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Tour to Old Delhi
Holiday Tour
St James Church, Old DelhiDigambar Jain Temple, Old DelhiKalan Masjid(Mosque), Old DelhiJain Swetambara Temple, Old DelhiLothian Cemetery, Old DelhiBaptist Church, Old Delhi

Welcome to Old Delhi,

Old Delhi, walled city of Delhi, was founded as Shahjahanabad by Indian Emperor Shahjahan in 1639. It remained the capital of the Mughals until the end of the Mughal dynasty. It was once filled with mansions of nobles and members of the royal court, along with elegant mosques and gardens. Today,despite having become extremely crowded and dilapidated, it still serves as the symbolic heart of metropolitan Delhi.

The site of Shahjahanabad is north of earlier settlements of Delhi, its southern part overlaps some of thearea settled during the Tughlaqs. The British city ("Lutyens'Delhi") was developed just south-west of Shahjahanabad.

Holiday Tour
Famous Places in Old Delhi
Baptist Church

Central Baptist Church in Delhi is located on the main Chandni Chowk Road, just opposite Gurdwara Sisganj and before the Fountain Chowk (Bhai Mati Das Chowk). It is probably the oldest Christian mission in the whole of the northern Indian region. In the late 18th century, the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS), London, purchased a piece of land near Red Fort where the Central Baptist Church was established in 1814.

The Central Baptist Church, one of the oldest churches in Delhi, is a fine example of European architecture of that time. The southern side entrance of the church has a large deep colonnaded porch supported on thick heavy circular columns. Likewise the other two sides have double height verandahs with semi-circular arched openings.

The church has been well maintained with its original motifs and carvings. However, the roof of the church has been re-laid with stones and iron beams. The walls of the church have memorial tablets remembering the faithful who devoted their whole life in service of the church.

Begum Samru's Palace

Begum Samru's Palace in Delhi can be reached by taking the road just before the Kumar Cinema Hall on the main Chandni Chowk Road when coming from the direction of Red Fort. Popularly known as the Bhagirath Palace and North India's biggest electrical goods wholesale market, Begum Samru's Palace is located just behind a Hindu shrine surrounded by trees.

Now a very busy commercial place, it is difficult for a visitor to imagine the building in its original grandeur with a lovely sprawling garden stretching till Chandni Chowk, when it was owned by an witty Kashmiri Muslim woman, Begum Samru. Born in 1753, Begum Samru proudly lived in this large white mansion that was considered one of the grandest houses in Delhi with massive columns and large rooms. She commanded great respect in the city as Mughal Emperor Shah Alam could call upon her trained private army when in need.

British Magazine

Located in the middle of Lothian Road (within the road divider) just in front of the Post office are the two similar structures, which are commonly known as British Magazine. The structures are the ruins of an extensive fortified building, which stored the ammunition of the British troops. The structure was blown up on 11th May 1857, during the first war of Indian Independence by the officer in-charge, Lieutenant Willoughby. He did this to prevent the Indian troops who had risen in revolt, from using the ammunition stored in the magazine.

Built of Lakhori bricks, a small canon is placed over the gateways of both the buildings. The buildings have semi-octagonal projections on both sides with two small rooms on either side. The rooms have semi-circular arches to enter and it is difficult to visualize its former shape. The main features of the buildings are its niches and arches at the roof-level on the semi-octagonal projections, though difficult to make out.

Car Parts Bazar

Just near the Jama Masjid, to the southwestern corner of the mosque lies Car Parts Bazaar, said to be one of the largest second-hand spare parts market in the world. It is a unique market with nearly thousand shops, where one can get new as well as the old spare parts of any car. The Car Parts Bazaar has everything for sale from mirrors to different car logos to dashboards to tyres to even second hand engines. The spare parts are openly displayed in the shops as well as on the pavements of the Car Parts Bazaar, for the customers to browse and select from the wide choice available.

Bargaining is the key here and it is advisable that one should visit this market with knowledgeable company to ensure you are not overcharged. Next time when you want to replace any spare parts or need any accessories for your car, do visit the Car Parts Bazaar to get the cheapest deal.

Chatta Chowk (Covered Bazaar)

A covered bazaar was unheard-of in India during the rule of Emperor Shah Jahan. The Emperor instructed Mukarmat Khan to build a covered market in Delhi. Shah Jahan was greatly impressed with the design of the covered market since it was appropriate for the hot climate of Delhi. This covered market is presently known as 'Chhatta Chowk Bazaar' or the 'Meena Bazaar', and was earlier known as the 'Bazaar-i-Musaqqaf' or the market with roof. It is believed that some 300 years ago, this bazaar accommodated the luxury trade of the royally household, and traded rugs, exquisite carpets, jajams and shatranjis, quilts, takia-namads, shahtus, pashmina shawls, brocaded costumes, velvet pardahs etc.

Chawri Bazar

To the west of Jama Masjid lies the specialized wholesale market of brass, copper and paper products, popularly known as Chawri Bazaar. It can be reached by taking the street just near the middle projection of Jama Masjid's western (rear) wall. Once popularly known for its bewitching dancing girls in the 19th century, the street is named after a Marathi word 'chawri', which means meeting place.

The street got this name mainly because here a 'sabha' or meeting would take place in front of a noble's house and he would try settling the disputes before it would reach the emperor. A second reason is probably that a gathering used to get organized when a respected dancer performed and showed the finer nuances of her skill. The whole ambience of the street however got changed after the 1857 war when British destroyed many huge mansions of the nobles.

Dara Shikoh's Library

Located in the grounds of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi, near the General Post Office, is the Dara Shikoh Library of the Department of Archaeology, Delhi Administration. The building is of immense historical importance as it was built by Shah Jahan's liberal intellectual son and chosen successor, Dara Shikoh, and was later used as a residency by Sir David Ochterlony, the first British Resident of Delhi. Dara Shikoh was murdered by his brother Aurangzeb in 1659 and his property along with this library passed through several hands before the British finally took it from Marathas in 1803.

Sir Ochterlony renovated the original building of Dara Shikoh and added the pillars and the verandah to the older structure. The present library was one of the rooms used by Dara Shikoh. If one looks carefully one can differentiate between the architectural designs of the interior (Mughal) and exterior (British) of the building. This task can be a bit time consuming because the building was damaged to a great extent during the 1857 war and robbed of its precious books. However, one can still imagine the grandeur and opulence in which the first British Resident lived in Delhi, by looking the majestic building. The building also characterized the nature of its first occupant, Sir Ochterlony. He was one of the only British officers who fully adopted the Mughal culture, customs, traditions and lifestyle.

Dargah of Hazrat Shah Turkman Bayabani

Delhi has many little known historical treasure troves, which doesn't fail to surprise its tourists, and also those who have spend a lifetime in this modern city with an ancient soul. One of them is the quiet shrine of a thirteenth century sufi saint, just near the chaos of traffic and cacophony of busy Old Delhi life. Dargah of Hazrat Shah located to the east of Turkman Gate, on Asaf Ali Road in Old Delhi, this is the dargah (shrine) of saint Hazrat Shah Turkman Bayabani.

The shrine is regarded as the oldest shrine in the whole of Old Delhi, and is centuries older than the Shahjahanabad- the sixth version of Delhi, that Shah Jahan built as his capital. In fact, many people do not know that Turkman Gate was named after this saint, who expired in 1240 AD; much before the advent of the mighty Moghuls. The saint belonged to the Bayabani sect, a little known sect, whose practitioners believed in praying and living in a secluded place; away from the crowd, in close proximity to the nature.

Dariban Kalan

After crossing the Esplanade Road, a left turn just before Gurdwara Sisganj on the Chandni Chowk road will take to the 'Street of the Incomparable Pearl', Dariba Kalan. The street derives its name from a Persian phrase 'Dur e be baha', meaning 'pearl without compare' because since the period of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the street used to be the popular market of precious stones, gems, gold and silver jewelry.

Till today it is known as jewelers' street although most of shops in the street now deal in silver and costume jewelry. It is a very good market for purchasing new or old silver jewelry, because of the wide choice available. Apart from jewelery, some shops of the market also deal in authentic itra, a special type of perfume and attar and claim to be in the trade from the early 19th century.

Darya Ganj

The busy locality of Daryaganj, near the Delhi Gate of Shahjahanbad, is known for its unique feature, a very distinct style of architecture prevalent at the turn of the century. The influence of modern European architecture is quite prominent in the buildings of the area. They have mouldings on the fa?ade, circular pilasters (columns), semi-circular arches and were designed in such a manner as to encounter the 'riot of light' (heat) as well as the chilly winter of Delhi.

Fireplaces can be found in most houses and they are large and spacious with lots of space to breathe. However, prior to the British, the area served as a small open market place for the citizens of Shahjahanbad. It came to be known as Daryaganj (Darya-river, ganj-market) because the River Yamuna used to flow near it.

Today, after so many centuries, Daryaganj is still a market but now an overpopulated busy and congested one. Today it has the offices of some of the most well known distributors, publication houses and organizations of the country apart from good Indian restaurants and shops selling different kinds of items. Golcha, one of the oldest cinema halls of the capital, Delhi Book Store, said to be the Asia's largest medical bookshop, Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace) Restaurant widely acknowledged for its Mughlai dishes and Lahore Music House (reputed for dealing in musical instruments) are few of the popular destinations, which can be explored on the streets of Daryaganj.

Digambar Jain Temple

Located just opposite the massive Red Fort at the intersection of Netaji Subhas Marg and Chandni Chowk, Digambar Jain Temple is the oldest temple of the Jain religion in the capital, originally built in 1526. An impressive red sandstone temple today (the temple has undergone many alterations and additions in the past and was enlarged in the early 19th century), the Digambar Jain Temple is popularly known as Lal Mandir.

The statue of Lord Adinath, the first Tirthankara of the Jain religion is also present here, along with the shrine of Lord Parasnath, the immediate predecessor of Lord Mahavira. The temple is quite popular among the people as devotees come and make offerings such as fruits, grains, rice and even candles. The place is very peaceful and the ambience is really soothing especially due to the shining of the gilded paintwork of the shrine area under the lights of butter lamps and candles.

Fatehpuri Masjid(Mosque)

Fatehpuri Masjid located at the western end of the oldest street of Delhi, Chandni Chowk, Fatehpuri Masjid was built in 1650 by Fatehpuri Begum, one of Shah Jahan's wives. The mosque is built with red sandstone on a large scale and is surmounted by a single dome. Flanked by towering minarets, the Fatehpuri mosque has a traditional design with the prayer hall having seven-arched openings. Among the seven arches, the central arch is the highest.

The Fatehpuri mosque in Delhi has single and double-storeyed apartments on the sides and some of its endowments were used as a school for poor students. The British auctioned some parts of the mosque after the 1857 war to a Hindu family. Later in 1877 it was restored to the Muslims at the Delhi Darbar when the British allowed the Muslims back in Old Delhi.

Though Fatehpuri Masjid was an important mosque in Old Delhi but architecturally the mosque is not a very fine example of Mughal architecture. The materials used in the mosque are of poor quality. The proportion of the mosque is also not as perfect as that of the Jama Masjid. If one notices, the dome especially is not in proportion to the building and the overall effect is also not very pleasing. However, different parts of the mosque individually are very beautiful.

Fountain Chowk

Popularly known as Bhai Mati Das Chowk or 'fowara' (meaning fountain), Fountain Chowk is located just opposite Gurdwara Sisganj on the edge of the street leading to Old Delhi Railway Station. It has a Victorian-period fountain, which was earlier called as Northbrook Fountain because Lord Northbrook donated money for its construction.

The Fountain Chowk in Delhi is very near to the original Kotwali, the police station that functioned here since the Mughal period. Anyone accused of a crime was brought here in custody and was given trial. The dead bodies of the sons and grandsons of the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, were also displayed here. Many martyrs and freedom fighters, such as the King of Ballabhgarh and Nawab of Jhajjar, were also hung here, protesting against British rule. At present, the Kotwali area is under the Gurdwara Sisganj Management Committee.

Gadodia Market

Gadodia Market, which lies south of Khari Baoli, is a spice wholesaler's storage area. The entrance is through a covered arcade that directly takes visitors into a small courtyard lined with storerooms with giant-sized old-fashioned weighing scales. Built by Seth Lakshmi Narayan Gadodia in the early 20th century, the place is so busy during the peak market hours that it is nearly impossible to reach the open square area.

Here you can see laborers with their long barrows struggle with loading and unloading the sacks of spices. However, one must make it a point to visit it to see various types and qualities of items like turmeric, reetha nuts, ginger, saffron, lotus seeds, pickles, chutneys and edible leaves of silver paper used to coat sweets and cakes.

Gates of Old Delhi

Shahjahanabad, the 17th century city of Shah Jahan and the seventh city of Delhi, which was completed in 1649, was built like a huge fortress surrounded by strong rubble-built high walls from all sides with bastions, 14 high-arched openings gates and 16 windows. The city with its base at the imposing Red Fort (now the world's largest non-functional fort) was a difficult proposition for any enemy to enter and challenge the sovereignty of the Mughal Emperor. Polygonal in plan, the city was strategically built with 14 gates for the people and the royal procession to enter or exit, while taking trips in different directions. At present, there are just five gates left of the grand city that have fortunately survived the ravages of time.

It has following gates:

- Kashmiri Gate

- Ajmeri Gate

- Delhi Gate

- Turkman Gate

- Nigambodh Gate

Gauri Shankar Temple

The 800 year old Gauri Shankar Temple is located next to the Digambar Jain Temple on the main Chandni Chowk road amidst the mixed fragrance of numerous flowers displayed for sale in the nearby flower shops. One of the most important temples of Shaivism (a sect of Hinduism that worships Lord Shiva) in the country, it has an 800-year-old brown lingam (phallus stone) encased in a marble representation of a female organ. Surrounded by snakes made of silver, the lingam according to Hinduism represents a 'cosmic pillar, the center of universe, the life itself'.

The entrance of the temple, which has a flight of marble steps and flanking pillars carved with chains and bells, leads directly to the courtyard. Always bustling with the activities of the devotees, the courtyard has all the necessary items of the puja for Lord Shiva like sandalwood paste, flowers, bilva leaves and rice, on sale for the devotees to buy. The unique attraction of the courtyard is a marble chair of Bhagat Swaroup Bramachari, a Hindu saint who spent more than 50 years in the temple. It is his portrait and sandals that are kept here with his teachings about methods to achieve enlightenment.

Ghiyasuddin's Madarssah

Located near Ajmeri Gate in Old Delhi, Ghaziuddin's madarsa and tomb was built Mir Shahbuddin, a highly respected and influential courtier and minister during the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The title of 'Ghazi-ud-Din Khan' was conferred on him and his son Mir Qamar-ud-Din was the founder of the dynasty of Nizam of Hyderabad.

The madarsa was built in 1692. English classes were introduced in 1824 and it came to be known as Anglo-Arabic School and later Anglo-Arabic College. The building has a large enclosure of arcaded apartments where the madarsa used to function. The entrance to this madarsa, which is one of the fine examples of madarsa architecture in Delhi, is through the eastern gate.

There is a mosque just west of the madarsa, which is surmounted by three domes and flanked by minarets. The prayer hall of the mosque has arched openings. Further on both sides of the mosque towards its north and south lie the two enclosures, which contains some graves. The enclosures have perforated stone screens. Among the three graves in the southern enclosure is one of the graves of Ghaziuddin Khan. Red sandstone has been used in each structure here, which gives a unifying look to the building.

Gurudwara Sisganj

Located on the main Chandni Chowk road, just opposite Baptist Church, before Sunheri Masjid lies one of the sacred places of Sikhs in the capital, Gurdwara Sisganj. The gurdwara commemorates the site where on the orders of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Guru Tegh Bahadur; the ninth guru of the Sikhs was beheaded. He was martyred here in 1675 under a banyan tree because he objected to emperor's use of force against the Hindus, who refused to renounce their faith and religion.

The main worship room of the gurdwara, which is very spacious and flood lit has the Sikh Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib under a beautifully carved golden canopy. The sacred book is covered with a large red cloth and has piles of garlands of marigolds at its base. At night, the book is ceremonially carried to a special room in the gurdwara that can be seen through the glass. The book is kept there in a special-resting closet. Near the room is also kept the part of the banyan tree under which the ninth guru was killed. There is also an enclosed structure where the guru was held prisoner before beheading.

Haider Quli Khan's Gateway

The ruins of Haider Quli Khan's Gateway can be found just near the Fatehpuri Masjid in one of the alleys of the main Chandni Chowk Road. While moving on the right hand side of Chandni Chowk, from Fatehpuri Masjid towards Red Fort,, after crossing the Katra Bariyan, the gateway can be reached by taking the first right turn before a open space, locally known as metal verandah.

This lane directly leads to the 18th century gateway built by Haider Quli Khan, a senior Mughal official during the Mughal Emperor, Mohammad Shah's period. He was a very powerful official, first posted in Deccan region and then in Gujarat. He later became the Commander of Artillery under Mohammad Shah's reign and was stationed at Delhi. However, many officials and noblemen did not like him because of his nefarious activities.

Haveli of Mirza Ghalib

The Haveli of famous poet Mirza Ghalib (1796-1869) is located in Gali Qasim Jaan, near the corner of Ballimaran, one of the alleys of Chandni Chowk. The great poet stayed here during 1865 to 1869 and spent his last phase of his life. The Haveli has been since considerably renovated and was used lately as shops till December 1999 when Delhi Government acquired a portion of the Haveli and set up a memorial museum dedicated to the great poet. The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi inaugurated the museum in the gracious presence of Chief Minister of Delhi, Minister of Education and it was opened to public on 27th December 2000 on the birth anniversary of Mirza Ghalib.

The acquired portion of the Haveli has been restored to its original splendor. Originally the Haveli consisted of arched corridors on three sides enclosing an open courtyard. However now only a portion of it is open for the visitors but a lot of care and effort has been put so that the visitors can relive and experience the nineteenth century grandeur. The special features of the Haveli were highlighted like the Mughal Lakhori bricks, sandstone flooring, wooden entrance gate and chhajja in the courtyard.

The museum houses various important things related to the great poet, which gives an insight into the life of this Urdu poet. It contains the letters of Ghalib written in his own hand, last photograph of the poet, chronology of events, selected couplets from his works, books and some personal belongings of the poet. The museum also has a life-like replica of the poet in a realistic setting with a hookah in his hand.

Jain Bird Hospital

Jain Bird Hospital situated just next to Digambar Jain Temple in the same complex is situated a unique. Jain Bird Hospital is an interesting hospital where the patients admitted are only birds. Run by Prachin Shri Aggarwal Digambar Jain Panchayat, Delhi, the hospital was founded in 1956 on the Jain principle of aversion to killing. The hospital has separate wards in form of cages for different species like sparrows, parrots, domestic fowls and pigeons. It also has a research laboratory and even an intensive care unit for its serious patients.

Jain Swetambara Temple

Near Kinari Bazaar at the end of Naughara Gali amidst colorfully painted houses (especially their facades) lies the other Jain temple of the walled city known as Johari temple but belonging to the other sect of Jainism, Swetamber. This sect believes that salvation or moksha can be achieved while wearing clothes (only white) unlike the other sect who believes that a person should not wear clothes and be sky-clad in order to achieve moksha.

The devotional area of this white marble double storeyed temple is on the first floor. The unique attraction of it is a remarkably different carved black image of Lord Parasnath, the 23rd Tirthankara made up of the rare 'kasauti' stone. It is placed on a marble pedestal, covered by an ornately carved golden canopy.

The main shrine area has images of Lord Sumatinath, the 5th Tirthankara, Lord Adinath the first Tirthankaras and Lord Ajitnath along with the images of other Tirthankaras around the temple. The interior of the temple has decorative arched entrances and intricate paintings adorned with solid gold filigree work.

Apart from these, the visitors should not miss the two silver locked gates in the temple. The first silver gate at the top of staircase has a stone, representing Lord Bhaironji, who keeps evil forces away. The face of the stone is made up of silver and has a gold crown kept under a golden canopy. The other silver gate has small images of Tirthankaras bedecked with precious gems and stones.

Kalan Masjid(Mosque)

Kalan Masjid, known locally as Kali Masjid is one of the seven mosques that were built by prime minister of Feroz Shah Tughlaq (1351-88), Khan-i-Jahan Junan Shah. Located near Razia Sultan's tomb on the Turkman Bazaar Road, the mosque can also be reached by taking the Sita Ram Bazaar Road. An important mosque of Feroz Shah's city, Ferozabad, it was built in 1387 much before the city of Shahjahanabad was completed. The mosque was comparatively constructed on a large scale with 'three-aisle deep prayer chamber, pierced by five openings' and thus was named Kalan, which means big in the Arabic language.

Few characteristics like low domes, sloping minarets and chhajjas of the mosque reflect the typical Tughlaq style of architecture. The courtyard of the mosque is too surrounded by domed cloisters. The entrance of the mosque is from the eastern side and has a high flight of steps that takes directly into the courtyard. Every fourth step is a bit wider than the other steps so that devotees especially women can rest and then move forward. The mosque soon got a new name, Kali meaning black colored by the local population, as initially the outer walls of the mosque were black in color.

Khari Baoli

Khari Baoli is the Asia's largest wholesale spice market. It can be reached by taking the Khari Baoli road (towards western direction) after crossing the Fatehpuri Masjid on the western end of the main Chandni Chowk Road. It was during Shah Jahan's reign that the Khari Baoli, (the stepped well) was constructed along with a fortified gateway on its western end popularly known as Lahori Gate. The gateway was so named because a road through it led to the city of Lahore now in Pakistan. However, today there is no trace of either the Baoli or the gateway here.

At present, the street of Khari Baoli has a congested and busy market with shops on both sides selling spices, nuts and herbs. The visitor will have a unique experience here viewing the whole process of market of loading, carrying or unloading of huge sacks of items from manual trolleys, shopkeepers busy in dealing with the customers, customers selecting large quantities of items and weary laborers resting and chatting aloud. The overall appearance seems to be very chaotic but in reality it is very well managed if kept in consideration the fact that such a large amount of trading of small items are carried out daily.

Khuni Darwaza

Built by Emperor Sher Shah Suri in 16th century, as one of the gates of his city Shergarh, Khuni Darwaza or Bloody Gate is located on the main Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg just opposite to Maulana Azad Medical College. It is a double storeyed majestic gate and is largely constructed with grey stone except for the frames of its windows, which are made up of red sandstone. The gate got its present name after the first war of Indian Independence in 1857 when a British officer named Captain Hudson killed the remaining progenies of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar whom he captured from Humayun's Tomb.

The bodies were displayed for public viewing before taken to Kotwali. Local tales tell of blood dripping from the ceiling of the gateway after the massacre that followed the reoccupation of Delhi. It is the same place where Dara Shikoh's head was also displayed a couple of centuries ago when Aurangzeb murdered him in their battle of succession for the throne of Delhi.

Kinari Bazar

'Marriage on the mind'! Just visit the famous Kinari Bazaar, which has everything for sale that is needed for a wedding. A wonderful and colorful market, Kinari Bazaar is located on the street just behind the Gurdwara Sisganj and Sunehri Masjid on Chandni Chowk. The bazaar can be reached either by taking the Dariba Kalan Road and turning right in the fourth alley or taking the Paranthewali Gali just after the Ghantewala Sweet Shop.

Kinari Bazaar has the wholesale and retail shops that mainly deals in the wedding ceremony business. They have large stocks of sehra (groom's turban), garlands made beautifully from gold and silver tinsel and crisp currency notes, bridal jewellery and other accessories required during a wedding ceremony. The shops cater to the needs of people belonging to mostly all religions. Whether it is a Hindu wedding or a Christian wedding, the necessary items are all available here. Even wedding clothes can also be hired from these shops like bridal veil, attractively designed lehenga, gold brocade Sherwanis and anything or everything that one requires in a marriage ceremony.

Lothian Cemetery

Located on Lothian Road near Kashmeri Gate on the northeast side of the railway bridge, Lothian cemetery is the first British cemetery of Delhi. The members of Delhi's Christian community were buried in this old cemetery from 1808 to 1867. The main feature of the cemetery is the imposing memorial in form of huge Celtic cross dedicated to the Europeans who were killed in Delhi during the first war of Indian Independence in 1857.

The cemetery has many marked and unmarked graves, some of which have very elaborate tombstones. The marked graves are pre-war ones. Among them the most peculiar grave is of Thomas Dunnes, which is an eight-pillared building surmounted by a dome. Colonel James Skinner built this large red sandstone memorial in memory of his close friend.

Maulana Azad's Tomb

Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad's tomb is located just before the imposing Eastern gateway of Jama Masjid, near the Meena Bazaar Street. A popular freedom fighter and a nationalist leader, Azad was always held in high regard in political circles for his secular thoughts and high principles. He was a dedicated member of Congress Party and one of the few Muslim leaders who strongly opposed the partition of India. He was a highly qualified scholar and had the title of Maulana even though he was not a practicing cleric.

Maulana Azad started his political life as a journalist as he was an eloquent writer and a captivating speaker. After India's independence he became the Cabinet Minister of Education and devoted his life for the welfare of common citizens. The Government of India posthumously awarded him the country's highest civilian honor Bharat Ratna.

Meena Bazar

The market just below the massive stairs on the Eastern end of Jama Masjid is known as Meena Bazaar. Built in the late 1970s, the shops of Meena Bazaar on the both sides sell items like embroidered caps for Muslim men, local cosmetics, pictures and posters of sacred places, and readymade garments like burquas used by the Muslim women. Apart from these items, there are many small food stalls and dhabas, which really serve delicious Indian non-vegetarians delicacies.

There are also number of shops that specializes in making and selling pillows, mattresses, and quilts just near the market behind the imposing mosque. A further few meters away, there is a congested cycle market that sells wide range of bicycles and their parts.

Nai Sadak

Nai Sarak meaning new street is the linking road, which connects the main Chandni Chowk Road to Chawri Bazaar and has a very big wholesale and retail market of mainly school and college textbooks. The street can be reached by taking a left turn after the Paranthewali Gali and just before the Katra Nawab Gali on the main Chandni Chowk Road. The other way to reach here is by taking a right turn from Chawri Bazaar Road if coming from the Jama Masjid direction.

Nehar Wali Haweli

The Haveli is Neharwali Haveli, the current Pakistani President, General Pervez Musharraf's ancestral home. It was in this haveli that General Musharraf was born and spent the first four years of his childhood. Though now in a dilapidated condition as it has given way to a residential and commercial complex, Neharwali Haveli was bought by Musharraf's grandfather Qazi Mohtashimuddin after he retired as the commissioner of Punjab. General Musharraf's father Syed Musharraf Uddin later moved to Pakistan with his whole family deserting the haveli during the partition of India.

Apart from being associated with Musharraf's family, Neharwali Haveli also has historical significance as the main minister or wazir of the court of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar lived in it. The haveli is located in that area of the walled city where Muslim culture, traditions and etiquette flourished as this part housed the havelis of many Mughal noble families who had commanded much respect and esteem in the court. At present, the haveli is occupied by more than 5 families and is situated between crowded clusters of narrow alleys and it is difficult for anyone to imagine its original grandeur.

Sadar Bazaar

At the western side of Khari Baoli, just near the Sadar Bazaar Railway Station. Sadar Bazaar is one of largest wholesale markets of household items in the capital. Located at the western side of Khari Baoli, just near the Sadar Bazaar Railway Station, one of the ways to reach the market is through the Khari Baoli Road. This market like all the major markets of Old Delhi is very crowded and busy. Though it is also a wholesale market but one can purchase any item in small quantity.

Earlier, Sadar Bazaar was a small market mainly catering to the needs of the people of the nearby area but gradually it became one of the known markets of capital for cheap and quality products required in any household. At present, the market deals in various types of items other than household ones. The market can be aptly described as a total chaos but to experience and view the other side or aspect of Delhi, a visit to the bazaar is definitely required.

Salimgarh Fort

Built by Islam Shah Suri, also known as Salim Shah, son and successor of Sher Shah Suri in 1546, Salimgarh Fort was constructed on an island of river Yamuna. However, only the walls were completed when Salim Shah died and the construction was abandoned. Later several Mughal rulers camped here before the creation of Shahjahanabad, which includes Humayun who stayed here for three days before recapturing Delhi in 1555. In 1622 AD, Jahangir constructed a bridge and connected it to the mainland, which was later removed by the British when they built the railway line through it. Shah Jahan, the next emperor connected this fort with Red Fort and the fort finally became a state prison during the reign of Aurangzeb.

The British continued using it as a prison and kept its artillery units here after the war of 1857. The leaders of Indian National Army were imprisoned here in 1945. The fort has now been renamed as Swatantrata Senani Smarak (Freedom Fighters' Memorial) as a memorial has been developed for the freedom fighters in side the fort. The barracks where soldiers were kept as prisoners have been converted into their memorials. The memorial houses INA uniforms, personal belongings and some photographs.

St James Church

Located at the intersection of Church Road and Lothian Road, St. James Church was built by the famous Colonel James Skinner in a Greek cross design. Consecrated in 1836, the beautiful church was said to be an imitation of St Paul's Cathedral in London but according to Percival Spear the church was actually modeled on a church in Venice. With its beautiful gardens and peaceful atmosphere, the church was once situated in Delhi's best European shopping area.

The church is designed in a cruciform plan with the altar facing towards the eastern direction and entrance towards the western direction. A ball and a cross surmount the dome of the church. The original ball and the cross were damaged during the 1857 fighting and were later replaced by their replicas. The center of the church is octagon in shape with circular columns supporting the dome and the main seating arrangement being in the central portion of the dome.

St. Stephens Church

St. Stephens' Church is located on the left hand side of the main Church Mission Road just opposite the police booth. Built with local material in the year 1862, this rectangular Romanesque church reflects the typical gothic style and has a very high ceiling with baroque style of decoration.

One of the main attractions of the church is the stained glass rose window and is said to be the only of its kind in the whole capital. The nave of the church has arched openings between the circular pilasters allowing the sunlight from the window. The church also has a series of fine plasters forming an arcade on the either side with lined columns. The columns are made up of sandstone and are beautifully carved. The interior of the church has also been well maintained with all its motives, icons, carvings and furniture. There is also a very tall bell tower situated to the north east of the nave of this red colored church.

According to the local belief of the people, the buildings associated with St. Stephens (college as well as the hospital) are red in color because the pious saint was a martyr who was stoned to death with blood everywhere on his body while preaching the tenets of Christianity. The church is closed on all days except Sunday. However, it is opened on request as the caretaker lives nearby. It would be a nice gesture on visitor's part to give baksheesh (tip) to him.

Sultan Razia's Tomb

In the Bulbuli Khane locality, east of Kalan Masjid, at some distance from Turkman Gate, just near the Sitaram Bazaar, reached by a forking lane is the tomb of Razia Sultan, the only woman in the history to rule over Delhi. Her tomb (the one with stone slab) is located on a raised platform in the center of an unroofed walled courtyard (approx 35 sq feet) along with the grave of her sister Saziya, unknown to history.

Apart from a prayer mihrab in the western wall, the courtyard has two more small graves in the southwestern corner, probably of children, also unknown to the world. It is said that her brother and successor Behram Shah built this tomb here soon after the death of Razia, away from the Qutb area for strategic reasons.

Razia Sultan was a woman of great determination and courage. Dressed like a man, she used to ride on horseback with her bow and quiver and directly communicated to the common people. The main reason for the conspiracy against her was that the Turks noble were unable to digest the fact that a woman was ruling them. Though they were successful in their conspiracy at that time but the history remembers Razia Sultan as the only woman who ruled Delhi.

Sunehri Masjid(Mosque)

Located outside the southwestern corner of Delhi Gate of Red Fort, opposite the Netaji Subhash Park stands the magnificent Sunehri Masjid (not to confuse with Sunehri Masjid of Chandni Chowk). It is one of the fortunate buildings of Old Delhi that was not damaged during and after the first war of Indian Independence in 1857. Also known as Golden Mosque the mosque was built by Nawab Qudsiya Begum, the wife of Emperor Ahmad Shah in 1751. One of the eunuchs of Qudsiya begum, Jawed Khan supervised the construction of the mosque.

The main feature of the mosque is that it is surmounted by three domes, which were originally gilt with copper from which it derives its name. The mosque has a main prayer hall and two minarets. The central arch of the mosque bears an inscription, which informs the builder of the mosque and date of construction. The dome of the minarets too had copper gilt plates. In 1852, Bahadur Shah II repaired it and replaced the copper plates of the domes by sandstone facing.

Telegraph Memorial

Located within 100 meters to the north of British Magazine is the Telegraph Memorial built on the site of the wooden cabin in which the Telegraph officers worked. It was from this site that the last signal "we are off" was posted to Ambala during the 1857 war of Independence that officers there learnt about the revolt by the sepoys in Meerut and Delhi and could plan counter attacks. Though with much difficulty but one can read the inscription on the Memorial 'the electric telegraph has saved India.

Urdu Park

Just next to the Meena Bazaar of Jama Masjid is the quiet and pleasant Urdu Park. Here you will find ustads (experts) of various unique professions. The profession may range from ear cleaning to body massage to Champi (head massage). Believe it or not they are the real experts and better than many who work in big hotels or saloons with sophisticated gadgets. A special appreciation for them especially the ustads of body massage.

They have extensive knowledge of the human anatomy and know all the pressure points of the body like an acupressure expert. They will make you lie on a mat and will apply their magical (as they claim) oil all over your body. After the massage you will feel so fresh that you can run a marathon. Urdu park is in itself a good resting and cool place away from the chaotic streets of Old Delhi. The main attraction of the park is the wrestling match that is held on every Sunday at the end of the park.

William Fraser's Bungalow

Located just behind the sacred St James Church stands an off white large domed building popularly known as William Fraser Bungalow and currently an administrative office of Northern Railway. Built on the 'tykhana' or cellar made of Lakhori bricks of Ali Mardan Khan palace, Shah Jahan's senior general and one of the most important 'Omrahs' in the Mughal Empire, the Bungalow was constructed in 1803. It was the residence of the Deputy Resident of Delhi, Sir William Fraser, when British first came to Delhi in 1803. Sir William Fraser was known for his likings for Indian social life and his Indian friends. He was appointed Resident of Delhi in 1828.

There are two separate blocks, which forms the whole building. The first block, which is attached to the portico, has four octagonal corner turrets. It is a low rectangular building and it leads to the dome chamber that was added later. The second block, which was also the part of the original building, stands on the far side of the first block. The special feature of the second block is that it has a bow-fronted verandah and it once faced the Yamuna River.

Zinat Mahal

West of Hauz-Qazi in Lal Kuan Bazaar of Old Delhi, Zinat Mahal was built in 1846 during the reign of Bahadur Shah II (1837-57). The beautiful palace was constructed on the order of Zinat Mahal, the favorite wife of the emperor and thus is named after her. Though in a serious state of neglect, the palace is survived by an imposing gateway, few arched pavilions and the outer wall.

Since, emperor was very fond of Zinat Mahal, she enjoyed all luxuries and comforts in this palace. The palace was beautifully decorated with murals and other expensive items to please the queen. Built on a very large scale, the money was mainly provided by the rich merchants of Chandni Chowk. Attended by the rows of servants in the palace, she would receive a grand welcome in emperor's chamber. Beating of drums and playing of other musical instruments would mark the arrival of her palanquin lined with number of bodyguards. However, today it would be difficult to imagine the brilliance and grandeur of this building seeing its present condition.

Zinat-ul Masjid(Mosque)

Located on Khairati Ghat, Ansari Road along the walls of Shahjahanabad in Daryaganj, opposite Shakti Sthal and south of Red Fort, Zinat-ul Masjid is also known as 'Ghata Masjid'. Built in 1707 AD by Zinat-ul-Nissa Begum, the daughter of Emperor Aurangzeb, the mosque is said to be a replica of the magnificent Jama Masjid on a smaller scale. The main features of this beautiful mosque are its sky touching minarets, Kangura battlements and its alternative strips of white and black marble on the domes. The mosque is a protected monument as it is of considerable architectural merit.

The mosque has a large courtyard, which is built on a raised platform. Beneath the courtyard there are over 12 basement chambers, which were used for various purposes. It also has a tank in the center, which is no longer in use. The main entrance of the courtyard is from southern side while the northern side entrance remains closed. The walls of the mosque are built of random rubble and dressed stone while the floor is constructed with red sandstone.

The two towering minarets are made mainly of red sandstone. Surmounted by three bulbous domes, the prayer chamber of the mosque consists of seven arches. There was also a tomb in the courtyard where Zinat-ul-Begum was buried in 1711 AD. The British removed the tomb after the 1857 war when they used the mosque for military purposes.

Other Places
  • Sai Baba Temple, Swatantra Sangrama Sangrahalaya (Museum of the Independence Movement) etc.

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