Shahjahanabad through my new 70-200mm lens

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Fort of Ferozobath

One more tour, much more knowledge: This time Navina Jafa guided me and others through the Khooni Darwaza and Feroz Shah Kotla, explained about a column from 300 BC, talked about the planned cities of Delhi by the Tuglaqas and the Sur Dynasty from Afghanistan, told us enjoyable stories of the odd young djinns in the complex of imposing structures, and showed us one of the heritage stepwells.

Colours, sounds and spirits of Iftar

Whereever I looked, I saw melon, papaya, bananas and mangos on plates, uncountable numbers of samosas, piles of dates, chicken wings and potato chips. Families had brought their picnic blanket, baskets and bowls, filled to the rim with dainties. But still no one was eating.

Now during Ramzan (Ramadan), thousands of Moslems are coming together every evening in the Jama Masjid. Theywait  for the gunshot that would signal the day’s break of the fast. During these days, the mosque looks nothing like it normally does. The scattered tourists with their cameras are gone, and in come the religious masses with all their colours, sounds, smells and flavours of life.

The people were inviting me over and over again to join them for Iftar, to share the special moment with them, to let them fulfil a good deed. I refused as long as I could, but one boy was so insistent that I finally accepted a mixed plate of food. I sat down at the washing basin and admired the serenity with which the faithful, who hadn’t even had a sip of water the whole day, were not drawn by the lure of the food in front of them.

I saw no eagerness, no anticipation, no longing. When the loud cannon sound resounded between the marble walls, the hands slowly moved towards the dates. I anticipated a pompous feast, but saw a grateful filling of the stomachs.

After the sun had set, the little lanes around the Jama Masjid came to life and roadside stalls everywhere fried chicken and fish and pakoras in huge kadhais, others baked bread or prepared hillocks of vegetables or stirred some mutton korma. It wasn’t only for those, who can afford it. But also for the poor fellows, who waited squatting and crowded together in front of the stalls for the donations.

Exploring one more of Delhi’s cities

Lucky me, I found another organisation that leads tours through Delhi. (Looks like I should start to maintain a list… oh wait, there is one, assembled by the guys from Little Black Book) This time I joined Delhi Heritage Walks, on their tour Jahanpanah & Begumpur.

Jahanpanah – refuge of the world – nowadays is only some walls and a few structures, situated directly behind the Hauz Khas Metro Station, but once it was one of the capital cities of Delhi. Which one exactly I forgot, as I keep loosing track of the count – there were at least eight of them, or even nine, if one adds the new sprawlings.

Begumpur Masjid

But Jahanpanah definitely was built in the 14th century by Mohammad Tughluq, who is known as the mad genius, as he, on the one hand, apparently found pleasure in executions, which he more often than not ruthlessly ordered, and on the other hand, was well ahead of his time when it came to the administration of his sultanate.

For example did he attempt to exert greater power in the southern part of India by transferring the capital from Delhi to Deogir (a move which eventually failed). Whoever stayed behind inside the old city walls had to fear the worst, the knowledgable tour guide explained to us.

The story goes that two men were found in the abandoned city, an old man and a blind man. The blind fellow was then tied to a cart and dragged all the way to Deogir – where only one of his limps arrived.

Bijay Mandal

Old Town Srinagar

Our family explores Old Delhi

Food Walk in Old Delhi

Sweet and sour, mild and spicy, crispy and spongy, hot and cold, creamy and icy, filled and plain – an introduction to the Old Delhi’s Street Food given to us by Himanshu. Plus some inevitable ingredients. And flowers!

Live in Old Delhi

 

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