Delhi diary (Sep 2007) – 7

From India Gate, we drove down the Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, past Darya Gunj, and then came onto the great road on which stands the Red Fort. (Yes, Srinivasa, we have reached….almost…).

Driving past Chandni Chowk, my attention was drawn to the pretty temple that stands right at the entrance of the Chowk, which is actually a charitable hospital for birds.  This is a Digambar Jain temple, said to have been built during the time the first battle of Panipat was fought…Next to that is ‘Gauri Shankar Mandir’, a temple of Lord Siva, which is even older.  

Chandni Chowk would have been a very beautiful sight during the times of Mughals, with an octagonal pool at one end, and a canal of water running down the middle of the whole street, flanked on both sides by rows of trees. The British Johnnies filled up the whole canal and built a 100 plus feet tall clock tower at the place where the pool existed. The clock tower fell a few years after the British rule in India fell.

A bustling bazaar now, the Chowk has seen much history, great sales, and more than a fair share of horror…

We drove past the Chandni Chowk, and u-turned to come to ‘Red Fort’.

What a sight! The magnificent red sandstone ramparts! This wall is said to be a mile and a half in length, and stands at a height ranging between sixty feet on the city side and a hundred plus feet on the river side. The Yamuna river flowed by its side, watered the moats that surrounded the fort walls, and fed the beautiful water channels that ran inside the fort. This was during Mughal times. Now, the river has moved away, and at least in this stretch, it no longer resembles a royal river that it must have been at one time.

There was a long queue waiting to enter the fort. A little basement booth was selling entrance tickets, and we joined the queue.

Mercifully, the entrance opened, and the queue moved swiftly. Security measures necessitate all visitors to be scanned etc….We entered by the main gate, known as ‘Lahori Gate’…We went past the place where the Prime Minister of India hoists the national flag every year during Independence day.

Then we entered the ‘covered marketplace’ known as Chatta-Bazaar, better known as Meena Bazaar. During Mughal times, this marketplace was the preserve of the rich, high and mighty, and sold exclusive stuff that wasn’t even available in the Chandni Chowk nearby. Carpets, velvets, musk, ivory, zaris and such.

Past the bazaar, we came out into the open, and onto the Naqqar Khana, or the House of Drums… This was the place from where the sound of drums announced the presence of the King, and the fort-crier proclaimed “ba-adab,ba-maulahiza, hoshiar…shehenshahon ke shehenshah…etc…. The Naqqar Khana is the main gate into the palace-proper, and has a musicians gallery from where the drums were played…

Past that, one comes to Diwan-i-am, the courtyard where the Emperor gave audience to lay public. The high pavilion from where the King gave audience looked quite royal and ornate…A pretty picture…

Click-click-click went the tourists…


2 Responses to “Delhi diary (Sep 2007) – 7”

  1. bala Says:

    its probably been over 30 years. All I can remember is the outside walls along both sides of the red fort. I vaguely remember the meena bazaar and the area where they used to have the lights show sun-et-lumiere?? do they still have that. TAj Mahal I remember well. Red fort .. not really…. Do they still have troop barracks inside the fort…..

  2. Srinivasa Says:

    batter late than navar 🙂

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