For us the 1857 heritage walk at Kashmiri gate has become synonymous with rain. For the last three months, on the day of Kashmiri gate heritage walk, it rains! Thankfully no walk has been cancelled because of it. Rather, the rain added to the charm of walking around the city, exploring its heritage. So once again we were out with our umbrellas, walking around Kashmiri Gate
For me, leading the walk is a new experience every time:it is a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests. Their enthusiasm is infectious. For this particular walk we had people coming in from NOIDA & Gurgaon in the rains! Nicholson’s cemetery, our starting point was like a mini pool with water rushing out of it as we entered the gate. After looking at Brigadier General John Nicholson’s and Master Ramachandra’s graves we walked towards Kashmiri gate hopping and skipping around puddles & sometimes wading through water! This walk was as much a trek as it was about heritage. I stopped a while around metro line to explain about the siege of Delhi and how Shahjahanabad (old Delhi) was surrounded by the British and rebels were fighting from inside the city.It is always exciting to climb to Kashmiri gate’s rooftop and imagine how one could look to far as St.James and metro line which runs on the northern side; 150 years ago, the rebels must have stood here against the onslaught of the British. A little ahead is which was once Lala Sultan Singh’s property. The market has the pretty little Lal Masjid and the buildings of old Hindu College and St. Stephens College; now being used as MCD and election commission offices. Our next stop, St. James Church built by James skinner is oldest church in Delhi and one of the very beautiful and well maintained structures. Since the prayer services are on, on Sunday’s we avoid the disturbing the service and walk around the churchyard. The churchyard has the family burial ground of James Skinner. Skinner himself is buried near the altar inside St. James. Moving on to to the I.P. university area which consists of- old Delhi college attacked by mutineers in 1857 and Dara Shikoh’s library later residence of the British resident, David Ochterlony. Just outside the University campus is the Telegraph Memorial and remains of the British Magazine. We concluded our walk at the Lothian road cemetery and closely looked at ruins of graves pertaining to time period of early 1800’s. It is amazing that more than 200 years have past and history still lives with us through these big and small ruins.
(posted by Rajesh Ranjan & Chhavi Sharma, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)