A walk in Old Delhi (Shahjahanabad) was organized for IIT Delhi Alumni on 11 October. The weather was excellent and old friends getting together looked ready to enjoy themselves. The walk began with a round of introduction and Kanika Singh, the walk leader explained the places we were going to see. We started a little after 9.00 am and Chandni Chowk, the main street was already beginning to get crowded. The flower-sellers were busy selling marigold and dhatura (a poisonous weed) to visitors to Gauri Shankar temple. Food shops had started their business, their kachoris, samosas, jalebis and lassi were extremely tempting. Shahjahanabad is wonderful precisely because it combines food with history like no other place. We entered into Parathe wali gali and glanced at photographs of former Indian Prime Ministers eating at the famous shops in the gali. Except, someone noted that Nehru seemed to be eating rice and not parathas! The shops at kinari bazaar were starting their day’s business of selling goats and other embellishments for clothes and decorative items. We walked into Naughara which is one of the better maintained group of havelis in Shajahanabad. We zigzagged our way through the katras to reach Digambar Jain Naya Mandir. It is a beautifully decorated temple. The exterior has a richly carved jharokha and the interior is exquisitely painted in gold, green, red and blue. On the way to Jama Masjid, we peeped into Kucha Hamid, where one of the master builders of Shajahanabad, Ustad Hamid, had lived. Inside the Jama Masjid, we took a tour of premises. There is a room where Prophet Muhammad’s relics are kept but it was closed. The group decided to end the tour by walking up the minaret, which is open to public for a fee. If one can brave the steep climb, the view is worth it. The entire city of Old Delhi lies before one’s eyes in a breathtaking panorama.
(posted by Kanika Singh & Rajesh Ranjan, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)