The walk this Sunday came after a long break for me…I returning to doing heritage walks after a while…so a new start with gleaming new faces.. With a group of 20, our heritage walk started from the Nicholson’s Cemetery, a hidden historic gem of the city. Here the graves-big n small decorated with red stone and marble are photographers’ favourite. Across the road crossing the metro line -( where once stood the wall demarcating Shahjahanabad from the outer ridge area) we reached premises of Kashmiri gate. Cannon ball marks from 1857 battles are still prominent around the gate which initially had a single entrance n later made 2 gateways by the by British official – Major Smith. All major war strategies of 1857 were made by Indians from here. We moved along locating Fakhr-ul-Masajid built in memory of Shujaat Khan (commander under Aurangzeb) in 1728-29. Next to the mosque are famous old buildings of the Hindu College and St. Stephen’s College. Hindu College came as a reaction by nationalists to western influenced St. Stephen’s. Few steps away is another interesting college building- the Delhi College which became centre of Delhi Renaissance, was attacked by the Indian rebels in 1857 for representing western ideals. St. James church standing next to it is a very prominent structure of old Delhi; built by James Skinner, as a thanksgiving after he survived from battlefield. The church is made in plan of a Roman cross with beautiful interiors of tainted glass work.
Next stop was the library of Mughal prince, Dara Shukoh and the British Residency. Two different eras were seen in single structure within premises of the new Ambedkar University. The ground floor of this building was once the famous library which was torn down to make room for resident’s place. Currently the structure is utilised by officials of ASI. Just outside the university area stands the Telegraph Memorial and the remains of the British Magazine, both being British memorials to their martyrs in 1857. The last stop for the walk was Lothian’s Cemetery Delhi’s oldest British cemetery currently under reconstruction work by ASI. Yet we could locate, Thomas Dunne’s grave – an eight pillared structure. Hopefully in couple of months rest of the graves be restored just the same way.
(posted by Chhavi Sharma, team member, Delhi Heritage Walks; photos by Tarun Chaudhary)