Mehrauli area of Delhi is one of those sites of the world that has a history of continuous habitation for almost a thousand years. One of the most famous monuments of India, the Qutb Minar (built in the early 13th century) is located in this area. But there are many other tombs, palaces, baolis (stepwell), shrines, mosques and other historical structures that are to be found there. Mehrauli Archaeological Park has trails developed around medieval monuments dating from the 13th to the 19th century. In other words, beginning from what is commonly referred to as the time of the Slave dynasty right up to the early colonial period.
Posts Tagged ‘heritage trail’
All of us know of the cricket stadium of Kotla Firuz Shah. Right behind the stadium is the ruined city of Kotla Firuz Shah, the complex which gives the stadium its name. The city was constructed by third Tughluq king, Firuz Shah Tughluq in the 14th century. Our heritage walk to Kotla was organized on Sunday evening which saw a good number of devotees who were in the complex to pray to the djinns. The local tradition is that this is the abode of djinns. The city is believed to have extended from a hunting lodge called Kushak –i-Shikar (presently at Northern Ridge) to Hauz Khas (in south Delhi). The city continued to be inhabited till 18th century but was abandoned later because it had no wall to give protection against dacoits and looters. At present, there are only three prominent monuments which remain standing in the citadel area: Jama Masjid, the pyramidal building with Ashokan Pillar on it and a circular baoli.
This heritage walk explores the history of the city of Shahjahanabad, today, old Delhi or Purani Dilli. The trail focuses on the street of Chandni Chowk which was the main boulevard of the 17th century city, and still remains so. Over a period of 400 years the city has seen many changes, but two events have most prominently shaped it: the suppression of the rebellion of 1857, and the Partition of 1947. Delhi was one of the major centres of the Revolt of 1857. The rebellion was crushed and the Mughal dynasty came to an end. India became a British colony. The British occupied the Red Fort and the city and large parts of the city were flattened. A clearing was created outside Red Fort to provide for firing range, in case of another rebellion; prominent public buildings like Fatehpuri Masjid were razed in this clearance of settlements; the Mughal buildings inside the Fort were pulled down and barracks for British soldiers created. The physical fabric of the city was drastically altered. 1947 saw a massive migration of people across the newly created border. A number of refugee colonies came up to settle the people displaced by Partition. Many of these were built on lands which were part of garden estates of the nobility in Shahjahanabad. Both 1857 & 1947 have had a tremendous impact on the life of the city and as it appears to us today. We also have to keep in mind that in old Delhi many site will have historical associations but the buildings identifying the sites could be fairly recent. This is because it is an area of continuous settlement; people who have lived here have built, repaired and rebuilt on older sites.
Doing a heritage walk in Lodi Gardens is quite different from most of DHW’s other trails. More often than not, the ruins we wish to explore are empty on a weekend, and seem to be part of a distant world. But Lodi Gardens at 7:30am on a Saturday is bustling. It’s not called ‘Jogger’s Paradise’ without reason— walkers, runners, and exercise groups of all ages were out and about.
Here are the pictures from our new heritage walk at neighbourhood of Old Fort. The sites include Khair ul Manazil, Lal Darwaza, Bagh e Bedil & shrine of Shaikh Nuruddin Malik Yar Parran, Matka Pir & ending at Bhairon Mandir. The walk was led by Kanika Singh & photos are by Moby Zachariah, both team members of Delhi Heritage Walks. Thanks all for joining us!