I had put up my first Shahjahanabad post, on the Khari Baoli and Katra Neel areas, way back in Nov 2009, as part of my Dilli Darshan series (that first post also has my introduction to the Shahjahanabad series). Then in Sept 2012 I put up two more Shahjahanabad posts, of photos taken along Chandni Chowk and around Begum Samru’s palace (Bhagirath palace) and Kashmiri Gate and northern Shahjahanabad. Hopefully now I’ll complete the Old Delhi circuit, which is pretty intense if you explore the old city in detail!All the main Shahjahanabad posts can be found here.
Many of the photos in this and the next few posts were taken in 2009, a few between then and now, and many in the next few posts were taken in recent days. It has been great to return to exploring Old Delhi, which has so many interesting buildings, streets and lanes, though I wonder what residents have to say about outsiders roaming about their alleys. Photographing Old Delhi may seem a little done and cliched, but I think it is important to visually document (and present publicly) the structures that are currently existing, no matter what their condition, before many of them disappear completely, as so many already have. These old parts of town in so many cities in India are living documentations of 19th and early-20th c architecture, urbanism and lifestyles, but are uncared for as such and in desperate need for systematic conservation programs.
As before these posts focus on a visual exploration of the old city, and I want to reiterate how good a book Luck Peck’s “Delhi: A Thousand Years of Building” is as a guide to Delhi’s historical architecture, and to explore Old Delhi. I’m keeping the “long-post” format of the earlier Shahjahanabad posts for these new ones too.
Fatehpuri Masjid, Gadodia Market and Katra Bariyan
In this post I’ve covered the large Fatehpuri Masjid and the area immediately surrounding it. Fatehpuri Masjid, built in the 17th c by one of Shah Jahan’s wives, lies at the terminus of Chandni Chowk road, the main thoroughfare that cut through the city of Shahjahanabad from the time the city was laid out in the 17th c. At one end of this road was the Lahori Gate of Red Fort, the main gate of the Mughal palace which faced the city, and at the other end lay (and still lies) Fatehpuri Masjid. I had covered Fatehpuri Chowk, which is on the outside of the mosque, in the Khari Baoli/Katra Neel post. The large courtyard of the mosque, enclosed on all four sides by outwards-facing shops, is in calm contrast to the noise and crowds of the chowk and markets outside.
Location of Fatehpuri Masjid in Shahjahanabad. Chandni Chowk road leading straight from Fatehpuri Masjid to the Red Fort is clearly discernible
General sequence of areas photographed, showing the locations of Fatehpuri Masjid, Gadodia Market and the Katra Bariyan area
The main eastern entrance of the mosque, with Fatehpuri Chowk outside
Looking out towards the Katra Bariyan area
The area immediately to the south of the mosque.
Buildings along Katra Bariyan road
Gadodia Market lies to the west of Fatehpuri Masjid, sharing a (qibla) wall with it. The building was built with commercial space on the ground floor and residences above, all facing a large courtyard that is now occupied single-storied shops/godowns.
Entrance to Gadodia Market from Khari Baoli road