At the southern end of Mehrauli, after crossing the congested bazaar, you will see a large tank, the Hauz-i-Shamsi, built by King Shamsud-Din Iltutmish of the Slave Dynasty in 1230. The water of the tank is considered sacred because of its association with famous saints and fakirs who visited the tank in the years after its construction. Moreover, according to legend the idea of constructing a tank was given to Iltutmish by the Prophet himself, when he appeared in his dream. The Prophet not only gave the idea but also suggested the site suitable for constructing a tank. The very next morning the site suggested by the Prophet had the impression of one of the hoofs of the Prophet’s horse and thus Iltutmish decided to excavate the tank around the impression of the hoof.
The tank was constructed on a large scale, and it is spread over 20000 square meters. The tank is so big that even the popular Moorish traveler Ibn-Batuta has mentioned and praised its vastness in his writings. The major source of water of this reservoir was rainwater. Apart from the tank, Iltutmish also built a red sandstone domed pavilion, which is now located near the southwestern corner of the tank. However, it is said that this pavilion resting on twelve pillars was built in the center of the tank and was only reached by boats when the tank was full.
At present, a green park has been laid out around Hauz-i-Shamsi. In recent developments, plans have been suggested to beautify Hauz-i-Shamsi and use it for harvesting ground water to solve the area’s water shortage problem. However, for this its artificial reservoir and the bed that has dried up needs to be revived.