It always feels great to return in my dilli…purani wali Winter has set in hence the walk timings have shifted from 7:30 in the morning to 10 am. The chill still remains but with tinge of sun rays it becomes best of weathers’ to walk around.
Chandni chowk- the axis in the city of Shahjahanabad with hustle bustle around the 1500 uniformly built shops is trying to retain the old charms. The city has seen many changes, most notably in 1857 & 1947. The people who made city may no longer be there…but their essence can be soaked through the remains of fragments left around. Our walk starts opposite Red Fort, from the famous Digamber Jain Lal Mandir. We walk along the main street in old Delhi, looking at its major landmarks: places of worship being the most notable (Gauri Shankar mandir, Digamber Jain Lal Mandir, Sisganj gurudwara, Sunheri Masjid). The shivalayas in the Katra Neel (commercial area for the Indigo merchants) is an apt example of how temples were built inside the courtyard of houses and the architecture is very similar to that of the Fatehpuri mosque at the end of Chandni Chowk. The kuchas (narrow residential lanes) which had a dead end- wall was broken down for the easy access of cavalry after the walled city was under the British! To have a whiff of the delicious old Delhi street food, we entered the parathewali gali and moved swiftly from kinari bazar to exit from the moti bazar.
The elaborately designed fataks (entrance gates) still work as a guard against any need for a chowkidaar! The octagonal chock in front of town hall is broader than rest of the lanes, for here, once lay the pool which gives the street its name- ‘moonlight street’-as the moon reflected bright in that pool. Where Town Hall now stands, once lay the gardens of Jahanara. The walk came to an end at khari baoli (wholesale market for spices) with magnificent view of Purani dilli from the rooftop of Gadodia market, as everybody awe-ed and later cheese-d for a group photo.
(posted by Chhavi Sharma, team member, Delhi Heritage Walks)