen in places where the plaster has fallen off.,  Fort-like look., nicely made stone-screen windows.
This mosque was in a state of neglect for a long time and this resulted in the collapse of a few domes and the dilapidated condition of some parts of the mosque. Delhi chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)  categorized the monument as "Grade A" in terms of archaeological value and was a partner in the restoration work.  Way back in 2010, the ASI recognized  this mosque among the 43 monuments to be restored before 2010. The ASI was not happy with the restoration work done earlier and have a proposal to  try new methods with use of lime in correct   quantity.