The neighbourhood of Kashmiri gate is always an exciting heritage trail. Sometimes our group wades through knee deep water. On other days the neighbourhood is enveloped in fog during chilly winter mornings! This Sunday was a bright sunny day and we began our heritage walk at Nicholson’s Cemetery. The grass is a little overgrown now but it is charming little patch of land. There are some interesting craved gravestones. These graves belong to both British and Indians many belonging to the year 1857. The cemetery is still in use. The grave of Brig. Gen. John Nicholson (who was called Nikhal Sen by his Indian soldiers) is well protected. Another important personality buried here is Master Ramachandra, who taught at the Delhi College.
Our walk then proceeds towards the old Delhi area, towards the city wall of Shahjahanabad. Kashmiri gate was one of the several gates in the capital city of the Mughals. It was badly damaged during the siege of Delhi. Some of the cannon ball marks from that time remains intact on top portions of the gate. The area is recently restored under ASI and well preserved. All along the city wall here, one can see modern houses and the market once established by Lala Sultan Singh. The Bengali Club established in 1925 and a small mosque, the Fakhr-ul-Masajid, are along this stretch.
There is interesting tale behind our next stops: old Hindu college and old St. Stephens College. The rivalry between the two is legendary and is still followed by students studying in these institutions now at the North campus of Delhi University.
Beauty lies in the eyes of beholder but you certainty don’t need architectural or art background to acknowledge this magnificent structure, St. James Church built by James Skinner. Its plan is Roman cross style and the building is decorated with stained glass. Skinner was Anglo-Indian and built this church as thanks giving to God after his survived on a battlefield. Just adjacent to the church is the building from where once operated the famous Delhi College. It was attacked 1857 as it was seen as a center of Western education. It is now part of the I.P. University compound. The campus also houses the library of Dara Shukoh, later converted in the British Residency for David Ochterlony. Further ahead is the telegraph memorial and remains of the British magazine, both memorials established by the British. Our last stop was the Lothian Road Cemetery. It is currently under renovation by ASI and we hope to see the graves reconstructed and in a better shape in a few months.
(posted by Chhavi Sharma, team member, Delhi Heritage Walks)