Shahjahanabad I: Khari Baoli & Katra Neel

A Brief History of Shahjahanabad

Carrying on with my Dilli Darshan posts, I’m going to put up a series of them about Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi). Shahjahanabad is the 17th century Mughal walled city that also contained the Mughal palace and court, and which was the occupied part of Delhi during the time the British took increasing control of the city throughout the first half of the 19th century. Which means that Shahjahanabad was what they took increasing control of, and was the core area that Delhi grew out of in the late 19th c. and throughout the 20th c. Continue reading

Dilli Darshan: Mehrauli

Mehrauli is a large urban village that grew around the shrine of the 13th c. Sufi saint Bakhtiyar Kaki, much like Nizamuddin grew around the shrine of Nizamuddin Auliya (also 13th c. though a little later than Bakhtiyar Kaki). Kaki’s shrine was just outside the walls of Lal Kot, the fortified city within which the Qutb Minar is situated, and Mehrauli has grown right up to the edge of the now ruined fortifications. Continue reading

Dilli Darshan: Sayyid and Lodhi Delhi

I had thought that this leg of Dilli Darshaning was going to be of interest mostly only because it would take me to localities in south Delhi that I’d never been to before, while the buildings themselves would be nothing to write home about (or in this case write a blog post about). This is because common lore dictates that Delhi under the Sayyids and Lodhis became a “Necropolis”, a city filled with tombs and graves and nothing much else. Continue reading

Dilli Darshan: Firoz Shah Tughlaq’s Delhi

In the post previous to this one I had said that I’m not doing my Dilli Darshaning chronologically any more because most of the sites I’m visiting from this point on are very layered, in that they contain structures from various historical periods and architectural styles. So of course, the very next post (i.e. this one) has to be about sites with buildings from a very specific time in history and very specific architectural style, and which are much older than Purana Qila and Dilli Sher Shahi from the previous post! What to do? Nonetheless, here goes. :) Continue reading

Dilli Darshan: Purana Qila and Dilli Sher Shahi

At this point I’ve stopped trying to do my Dilli Darshan chronologically, so this post is about Purana Qila (literally Old Fort) and the remaining structures of what is known as Dilli Sher Shahi, which are from the 16th century, so I’ve jumped a couple of centuries. This is not too bad a thing, because most of the sites I’m going to be posting about from now on have structures from different historical periods, and thus have overlapping layers of building styles and types, much like the Nizamuddin site from the previous post. Continue reading

A brief history of Delhi, to explain it’s urban villages

This post explains the development of Delhi’s “urban villages” over the past few decades, and is a supplement to the Back to Dilli Darshaning post below.

To understand the idea of the urban village in Delhi, a short primer on the history of Delhi is in order. Some of you might have heard/read this stuff before at various venues, but I love to tell this tale, so here goes! Continue reading

Where are the new Dilli Darshan photos?

Any new Dilli Darshan trips have been delayed due to inclement weather, just like the airplanes and trains in Delhi! The fog here is so bad these days that you can’t see anything, leave along photograph it. And when it isn’t plain foggy, the haze in the city is nearly as bad. In short, more Dilli Darshan trips will have to wait a few days/weeks until better weather arrives. I can’t wait to get back to them though!

Photo from The Hindu newspaper taken a few days ago

Chirag Dilli – aerial photo

Chirag Dilli is the next site on my list to visit. I might not get there till late-Dec/Jan since I have other things to do as well (like my actual research!), but get there I will (hopefully!) :)

The settlement of Chirag Dilli grew around the abode and then tomb of a 14th c. Sufi saint by the same name, and later a square protective wall was built around the settlement. The wall is mostly gone now, but the present village of Chirag Dilli still conforms to the square shape. Spiro Kostof was right!!! :P

Chirag Dilli.