Old Delhi is a fantastic location to trace different phases of Indian history. This Sunday our heritage walk focused on exploring Chandni Chowk, the main street of the city of Shahjahanabad, to understands the ups & downs, changes in Mughal rule & the arrival of British. We started near the mouth of Chandni Chowk, near Red Fort. The first stop is two old temples: Digambar Jain Lal Mandir and Gauri Shankar Temple. Former is a Jain temple of the Digambar sect while ltater is a Shaiva temple dedicated to main Hindu deity Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati or Gauri.
Our next stop is the State Bank of India building whose large façade, round arches, Roman pillars and high ceilings are typical of colonial architecture. However, it is interesting to note that it is built over an estate of Kashmiri dancing girl-Begum Samru who was very influential in the eighteenth century. Her palace still exists and is part of Bhagirath Place which is Asia’s biggest electronic market today. A few steps ahead is Dariba Kalan which is a popular street for jewellery. The market has some traditional businesses which manufacture &s sell itra, i.e perfumes or essence. (more…)
Walk through Kashmiri Gate today & the place is a thriving market for automobile parts, old shops selling all kinds of hardware, including guns! It is hard to imagine how it would have looked three centuries ago. I study in the same neighbourhood & every time I walk through it I wonder about its evolution. The traces of the past are everywhere to see: old lodges with colonial architecture, shops with English names, remains of some Mughal monuments. Our heritage walk this Sunday, gave me an opportunity to share my thoughts & questions with an enthusiastic audience. (more…)
Following our previous article on 1857 in Delhi, we move our narrative forward to Kashmiri Gate.
(Kashmiri Gate & city walls)
After visit the Nicholson Cemetery, use the metro subway to cross the road. Walk through the park on your left (the park has a huge statue of Maharaja Agrasen), towards the parking near gate no. 2 of Kashmiri Gate metro station. Keep walking in the direction of ISBT till you reach gate no. 1 of the metro station which will be on your left. (more…)
Remember ‘khoob ladi mardani woh to Jhansi wali rani thi’ or ‘do gaz zameen bhi na mili kue yaar mein’? Rani Laxmi Bhai of Jhansi, her companion Jhalkari Bai, Tantia Tope, Mangal Pandey & Bahadur Shah Zafar: these are people from Indian history we have most often read about, their poetry of defiance or of despair, were all part of the experience of 1857. (more…)
In a series of articles here, we are going to talk about the lesser known history of Delhi. Each article will cover details of a single site, with photographs. Delhi is practically littered with historic sites. Yes, we know of the world heritage sites, but what about the numerous ruins, by lanes of Delhi, each with a story of its own.
Let’s start our heritage trail with the event of 1857. We all have learnt of it from our history textbooks: the tales of Tantia Tope, Rani of Jhansi: ‘khoob ladi mardani woh of Jhansi wali rani thi’, Mangal Pandey (made even more famous by Amir Khan’s movie) & Bahadur Shah Zafar, the poet-king & reluctant leader of the Uprising. (more…)