I would like to start off writing about this heritage walk with an anecdote about a family who were trying to reach the venue on the morning of the 10th. This couple & their girl of 10 years of age are regulars on our heritage walks. Their taxi driver stopped outside the Old Fort & told them that this is the only qila/old ruin around here, so this must be Kotla. The girl took one look at the walls of the old fort & promptly informed her family that this does not look like a Tughluq period building & they should keep looking for Kotla! (more…)
For a small trek through Delhi’s landscapes, try Northern Ridge, in the winters. Throw in exploration of some of the sites of 1857 which played out in this area, and it is a day well spent. Our heritage walk in Northern Ridge traces a route connecting a few landmarks of 1857 in the Kamla Nehru Northern Ridge. We start at Delhi University Vice Chancellor’s office, which is a notable example of colonial building style. It used to be the Vice Regal Lodge when the new city of Delhi was under construction. One piece of gossip about this building is that it was in the Registrar’s office here that Lord Mountbatten (last Viceroy of India) proposed to Edwina. To complete the triangle & the irony, we now have a bust of Nehru looking wistfully towards the building!!
Heritage walk at Hauz Khas complex also aims at telling people that there’s more to Hauz Khas than the village. The place known as hippest shopping centre in Delhi, the group walked along the lane to a monumental complex amongst all that greenery along the banks of the Hauz, an artificial tank constructed by Alauddin Khalji in the 13th century named as Hauz-e- Alai. We all climbed on a slightly raised, platform which overlooks a stunning view. I am sure people must have thanked Alauddin for constructing a tank of 28 hectares which catered to the water needs of the villagers around the place. Sadly, after Alauddin’s reign ended, the hauz was abandoned and water channels got silted. The Tughlaqs took over in the 14th Century; & Firuz Shah Tughluq decided to make use of the water body once again. (more…)
If a Delhi-ite wants to experience a place which tells you stories about Delhi’s Islamic rule and present life, one must visit, Hauz Khas complex. Amidst of contradictions, once forming the outskirts of the city of Siri, known for its reservoir and monuments of 14th century is now a fashion street & has come a long way. One of the most fascinating things about this place is we walk down through a busy road with shops and boutiques, this chaos and noise leads to a quite and different place, the Hauz Khas monument complex. The participants in our heritage walk are awestruck at the view when we stand on the parapet which over looks the tank; the first reaction I get to hear is “wow, what a view!” The credit of building this tank goes to Alauddin Khalji. (more…)
The ruins in Hauz Khas village are among the most fascinating in Delhi. The neighbourhood gets its name from the reservoir, ‘Hauz i Alai’ built by Sultan Alauddin Khalji in early 14th century, for his capital city of Siri. About 50 year after Khalji, Sultan Firuz Shah Tughluq restored the silted up tank, built a madrasa along its edge and called it the ‘Hauz Khas’. The massive madrasa complex along the lake was among the most important in the Islamic world in the 14th century. A contemporary poet wrote in its praise: (more…)