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A Walk Through the 1857 Siege of Delhi (Part 2)

My journey through the streets of Old Delhi exploring the important sites of the 1857 Siege of Delhi! This is part 2 about my experience! Part 1 covered the daring assault on Kashmiri Gate, a spice market near Mori Gate, the British Magazine that was blown up, an obelisk in memory of post boys, the spot where Nicholson fell in battle and more! You can check it out here.

St. James Church and St. Stephen’s College

After seeing the British Magazine and risking the safety of my shoes at the Obelisk, we visited the St. James Church (named after James Skinner an East India Company officer who commissioned this church in 1836).  The story behind the Church is quite interesting. When lying wounded in a battle, Skinner promised to God that he would make places of worship should he survive. He did and now there is this church. #VaadaRaha

There was a service going on so we couldn’t go inside, but the building itself was a sight and its compound was amazing! There was a beautiful cemetery, where most of the Skinner family is buried.

1857_mutiny_siege_of_delhi_revolt_first_war_of_independence_walk_st_james_church_skinner_kashmiri_gate_1
St. James Church

 

1857_mutiny_siege_of_delhi_revolt_first_war_of_independence_walk_st_james_church_skinner_kashmiri_gate_2

St. James Church up close
1857_mutiny_siege_of_delhi_revolt_first_war_of_independence_walk_st_james_church_skinner_kashmiri_gate_cemetery
The cemetery. Attendance time. Angel – Present sir!

We also crossed a beautiful building which was the old St. Stephen’s College building (before it shifted to North Campus) but now it’s an office of the election commission and they don’t let people in, so I couldn’t get a great photograph. #5SaalKejriwal?

1857_mutiny_siege_of_delhi_revolt_first_war_of_independence_walk_st_stephans_college_old_building
Old St. Stephen’s College. I wonder if back then they had a ‘cafe’ and not a ‘canteen’.
1857_mutiny_siege_of_delhi_revolt_first_war_of_independence_walk_kashmiri_gate_old_building
Quick gun, Dilli gun!

Into the wild

We got back to Kashmiri Gate metro station, and took the metro to Pullbangash. Our guide had packed some yummy burgers for us. Post refreshments we proceeded towards the ridge! Immersed in fresh air and greenery, the ridge was a welcome change to the busy streets of Old Delhi. #WelcomeToTheJungle

1857_mutiny_siege_of_delhi_revolt_first_war_of_independence_walk_ridge
Rainbow road into the ridge!

Victory Tower and Puppies

After walking for about a kilometre, we reached Victory Tower. The name is self-explanatory. The tower was built as a tribute to the soldiers who had fallen while breaking the revolt. The place was quite nice. No one was around except these cute puppies and from the top there was a gorgeous view of the ridge. You could also see the Red Fort and Jama Masjid as part of the Old Delhi skyline. #PuppiyanJhappiyan

1857_mutiny_siege_of_delhi_revolt_first_war_of_independence_walk_victory_tower
Hello! Tower you?
Lazy Puppy at Victory tower!
Lazy Puppy at Victory tower!

Asoka Pillar

Right next to the tower there was a 3rd Century Asoka pillar. Unfortunately it was locked and we couldn’t go inside. This pillar was originally in Meerut and then it was shifted to Delhi by Feroz Shah. In 1776, it was broken into five pieces in an explosion and the pieces were taken to Calcutta.  It was finally brought back and re-erected to where it is today by the British in 1886. This pillar has been places! You can still see some engravings on it in the ancient brahmi script and the places where it was broken and put back together. It’s not everyday that one comes across a 2300-year-old edict while checking out 150-year-old stuff. #ItHappensOnlyInIndia

1857_mutiny_siege_of_delhi_revolt_first_war_of_independence_walk_ashoka_pillar
Pillar was earlier bombed, now photo bombed!

Hindu Rao Hospital

After a few more minutes of walking we reached Hindu Rao Hospital, earlier it was known as Hindu Rao House and during the Siege of Delhi, it was used as a HQ for one of the British regiments.  Just out side the gate we saw the spot where William Fraser was murdered by Kureem Khan in 1935 . The hospital campus is pretty cool. All the buildings and structures are not more than 2 stories high and are spread out with lots of greenery.

1857_mutiny_siege_of_delhi_revolt_first_war_of_independence_walk_hindu_rao_hospital_house_gate
Auto dude secretly digging his nose
1857_mutiny_siege_of_delhi_revolt_first_war_of_independence_walk_hindu_rao_hospital_house_campus
What the campus looks like (Also, auto photo bomb)

One of the most interesting places we came across was this baoli in the campus. Apparently, it was lost for many decades because it was buried in trash until quite recently! It must have been a huge task to clear it out. I’m glad they did because the baoli is stunning and easily my favourite attraction on this walk! #SwachhBharatWin

1857_mutiny_siege_of_delhi_revolt_first_war_of_independence_walk_hindu_rao_hospital_baoli
The Baoli!

The Northern Ridge Park

1857_mutiny_siege_of_delhi_revolt_first_war_of_independence_walk_ridge_delhi_university
The road not taken?

We entered the Northern Ridge Park near Delhi University which is known now as Kamla Nehru Ridge. We cut across the park (it was quite a long walk) passed a few monuments like the Bell of Arms and ended up at the Flag staff tower, this is the highest point of the ridge and where you planted your flag if you controlled the region.

1857_mutiny_siege_of_delhi_revolt_first_war_of_independence_walk_nothern_ridge_delhi_university_bell_of_arms

The Bell of Arms
1857_mutiny_siege_of_delhi_revolt_first_war_of_independence_walk_nothern_ridge_delhi_university_flag_post
Last stop. Flag staff tower!
From there we exited the ridge and cut across the university to the Vishwavidhalaya Metro station where our walk officially ended.

The walk was pretty tiring but we covered quite a bit.  I’m very glad I did it, got to see some great places and parts of Delhi I had never been to before! Even if you’re not very interested in the 1857 history bit, I hope you visit some of these spots. You won’t regret it!

I’m sure you can find plenty of articles online if you want to know more about the mutiny. ‘The Last Mughal’ by William Darylmple is a great read to get a perspective from the Indian side.

If you want details regarding the history of 1857 you can contact Mr. Rajesh Rampal (rampalrajesh@hotmail.com)  who was our guide and is an expert in the 1857 siege of Delhi.

If you know of some great hidden places we should check out in Delhi, leave a comment below, we would love to hear about them!

We’ll be exploring a lot more of Delhi, present and past. Please subscribe so you don’t miss out on anything!

Thanks for the read, I hope you enjoyed it.

The End

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One thought on “A Walk Through the 1857 Siege of Delhi (Part 2)

  • March 9, 2015 at 8:29 am
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    Very well written, seems like I was actually there

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