Dara Shikoh was the favourite son of the Mughal Emperor of Shah Jahan. He was believed to be the successor to the Mughal throne. Like his father Shah Jahan, Dara Shikoh also exhibited a keen interest in architecture. He made a mansion of his own near the Kashmiri gate, which housed the famous Dara Shikoh Library. Once a personal library of Mughal Prince, today lies on the verge of decay, inside the campus of Ambedkar University Delhi. The library has been converted into a makeshift museum under the protection and care of the Archeological Survey of India. The library was believed to be of multiple purposes during the Mughal era. Dara Shikoh who was supposed to succeed the throne was killed by his stepbrother, Aurangzeb, during the battle of the throne. Since then the library has been of least importance. Today, it doesn’t exhibit books but it surely does narrate the chronicles of Mughal Era.
History of the Attraction
The library is believed to be built during the year 1643 during the rule of Shah Jahan. Dara Shikoh personally overlooked the construction of the library. After Shah Jahan’s illness and inability to rule, a war broke out between all the sons of Shah Jahan. This was a usual practice to decide the successor of the throne. Shah Jahan’s favourite son, Dara Shikoh was believed to be the next king. However, he was defeated by Aurangzeb, who went onto to rule the Mughal empire. Post Dara Shikoh’s death, the library was left ignored. Historians believe that after prince’s death the library was given to Portuguese governess of the Mughal children, Donna Juliana. It was later purchased by Nawab Safdarjung in the 18th century. After that, the complex was later converted into a British residency occupied by Sir David Ochterlony. After this, the complex has been converted into a municipal school. However, the surrounding Mughal complex was later allocated to the Ambedkar University Delhi, within which the Library lies. In 2011, the Delhi Government led by Sheila Dixit collaborated with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to renovate the library into a state museum. The museum displays 2,200 artefacts and remains from the Mughal era including coins and statues.
The nearest metro station to the Dara Shikoh Library is Kashmiri Gate Metro Station. The station lies on Yellow Line, Red Line and Violet Line of Delhi Metro
Things to do in and around
Kashmiri Gate is part of the Shahjahanpur city which was constructed by Shah Jahan. There are various other Mughal monuments in the vicinity. You can visit Kashmiri Gate. Chandni Chowk is 10 minutes’ drive away. You can explore other Mughal monuments like Red Fort and Jama Masjid. Chandni Chowk market is also accessible and it is one of the most famous markets in Delhi. Chandni Chowk also boasts of its street food varieties which are considered to be most delicious in the city. You can also visit various spiritual places like Gurudwara and temples in the Chandni Chowk.
Opening and closing time
Open all day from 9 am to 5 pm
There is no entry fee for Dara Shikoh Library
Best Time to Visit:
It’s open throughout the year and you can visit it anytime you want.