This heritage walk explores the history of the city of Shahjahanabad, today, old Delhi or Purani Dilli. The trail focuses on the street of Chandni Chowk which was the main boulevard of the 17th century city, and still remains so. Over a period of 400 years the city has seen many changes, but two events have most prominently shaped it: the suppression of the rebellion of 1857, and the Partition of 1947. Delhi was one of the major centres of the Revolt of 1857. The rebellion was crushed and the Mughal dynasty came to an end. India became a British colony. The British occupied the Red Fort and the city and large parts of the city were flattened. A clearing was created outside Red Fort to provide for firing range, in case of another rebellion; prominent public buildings like Fatehpuri Masjid were razed in this clearance of settlements; the Mughal buildings inside the Fort were pulled down and barracks for British soldiers created. The physical fabric of the city was drastically altered. 1947 saw a massive migration of people across the newly created border. A number of refugee colonies came up to settle the people displaced by Partition. Many of these were built on lands which were part of garden estates of the nobility in Shahjahanabad. Both 1857 & 1947 have had a tremendous impact on the life of the city and as it appears to us today. We also have to keep in mind that in old Delhi many site will have historical associations but the buildings identifying the sites could be fairly recent. This is because it is an area of continuous settlement; people who have lived here have built, repaired and rebuilt on older sites.
Archive for the ‘Old Delhi’ Category
Old Delhi is a fantastic location to trace different phases of Indian history. This Sunday our heritage walk focused on exploring Chandni Chowk, the main street of the city of Shahjahanabad, to understands the ups & downs, changes in Mughal rule & the arrival of British. We started near the mouth of Chandni Chowk, near Red Fort. The first stop is two old temples: Digambar Jain Lal Mandir and Gauri Shankar Temple. Former is a Jain temple of the Digambar sect while ltater is a Shaiva temple dedicated to main Hindu deity Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati or Gauri.
Our next stop is the State Bank of India building whose large façade, round arches, Roman pillars and high ceilings are typical of colonial architecture. However, it is interesting to note that it is built over an estate of Kashmiri dancing girl-Begum Samru who was very influential in the eighteenth century. Her palace still exists and is part of Bhagirath Place which is Asia’s biggest electronic market today. A few steps ahead is Dariba Kalan which is a popular street for jewellery. The market has some traditional businesses which manufacture &s sell itra, i.e perfumes or essence. (more…)
This Sunday morning was a spent rambling around the historic street of Chandni Chowk. Our heritage walks here focus on discovering discreet phenomenon which were responsible for shaping up this place the way we see it today. Shahjahanabad has seen affluence and as well as the crises of the Mughal Empire. Further, the creeping in of British influence is also evident in the Mughal capital city. (more…)
This heritage walk in old Delhi includes sampling some of the street food. We started our walking tour at one of the biggest and most popular mosques in Asia, Jama Masjid. It was built in mid-seventeenth century by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan. It is built on a hillock, high above rest of the ground & gives an excellent view of the surrounding busy market streets. The trail follows the main street of Chawri Bazaar. (more…)
This Sunday morning we marched out for a walking tour of the city of Shahjahanabad. The focus of the walk was the main street of Chandni Chowk, which runs perpendicular to the Red Fort. I started with a brief introduction about the history of what is today called old Delhi. The first landmarks of interest are two very old temples: the Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, the oldest Jain Temple of the city & adjacent to it was a Shaiva temple called Gauri Shankar Mandir. Braving the chaos and traffic we reached State Bank of India building which is built on the estate of Begam Samroo. (more…)