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Nizamuddin Baoli

Statesman News Service |

The Nizamuddin baoli has now been renovated under the aegis of the Aga Khan Trust for Art and Culture. More than 40 ft of slush and mud has been scooped out of it and the houses that had come up all around demolished with a view to rebuilding them without encroachment on the historic site. 

Like the Ugrasen baoli, Nizamuddin baoli is also a heritage structure, older than the former and more popular in view of its association with Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, who had defied Sultan Ghiasuddin Tughlak to build it. When the peeved Sultan banned the sale of oil so that labourers could not stealthily work on the baoli at night, the Auliya asked them to use plain water in their lamps. And, lo, they burnt all night. However, drowning accidents have also been reported at this hallowed spot. The belief is that the baoli takes one sacrifice of a human life every year. But this could be due to negligence on the part of swimmers in the baoli.One expert opined that the mud and slush that had accumulated at the bottom of the baoli sucked in an unwary swimmer. 

Now that this has been removed perhaps fewer drowning cases will be reported from the baoli, whose foundations are fabled to rest on the land of the Balishtiyas, a race only a human palm’s span in height (sic). There are other legends too, which defy logic but then faith does not seek sustenance from rational thinking, which spoils the aura that blind belief imparts to hoary places. Nizamuddin baoli is no exception.