Sunday winter morning with clear skies; it was the perfect day to go on an adventure in Delhi! Keeping true to the GoBuzzinga spirit of exploring, I jumped on the opportunity to go on a walk that covered some of the significant spots of the siege of Delhi during the First War of Independence (or the 1857 mutiny depending on how you want to look at it). It’s a very interesting part of history and I was looking forward to discovering/re-discovering some interesting places. I’m sure you can find plenty of articles online if you want to know more about the mutiny (it’s easier to write mutiny) Also, ‘The Last Mughal’ by William Darylmple is a great read to get a perspective from the Indian side. Apparently not many locals are interested in this particular part of history, as to our surprise, we were the first Indians our guide was showing around. He mostly got British clientele who have some family or regiment connections with the officers that served here during the mutiny. (Disclaimer: I’ve tried verifying as much as I could but most of the facts have been recited from memory and I may have misheard/mixed up some dates, names etc. #Ghajini) First stop – Kashmiri Gate We met our guide at the Kashmiri Gate metro station at 10 am sharp. After we warmed ourselves up with a quick cup of chai, we were headed towards the actual ‘Kashmiri Gate’, one of the eight gates that led into the medieval walled city of Shahjahanabad. Though these days Kashmiri gate mostly refers to the ISBT or metro station, but tucked in a small park behind the bus terminus is the actual gate. Despite using the bus terminus numerous times I had never seen the gate before. #Ignorance In context of 1857 this gate has a huge significance. Our guide vividly described the details of the British assault on this gate on 14th September, 1857 and the operation of blowing up the gate and using the wooden panel to bridge the moat. The British entered the city through this gate in their attempt to take back the city from the rebels. 4 Victoria crosses (the highest Military honour in the British Army) were awarded for this operation. One can still see the wall blemished with canon marks from that battle. There is a sandstone board from 1876, honouring the troops of that battle, and another one that was erected by the ASI sometime before CWG. Our guide pointed out that the new one had over 18 mistakes. Example: Lord Napier became Lord Rapier. They failed to copy a big board in front of them! The new board must have been commissioned to make a quick buck. #CWGghotala.
March towards Mori Gate
After listening to the dramatic events at Kashimiri gate, tracing the path of one of the British assault columns we followed the wall along Nicholson road and headed towards Mori Gate. This was a side of Old Delhi I had never seen before. All my life Mori Gate was just a destination written on the back of buses, it was fascinating to actually be there. On the way we spotted some very interesting old havelis and buildings with beautiful carvings on their facades.
Bridge Bazaar, Spice Market & Demanding Kid
Despite being a
Sunday morning the place was super crowded. On top of a railway bridge there were hawkers selling practically everything! Clothes, haircuts, vegetables, fish, watches, shoes and what now… a mini supermarket on a bridge! #BridgeBazaar While dodging construction vehicles and cows we also passed through a spice market. Spicy fun fact: the East India Company, actually was formed to break the monopoly of the Dutch in the spice trade! We literally went through a garbage dump to enter a small gully that led to the spot where Nicholson fell in battle. Don’t think the destination was that fascinating, but the journey was worth it. Some kid saw my camera and demanded a passport-sized picture. #DSLRproblems
The British Magazine and the Obelisk
We headed back towards Kashmiri Gate side. On Lothian’s Road we checked out the old British Magazine (an arsenal that stores arms and gunpowder). During the beginning of the revolt when the rebels were storming Delhi, a few British officers who were defending the magazine rigged the building and blew it up to prevent the arms falling into the enemy’s hands.
Right next to the magazine, in the middle of some scrubs there is an obelisk which was built as a tribute to the post-boys who risked their lives to send a telegram to Ambala, warning them about the mutiny after their post master had been killed. Our guide discouraged us from going anywhere near the obelisk, I would too. Without going into details, let’s just say the brown in that patch of green wasn’t mud. #Organic On that happy note, I’ll end this post but my walk is far from over. Part 2 of this experience will be up soon. We find some really cool places at the Hindu Rao Hospital, explore St. James Church and the Northern Ridge! You can subscribe to this blog to get an update as soon as it’s out. #PictureAbhiBaakiHaiMereDost Follow GoBuzzinga on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram