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Purana Qila, The 6th City of Delhi

Purana Qila

The 6th City of Delhi

Delhi has remained the pivot of north India over a thousand years. The stretch of land bounded by the Aravalli Hills and the Yamuna River enjoyed a strategic advantage linking the north – western mountains to the to the fertile flood plains of the Ganges.

Purana Qila Sher Mandal 2

Sher Mandal (Left) Dominates the Purana Qila complex, Delhi

The earliest literary references identify the city with the mythical Indraprastha, the grand capital of the Pandavas, the heroes of the ancient epic Mahabharata. Interestingly in 1911 when the Purana Qila (literally meaning the Old Fort) was being cleared of squatters, officials stumbled upon a village called Indrapat within the fort complex, was it the legendary capital of the Pandavas?

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Mausoleum of Ghiyas ud – Din Tughluq, A Fortified Tomb, Delhi

April 4, 2018 1 comment

Mausoleum of Ghiyas ud – Din Tughluq

A Fortified Tomb, Delhi

Like a miniature expression of the whole, the tomb is defended on all sides by its own set of machicolated walls, built to keep the Angles of Death at bay; they represent perhaps the most elaborate set of defenses ever raised to protect a corpse.

William Dalrymple, City of Djinns

Ghiyas ud - Din Tughluq Tomb, Delhi

Ghiyas ud – Din Tughluq Tomb, Delhi

The massive fortified Tomb of Ghiyas ud – Din Tughluq lies in the shadows of the massive Tughlaqabad Fort, also a creation of Ghiyas ud – Din Tughluq. Like an umbilical cord, a causeway once linked the mother fort with the miniature fort like tomb of the emperor.

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Coronation Park, Delhi, Site of three Delhi Durbars

March 28, 2018 4 comments

Coronation Park, Delhi

Site of three Delhi Durbars

Delhi Durbar meaning the court of Delhi, was an Indian imperial style mass assembly organised by the British at Coronation Park, Delhi, India, to mark the succession of an Emperor ad Empress of India. Also known as the Imperial Durbar, it was held three times, in 1877, 1903, and 1911.

The towering commemorative Obelisk of the third Delhi Durbar, Coronation Park, Delhi

The towering commemorative Obelisk of the third Delhi Durbar, Coronation Park, Delhi

First Durbar (1877): The first durbar, also known as the proclamation durbar, was held in Jan 1, 1877 to proclaim Queen Victoria as Empress of India. It was an initiative of Viceroy of India Lord Lytton (1876 – 80). The Durbar was an extravaganza of pomp and ceremony including a parade on a decorated elephant by Lord and Lady Lytton in the presence of nearly 70,000 people. The imperial gathering consisted of royalty from all the provinces of India and the most senior British dignitaries.

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Nicholson Cemetery, Kashmiri Gate, Delhi

March 21, 2018 9 comments

Nicholson Cemetery

Kashmiri Gate, Delhi

Although Delhi has been know for its pre Mughal and Mughal architecture and it does have its share of colonial architecture. Lutyen’s Delhi, consisting of the India Gate, Rastrapati Bhavan, Secretariat and the Parliament House, consists of the hub of British colonial architecture in Delhi.

Scattered graves at the Nicholson Cemetery, Kashmir Gate, Delhi

Scattered graves at the Nicholson Cemetery, Kashmir Gate, Delhi

Among the lesser known colonial monuments is the Mutiny Memorial on Delhi North Ridge (Kamala Nehru Ridge) stands out so does the St. James’ Church near Kashmir Gate. Also near the Kashmir Gate lies the Nicholson Cemetery providing an interesting glimpses of Delhi’s colonial past.

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The Mutiny Memorial, Kamala Nehru Ridge (North Ridge), Delhi

December 7, 2017 4 comments

The Mutiny Memorial

Kamala Nehru Ridge (North Ridge), Delhi

A strange, displaced Gothic spire, illegitimate first cousin to the Albert Memorial, it still stands today above the swirl of domes, rooftops and bazar sacks that is Old Delhi.

William Dalrymple, City of Djinns

Mutiny Memorial, Kamala Nehru Ridge (North Ridge), Delhi

Mutiny Memorial, Kamala Nehru Ridge (North Ridge), Delhi

Delhi Ridge, or simply The Ridge, is a an extension of the ancient Aravalli Range and runs through the heart of the National Capital Territory (NCR) of Delhi.

The Delhi Ridge covers a distance of about 35 km and refereed to as the green lung of Delhi and protects the city from the hot winds of the deserts of Rajasthan. It is divided into four zones.

North Ridge or Kamala Nehru Ridge is one of the four zones. It is a hilly area near the Delhi University. It was declared a Reserve Forest in 1915. It initially covered an area of 170 hectares but have now shrunk to 87 hectares, making it the smallest of the four ridge zones if Delhi. (See also: Historic trail along the North Ridge or Kamala Nehru Ridge)

The North Ridge, officially known as the Kamala Nehru Ridge, houses an interesting mix of monuments. Scattered along the forested region of the ridge are monuments ranging from the Tughlaq era right up to  the days of the Mutiny.

The monument that stands out among the monuments of the ridge is the towering Mutiny Memorial. It is located at the site of Taylor’s Battery during the siege of Delhi in 1857. It was built in 1863. The Gothic styled red sand stone tapering tower rises from a two tired platform and looks totally out of place.

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Feroz Shah Kotla or Firozabad, the 5th city of Delhi

September 30, 2017 6 comments

Feroz Shah Kotla or Firozabad

The 5th city of Delhi

Feroz Shah Tughlaq (Reign 1351 – 88), the third ruler of the Tughlaq Dynasty  was embarked on a vigorous campaign of construction activity, consisting mainly of public buildings of utilitarian nature.

Gate of the citadel of Feroz Shah Kotla or Ferozabad, Delhi

Gate of the citadel of Feroz Shah Kotla or Firozabad, Delhi

He made 1200 garden around Delhi and is credited with the erection of 200 towns, 40 mosque, 30 villages, 30 reserviors, 50 dams, 100 hospitals, 100 public baths and 150 bridges.

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Dwarka Baoli, a recently discovered stepwell

September 13, 2017 12 comments

Dwarka Baoli

A recently discovered stepwell in Dwarka

Monsoon in India has a very short duration and moreover it has always been very unpredictable, this gave rise to the necessity of water conservation. Over the centuries Indians have constructed artificial lakes and dug wells to hold the water supplied by the monsoon rains.

Dwarka Baoli (Loharheri Baoli), Delhi

Dwarka Baoli (Loharheri Baoli), Delhi

It is often said that “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” and the necessity of conservation of water, for the dry season, led to the construction of step wells. Stepwells are wells or ponds in which the water is reached by descending a set of steps. They are often multi storied in structure and are found in Western India and in the other more arid regions of South Asia, extending into Pakistan.

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