India’s Wildlife History: Book Discussion with Mahesh Rangarajan, 7aug16

August 11, 2016 in Book Club,Delhi Heritage Walks | Comments (0)


Did you ever notice that the ten rupee note has three animals on it: rhino, elephant and tiger? Or that new species of flora and fauna continue to be discovered in India? Did you think about existence of varied ecosystems in India when you think about ‘unity in diversity’? How does one go about doing wildlife history? These are some of the questions and themes brought into focus during our book discussion on 7 August. Organised by the Delhi Heritage Walks’ Book Club, the work under consideration was India's Wildlife History: An Introduction written by Mahesh Rangarajan. This book captures the relationship between humans and nature over a vast time span and landscape of India's history. It discusses the understanding of wildlife in ancient, medieval and colonial times; questions of exploitation and conservation by drawing upon numerous sources such as official records, memoirs and mythology. Prof. Rangarajan who teaches History and Environmental Studies at Ashoka University, was the discussant.


Walking tour to Hauz Khas monuments, 14may16

May 21, 2016 in Deer Park,DHW,hauz Khas,Hauz Khas Heritage Walks,Heritage Walks,Walking Tour | Comments (0)

The heritage walk at Hauz Khas includes visits to the 14th century madarsa (Islamic seminary), the water tank and the tombs located around the village and the Deer Park.  This walk was in a way continuation of the first walk held at the Firuz Shah Kotla (citadel and palace of Firuz Shah) as some of the monuments in Hauz Khas were also built by Firuz Shah Tughluq. The monument complex comprising the madrasa is located next to the Deer Park and its passage is through the famous Hauz Khas village market, known for its fashion shops, pubs and eateries.


Heritage Walk to Mehrauli Archaeological Park, 7may16

May 13, 2016 in DHW,Mehrauli Archaeological Park,Mehrauli Archaeological Park Heritage Walks,Mehrauli Village Heritage Walks,Walking Tour | Comments (2)

Mehrauli area of Delhi is one of those sites of the world that has a history of continuous habitation for almost a thousand years.  One of the most famous monuments of India, the Qutb Minar (built in the early 13th century) is located in this area.  But there are many other tombs, palaces, baolis (stepwell), shrines, mosques and other historical structures that are to be found there.  Mehrauli Archaeological Park has trails developed around medieval monuments dating from the 13th to the 19th century.  In other words, beginning from what is commonly referred to as the time of the Slave dynasty right up to the early colonial period.


DHW Book Club – Discussion on Romila Thapar’s Somanatha, 6 Dec ‘15

December 8, 2015 in Book Club,Delhi Heritage Walks,Lodi Garden | Comments (1)

Delhi Heritage Walks’ Book Club held its second session at Lodi Garden on 6 December. The book chosen for the discussion was Romila Thapar’s Somanatha: The Many Voices of a History and Tanuja Kothiyal, a historian of medieval India at Ambedkar University Delhi, and currently Fellow at Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, was the discussant. The choice of the book seemed apt for the day: 6 December is the date of destruction of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya which is believed to have been built on the birthplace of Lord Ram. The act of pulling down the mosque was to avenge the oppression faced by the Hindu community under Muslim rule. Mahmud Ghazni’s raids into India and particularly his raid on temple of Somanatha in the year 1026 is considered the beginning of foreign invasions led by fanatical Muslims who were here to attack the Hindu religion. The Rath Yatra led by BJP leader L.K. Advani which culminated in Babri Masjid demolition, started in 1990, at Somanatha. Romila Thapar’s book notes that the event has been projected as central to relations between Hindus and Muslims in South Asia and explores the interpretations of this event in the last two centuries. The author draws upon a number of sources including local Sanskrit inscriptions, Jain narratives, biographies of kings & merchants of the period, court epics & popular narratives and Persian chronicles to study the different versions of Mahmud’s raids on India.


Sunday Evening at Kotla Firuz Shah, 29nov15

December 2, 2015 in Delhi Heritage Walks,DHW,Heritage Walks,Kotla Firuz Shah,Kotla Firuz Shah Heritage Walks,Monuments of Delhi,Walking Tour | Comments (0)

All of us know of the cricket stadium of Kotla Firuz Shah. Right behind the stadium is the ruined city of Kotla Firuz Shah, the complex which gives the stadium its name. The city was constructed by third Tughluq king, Firuz Shah Tughluq in the 14th century. Our heritage walk to Kotla was organized on Sunday evening which saw a good number of devotees who were in the complex to pray to the djinns. The local tradition is that this is the abode of djinns. The city is believed to have extended from a hunting lodge called Kushak –i-Shikar (presently at Northern Ridge) to Hauz Khas (in south Delhi). The city continued to be inhabited till 18th century but was abandoned later because it had no wall to give protection against dacoits and looters. At present, there are only three prominent monuments which remain standing in the citadel area: Jama Masjid, the pyramidal building with Ashokan Pillar on it and a circular baoli.