Delhi Heritage Walks: Explore The Capital’s Culture & History Through A New Lens

 

Whether you snoozed through history lessons as a student

or sought the encyclopedia (*cough, Google, cough*)

at each mention of a monarch or a war,

Delhi heritage walks have something for everyone.

 

If history hasn’t enticed you till date, it’s time for a fresh start and give the past another chance to win you over. On the other hand, if you have a special corner in your heart for old world chronicles, get set to indulge your senses. #DSSCRecommends heritage walks conducted by history enthusiasts, scholars, and organisations, which lend insight into history backed by researched context and nuance. Preserving the monuments and their charm, these walks shine even brighter in the Delhi winter sun. The right mix of sun and cold makes February the perfect month for walking too. So mark your calendars and spend your weekend taking a stroll through the history and culture of #OurCity.

 

Image: mediaindia.eu

Old Fort

When: 10 am to 11 am on Saturday, February 10

By Whom: Delhi Walks

Registration Fee: INR 850

A unit of the National Tourism Award winning India City Walks, Delhi Walks will take you through a guided tour of Purana Qila. Titled ‘The Tale of Two Empires’, the walk will provide context for how the fort exemplifies the tussle of power between the Surs and the Mughals. The site has been home to various dynasties through the centuries, from the Kurus of Indraprastha to the Mughals, with excavations dating its habitation back to 1500 BCE. Explore the pre-Mughal architecture of Sher Shah Suri’s reign, who built the Qila-i-Kuhna Mosque in 1541, and the blend of Rajasthani architecture along the walls, bastions and pavilions of the fort. Immerse yourself in the story behind Humayun’s private library-cum-observatory, and how the fort became a safe haven during the Partition in 1947.

View of a ‘baoli’ (stepwell) at Feroz Shah Kotla Fort; Image: Sahil Ahuja

Feroz Shah Kotla Fort

When: 10 am to 11 am on Sunday, February 11

By Whom: Delhi Walks

Registration Fee: INR 850

Led by research scholars, this guided tour and storytelling experience by Delhi Walks at Feroz Shah Kotla Fort is an unmissable exploit. Previously known as Ferozabad, the ruins of the palace of Feroz Shah Tughlaq overlook the eponymous cricket stadium. The tour takes you through the history behind ‘The City of Djinns’, spirits who reside in the fort and are prayed to by locals, and the Ashoka pillar which the Tughlaq Sultan had brought from Ambala. The walk is supplemented with archival material provided by the walk leaders to offer a glimpse of what the palace used to look like once.

Tomb of Mohammad Quli Khan overlooking the Qutub Minar; Image: Hemant Arya, CC BY-SA 3.0

Mehrauli Archaeological Park

When: 10 am to 12 pm on Sunday, February 11

By Whom: Delhi Heritage Walks

Registration Fee: INR 600

Situated next to the Qutub Minar, Mehrauli Archaeological Park has witnessed uninterrupted occupation for over 1,000 years. Walk leader Tanvi Bikhchandani, a graduate from Columbia University, will guide you through the ruins of Lal Kot from the era of Prithviraj Chauhan, and the relics of subsequent ruling dynasties, including the Tomb of Balban, Rajon ki Baoli, Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb, Dargah of Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, Jahaz Mahal, Zafar Mahal, and Thomas Metcalfe’s guest house.

Image: youtube.com

Nizamuddin Dargah

When: 4 pm to 5:30 pm on Saturday, February 17

By Whom: Delhi Walks

Registration Fee: INR 850

Ishq-e-Sufi, another story-telling experience curated and conducted by the historians at Delhi Walks, this walk will take you through the tomb (dargah) of 13th century Sufi saint, Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya. Divided along Mathura Road, Nizamuddin East houses the namesake railway station, whereas Nizamuddin West is where the remains of the Sufi saint are laid to rest. Join this walk as you discover the history of the latticework of Jamaat Khana Masjid where visitors tie threads and pray for their wishes to come true, and also explore the tomb of Mughal princess Jahan Ara within the Dargah complex.

Diwan-i-Khas at Red Fort; Image: midlifecrisisgapyear.wordpress.com

Red Fort

When: 9 am to 11:30 am on Saturday, February 17

By Whom: INTACH Delhi Chapter

No registration fee

Red Fort, or Qila-i-Mubarak (Blessed Fort), was built as the fortified capital of Shahjanabad by Shah Jahan, and remained the Mughal seat of power for nearly 200 years, from 1648 to 1857. Hosted by Chandrasekhar Tampi for the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), which has taken up several restoration and conservation projects in the Red Fort Complex, the walk will trace the golden period of the Mughal empire and its decline after Aurangzeb’s death. The site, which was designed by Ustad Ahmad Lahauri in the image of paradise described in the Quran, has witnessed several incidents of plunder and demolition at the hands of Nadir Shah and the British East India Company. Sign up, and find out what makes the Red Fort significant to Independence Day celebrations.

The Tomb of Muhammad Shah Sayyid; Image: Anita Mishra, CC BY-SA 3.0

Lodhi Gardens

When: 4 pm to 6 pm on Sunday, February 18

By Whom: Delhi Heritage Walks

Registration Fee: INR 600

Tanvi Bikhchandani takes you through the beautifully landscaped gardens in the heart of the city. The British built the gardens by clearing the village in the area. The Tomb of Muhammad Shah of the Sayyid dynasty, and Bara Gumbad, Shish Gumbad, and Sikandar Lodhi’s Tomb from the Lodhi Sultanate are encompassed within this public park.

View of the Tomb of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq at Tughlaqabad Fort; Image: dfordelhi.in

Tughlaqabad Fort

When: 9 am to 12 pm on Sunday, February 25

By Whom: Delhi Heritage Walks

Registration Fee: INR 600

Delhi Heritage Walks has been conducting guided tours through the ruins of the 14th century seat of the Delhi Sultanate. The walk will be led by the co-founder, Kanika Singh, who also holds a PhD in History from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Visitors are, therefore, in seasoned hands as they are taken through this 2 km stretch, which comprises the fort, palace buildings, Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq’s mausoleum, granaries, dungeons, and a secret escape route, and also get to learn about the curse that forced Feroz Shah out from Tughlaqabad to Ferozabad.

Note: The registration process is conducted online, and is on a first-come-first-serve basis. Visitors are requested to carry water bottles, be fully clothed, and wear comfortable walking shoes.

 

Featured Image Courtesy: yatramantra.com