It was a cloudy Sunday morning when I woke up just in time for my heritage walk. I had been very excited for a couple of days now, as this was going to be my 1st walk as a leader. Confidence remained intact, partly being a Historian n partly because I BELONGED TO Place we were going to visit or say Chandni Chock resides in ME…
More or else everybody reached on time and met on the very first stop-Digambar Jain Lal temple. We have 8-9 stops in the Chandni Chowk heritage walk n I had to be thorough with each; its history and much more as one always expects intellectuals, educators, foreign delegates, inquisitive students ranging from class 5th to university level to join us .Being a leader it becomes my utmost duty to be prompt to every question coming my way. Today’s group looked interested in knowing details about every place with lots of questions coming up and I tried my best to explain n solve their queries. This particular walk had 2 American ladies, 2 people from Pune and rest from Delhi and NCR comprising a good 15 in all.
Being a Sunday the main street looks dull at least to me who crosses it every single day but thankfully for group it was a better situation as they could freely move around the place unlike weekdays when you don’t find an inch of space. Some of the major eateries were also not open being it a Sunday yet the History and Place remains.
In our heritage walks one of our main focuses is to show how the past still continues as monuments and old structures remain in function like the SBI bank or the Town hall being converted to MCD headquarters post Independence. Along with that, the very distinguishable Mughal & British architecture which still survives; the Chunna mal haveli or the Gauri Shankar temple which constantly changes with renovation work now and then.
Being my very 1st walk, I now feel that I missing out a lot of points: information, interesting facts I knew, but did not share with others….but, hoping to improve with practice J… the old Chunna mal’s haveli comprising around 145 or 195 rooms, the shivalaya (shiva temple) in Katra Neel which had striking resemblance to the aesthetics of Fatehpuri masjid’s: the dome, arches and baluster columns..
Our last stop was the spice market in Khari baoli. It was surprising with only 1 sneeze among so many of us as we walked along shops displaying freshly ground chilly, turmeric & black pepper. We walked op the Gadodia market in Khari baoli. Even after climbing 4 floors, everyone’s eyes just brightened looking at the astonishing sights this building offers! There are offices, warehouses which store spices in bulk, people living in small rooms…he Gadodia market building itself has some very pretty remains of colonial architecture. And from the roof, one could see nearly all of walled city, the Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk all way to the Red Fort, people flying kites on their rooftops….It was just one plain road from Red fort to Fatehpuri Masjid and it continues to sustain millions of stories…this is what we tried to convey in our heritage walk through old Delhi
(posted by Chhavi Sharma & photos by Rajesh Ranjan, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)