Despite the name conjuring up images of ghosts & bloodshed from times long gone, Khooni Darwaza, you can be rest assured is neither haunted nor jinxed! Although the fact that the gate has had its share of bloodshed throughout the course of history does hold merit, these events have just been a blip in the larger scheme of changes the city has witnessed over the centuries. Read on!
Sometimes also referred to as the Lal Darwaza, the archway lies bang in the middle of Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, near the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. Constructed during Sher Shah Suri’s reign, it is one of the 13 surviving gates in Delhi. Other notable gates like Delhi Gate, Ajmeri Gate, Kashmiri Gate, Mori Gate and Turkman Gate are not too far away & give one a vivid picture of how the Old Fort complex along with the city thriving inside was envisaged. The structure is a typical example of the Mughal architecture of that era, with trademark arches & window sills that brighten up the rather plain exterior.
So here's the real story first. This place takes its name from the gruesome murder of three Mughal princes - sons of Bahadur Shah Zafar, who were stripped naked & shot at point blank range at the orders of British Major Hudson during the 1857 Revolt, who, fearing a mutiny by the crowd following the incident, gave the orders that would later lead to his own downfall
Otherwise, the archway, a 3-tiered structure built of Delhi Quartz stone is believed to have been a display board for the heads of offenders during Sher Shah Suri's time. Taking into account the fact that the gate would have been located on the outskirts of Delhi then, it does make sense.
Further claims state that Mughal emperor Jahangir ordered death for the two sons of Rahim Khan-I-Khana (remember Rahim Ke Dohe), one of the Navratnas (nine jewels) in his father’s (Akbar's) court, who were not too happy with Jehangir's ascension to the throne. It is also believed to have seen some bloodshed during Nadir Shah’s raids; however, both these claims have not been sufficiently corroborated.
The monument was not even spared during the Partition of 1947, and saw bloodshed as refugees were urgently hustling towards the safety of the Purana Qila. All such stories have inevitably left the archway with a reputation for being haunted, but the fencing done by ASI is simply to prevent miscreants from causing damage, and the red stains on the wall are just weathered chunks of sandstone (sorry to bust that myth for you!).
On a very unfortunate and shameful day in December 2002, a medical student of Maulana Azad Medical College was raped by three rapists, on the terrace of the Khooni Darwaza in broad daylight. MAMC lies just across the road to the gate, while across the other end of the road lies the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. The fact that a person can be raped in the middle of such a busy road, in a monument which is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India is a painful reminder of how the times that we are currently living in are as primeval as when murdered, naked bodies used to hang on the gate for display, or maybe even worse.
Following the gory incident in 2002, the gate was shut off to the general public. A talk with the security guard there will assure you that nobody without a permit can enter that place except him. The Khooni Darwaza now lies desolate and tired, thoroughly haunted and traumatized by all that has happened here over the centuries, rendering it’s name bloody forever.
With goosebumps and chills, we stand simply stunned at the gory, horrible events this ages-old monument has already witnessed! Go take a peek at this monstrosity.
Location | Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Opposite Feroz Shah Kotla cricket ground