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:
The courtyard was soul-animating, and its expanse was life-giving. Its dusk was musk-scented, and its fragrance possessed the odour of amber…Nightingales, so to say, were singing their melodious songs everywhere. It appeared, as if they had guitars in their talons and flutes in their beaks.
Today, the view is equally grand. Continue Reading This Post
A heritage walk in old Delhi is always exciting: the noise, the colourful sights & the delicious smells of food being prepared, adding to the general enthusiasm of visitors & locals alike. This Sunday, seemed a little less crowded than usual. Of course the shrines like the Digamber Jain Lal Mandir, the Sish ganj gurudwara and Gauri Shankar temple were bustling with activity. In contrast, the Fatehpuri Masjid at the end of Chandni Chowk is remarkably peaceful. We started our heritage walk at Digamber Jain Lal Mandir. This walk covers interesting points along the main street of old Delhi, the Chandni Chowk. A few places where we venture into a narrow lanes of the city: the Parathewali Gali, the Moti Bazaar, Katra Neel and perhaps the highlight of the walk, the spice market. On the way are the some of the most famous stalls of street food in old Delhi: well known shops like Ghantewala, Tiwari Brothers, Paratha shops, Chaina Ram, Old & Famous Jalebiwala and smaller but equally well known players like kulfiwala at Nai Sarak, Natraj for their dahi bhalle, faluda at Fatehpuri and many more. There are a few specialized bazaars on the old Delhi trail: Continue Reading This Post
27th September was another feather in DHW’s cap. DHW is the knowledge partner for the Delhi Tourism’s Hop On Hop Off bus services. The DHW team has provided research support and training to this project. Our team members created the training module which covered Delhi’s history & information on all sites covered on the trip. Each bus is manned by an executive who has been trained by DHW. The HOHO route covers 19 most interesting sites in Delhi: monuments, museums, bazaars…the best places to explore in the city. DHW trained the executives in knowledge about these sites such as their history, their modern use, things to see/do when visitors explore the sites, hidden gems in the neighbourhood, places to shop and eat and basic information such as ticket entry and timings etc.
The DHW team trained a group of about 40 executives for a period of 10 days. The training included equal emphasis on learning of information and its presentation. Each day of training started with information on Delhi, followed by sessions on soft skills and presentation of the content: professional ethics and etiquette, body language and presentation of the content in an interesting manner. Continue Reading This Post
With a good monsoon this year, the weather is excellent these days and a heritage walk in Lodi Garden is always a treat for the senses. The monuments, the trees and the birds… & one can add people, if one likes observing them exercise, talk & socialize. Our heritage walk started at gate no. 1 on Lodi Road. Right ahead is the imposing Bada Gumbad. But, our first stop is a royal tomb a little ahead on the left: Muhammad Shah Sayyid’s tomb. The Sayyids are not very prominent in out political history. Very few people have even heard of them. Delhi, in fact, has two prominent tombs belonging to Sayyid dynasty. The neighbourhood of Kotla Mubarakpur near South Extension is named after and houses the tomb of Mubarak Shah Sayyid. The tomb in Lodi Garden is that of his successor. Close to Muhammad Shah’s tomb is Lodi Garden’s tallest tree, called Buddha’s coconut. It is native to rainforests in north east & south India. Our walking trail meanders through the well laid out tracks in the garden. On both sides on can see grave platforms which are almost totally covered by vegetation now. Continue Reading This Post
This year’s ample monsoon has added a new element of joy to our heritage walks. It is a treat to walk around imposing ruins of medieval cities, lush green parks dotted with peacocks, pleasant breeze and soft drizzle adding to the charm. This is how one would sum up this heritage walk at Hauz Khas village and Deer Park. The monuments in Hauz Khas are one of the most impressive in Delhi. The reservoir, Hauz I Alai was built by Alauddin Khalji for his capital city of Siri. A few decades later, Firuz Shah Tughluq found it ‘encroached upon’. The tank was silted up and people were selling of water from wells dug for their own private use. Firuz Shah has decided to fill it with water again, called it the Hauz Khas and built a madrasa along its edge. His own tomb stands at the junction of the two wings of the madrasa. In the 14th century, the madrasa was one of the most prominent centers of learning in the Islamic East. Timur who camped here during his invasion in Delhi, was impressed by the scale and grandeur of the madarsa. Today, what we see is the bare structure which has survived over centuries. It is impressive none the less. Continue Reading This Post