Archives December 2017

North & South Block

Situated across each other on the Raisina hill the North and south Block actually represent the commanding attitude of the nation’s capital. They house the headquarters of the government offices and the Delhi assembly. Initially these two blocks were introduced as the secretariat buildings when the British relocated the government offices to north and south blocks in New Delhi. The buildings designed by the Edwin Lutiyen and Herbert Baker. The secretariat buildings were built in the designs of the imposition of superiority of the white masters over the natives.

Some of the major offices located in North block are:

  • Ministry of Finance

  • Ministry of home affairs

Some of major offices located in South Block are:

  • Ministry of Defense

  • Ministry of External Affairs

  • The Prime Minister’s office

These secretariat buildings are made of rose pink and pale yellow sandstone. The structure of the buildings gives a hint of the Mughal and Rajputana style. Both buildings are ornamented with stone screens which are known as ‘jali’. The buildings are provided with slants along the roof that shelters the artwork of the building from heat and monsoonal showers.

The government of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa donated the four Dominion columns that stand within the Great court. The centre of the court is adorned by the Jaipur Column of red sandstone with structures of a white egg, bronze lotus and six-pointed glass star of India.

Masjid-i-Jahan Numa

Jama Masjid is one of the most favorite and most visited tourist attractions in Delhi as well as whole of India. This architectural marvel was also built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The mosque which is one of the largest and oldest in India is open on all days for tourist except during the prayer intervals. Shah Jahan built the mosque in 1658 opposite to the Red Fort to be his primal worship site.

Ustad Khalil was the chief architect of Jama Masjid who took care of each and every wall, every inlay work and even smaller and minor details to make sure that the monument turns out to be the finest and eventually it did. The monument which means “the mosque that commands a view of the world” was eventually named Jama Masjid, ‘Jama’ means Friday – the holy day for the Muslims and hence the name ‘Jama Masjid’ was coined.

The mosque stands on a raised platform with three double storied gates opening in north, south and east directions. The masjid which uses black and white marbles along with red sandstone in tits decoration is about 80 meters long and 27 meters wide and 130 feet in height. The roof is entirely covered with black and white marbles and gold. In the 100 square meters of courtyard around 25000 people can pray at one time.

The main prayer hall is decorated with structures made out of marble and with the detailed history of the mosque inscribed on them. The northeastern parts seats the elaboration of Quran in Deer Skin along with the relics of Prophet Muhammad, this is why this area is also the holiest part of the mosque. One of best experiences other than the mosque itself is the view of Old Delhi and the areas around it from the southern minaret. The steps are steep and walls are narrow and very close to each other. With more than 90 steps the minaret gives one of the bets and awesome views of Old Delhi. You can also see the outer boundary of Red fort running along actually get an idea that how really big the fort is.

The “City of Shahjahan” is the perfect walk for everyone who is looking for an out of the world experience to explore the old city of Delhi. Delhi Walks’s this Old Delhi walk is one of the favorites and must attend walking tour.

Lashmi Narayan

Also known by the name of Birla Mandir of New Delhi, this temple has quite an interesting history attached to it. Built over a period of 6 years, the temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. But, he kept a condition that he will inaugurate the Delhi Laxmi Narain Temple only if the people from all castes, especially untouchables, would be able to gain entry inside it. The temple constitutes of one of the major draws of the city and is visited by numerous devotees and international tourists every year.

Lakshmi Narayan Mandir is built magnificently, although with a modern touch. Adorning the interiors of the temples are beautiful carvings depicting the scenes from mythology. Numerous Hindu symbols and quotes from the Gita and the Upanishads ornament the temple walls. The highest Shikara (tower) in the temple soars to an altitude of 165 ft, while the ancillary one is about 116 ft. Facing east and standing on an elevated platform, Birla Mandir of Delhi also enshrines the holy Vedas. The main shrine is dedicated to Lord Narayan and Goddess Lakshmi, while the smaller ones are of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman and Goddess Durga.

The three-storied temple is built in Nagara style of hindu temple architecture. Hundread of skilled craftsman from Benares headed by Acharya Vishvanath Shastri carved the idols of the temple. The idols of the temple were made by marble brought from Jaipur. Kota stone from Makarana, Agra, Kota and Jaisalmer were used in the construction of temple premises. The main temple houses idols of goddess Lakshmi and lord Narayan. Birla Temple attracts thousands of devotees on the hindu festivals of Janmasthtami and Diwali.


Humayun’s tomb is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi, India. The tomb was commissioned by Humayun’s first wife Bega Begum in 1569-70, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, a Persian architect chosen by Bega Begum. It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, and is located in Nizamuddin East, Delhi, India, close to the Dina-panah citadel also known as Purana Qila (Old Fort), that Humayun founded in 1533.

The high rubble built enclosure is entered through two lofty double-storied gateways on the west and south, 16 metres high with rooms on either side of the passage and small courtyards on the upper floors. Six-sided stars that adorn the main gateway on the west are also seen on the high arc of the main tomb structure, though it has been used as ornamental cosmic symbol. Inspired by Persian architecture the double or ‘double-layered’ dome, has its the outer layer which supports the white marble exterior, while the inner part gives shape to the cavernous interior volume.

After his death on 20 January 1556, Humayun’s body was first buried in his palace in Purana Quila at Delhi. Thereafter it was taken to Sirhind, in Punjab by Khanjar Beg, because it was feared that Hindu king Hemu, who had defeated Mughal forces in Agra and Delhi in Oct. 1556 and captured Purana Quila, will damage the tomb. In 1558, it was seen by his son, the then Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Akbar subsequently visited the tomb when it was about to be completed in 1571.

Besides the main tomb enclosure of Humayun, several smaller monuments dot the pathway leading up to it, from the main entrance in the West, including one that even pre-dates the main tomb itself, by twenty years; it is the tomb complex of Isa Khan Niyazi, an Afghan noble in Sher Shah Suri’s court of the Suri dynasty, who fought against the Mughals, constructed in 1547 CE.

Iftaar Walk

Be it rain or storm, nothing can dampen a DIlli-wala’s spirit, especially when it comes to food. As scheduled, Delhi Walks went out for an Iftar Walk on 6th Aug 2013 in spite of heavy downpour around the city. The roads were crowded with buyers, sellers, rickshaw-wallas, tourists beggars, like any other evening in Old Delhi. But still, there was something special about this evening. This was the time for Iftaar- the evening meal when fasting Muslims break their daily fast during the month of Ramadan.

We started our gastronomical journey at Chawri Bazar, where one can find some wonderful street food joints. Our first stop was Ashok Chaat Bhandar, which is located just outside the gate no.3 of Chawri Bazaar Metro Station. Here one can find variety of chaats, golgappas, bhalla and tikkis. We had some golgappas and dahi bhallas before moving onto our next stop.

After this, we decided to try some real nonveg cuisines and thus we moved ahead to Jama Masjid Mosque area. The mood at Jama Masjid was very high on energy and festive, in spite of the unfavorable weather. The whole atmosphere was breathtaking. Inside the Jama Masjid, families laid out their mats, arranged their Iftaar food, waiting for the azaan to break their fast.

While the atmosphere inside Jama Masjid was sort of soothing, the markets outside were buzzing with people. The Matia Mahal street has many street shops which were selling dried nuts (dates, cashewnuts, kishmish, etc) and dried Sewai (semolina noodles), which usually are consumed during iftaar and Eid.

In Matia Mahal Street, we decided to have our evening meal at the Al-Jawahar restaurant, which serves some really delicious non-veg mughlai cuisine. For starters, we ordered shami kebab and chicken seekh kebab. Later on, we ordered Mutton Barra, Fried Chicken, Chicken Biryani along with tandoori roti.

After eating till our souls were satisfied, we moved on to have some dessert. We had a small portion of Shahi Tukda, a dish rich in ghee and sugar. By this time, we were completely full up to our necks. We decided to head towards our final stop-Jama Masjid, as it was almost time for the Maghrib ki Namaz. Holding our sandals in one hand and making our way through the crowd, we found a spot for ourselves to sit. Don’t be shocked if you get invited to share the iftaar with some families around you. We ended our journey with delicious Halwa puri and Sharbat in Meena Bazaar.

While on our way back to Chawri Bazaar Metro, we all had one thing in our mind- THIS PLACE IS A HEAVEN FOR GLUTTONS!!


The Tomb of Mirza Ghalib is situated towards the northern end of the Chausath Khamba enclosures and very close to Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Shrine. Mirza Ghalib was a renowned Urdu as well as Persian Poet of his time who was born in 1797. He was a poet in the Imperial Courts of the Mughal Empire and a close friend of Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. He was also the Urdu and Persian Teacher of Bahadur Shah II. He is popularly known as the ‘Shakespeare of Urdu’ who wrote numerous Ghazals (Passionate and Musical Poems of Love normally written in the Urdu Language) and also famous for his quote which reads that Delhi is the Soul of the World.

Mirza Ghalib’s Tomb is small compared to the numerous royal tombs in Delhi which has been deemed as a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. It is dressed with a structure made of marble and sits within a small courtyard enclosure which is kept under key and lock. The small Tomb area is also dotted with several other graves of persons unknown.

Mirza Ghalib was born in Kala Mahal, Agra into a family descended from Aibak Turks who moved to Samarkand (now in Uzbekistan) after the downfall of the Seljuk kings. His paternal grandfather, Mirza Qoqan Baig Khan, was a Saljuq Turk who had immigrated to India from Samarkand during the reign of Ahmad Shah (1748–54). He worked at Lahore, Delhi and Jaipur, was awarded the subdistrict of Pahasu (Bulandshahr, UP) and finally settled in Agra, UP, India. He had four sons and three daughters. Mirza Abdullah Baig Khan and Mirza Nasrullah Baig Khan were two of his sons.

In 1850, Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II bestowed upon Mirza Ghalib the title of “Dabir-ul-Mulk”. The Emperor also added to it the additional title of “Najm-ud-daula”. The conferment of these titles was symbolic of Mirza Ghalib’s incorporation into the nobility of Delhi. He also received the title of ‘Mirza Nosha’ from the Emperor, thus adding Mirza as his first name. He was also an important courtier of the royal court of the Emperor. As the Emperor was himself a poet, Mirza Ghalib was appointed as his poet tutor in 1854. He was also appointed as tutor of Prince Fakhr-ud Din Mirza, eldest son of Bahadur Shah II, (d. 10 July 1856). He was also appointed by the Emperor as the royal historian of Mughal Court.

Exploring the Delhi Nostalgia

Even though Delhi is chaotic, messy and frenzied you would surely agree that the charm of Delhi yin this muddled lifestyle only. The hustling bustling and zigzag alleyways of Old Delhi is energetic with colourful shops and lively people. The shopping complexes of Connaught place, which offers an ample series of electronic commodities, garments, jewelleries, books, handicrafts, fashion accessories etc. A montage of faiths, cultures, customs and languages, that blends harmoniously in to one piece. The city is enchanting, a treasury of art and architecture. For decades she has witnessed the birth of religions and rituals, life and death and new ways of life again.

Delhi has gained humongous importance in the world not only as the capital of India but also as a city which is being looked upon as one of the fastest growing cities in the world. But, to mention Delhi without mentioning its sister city is like having food without salt. Gurgaon has always been evenly rich and affluent in terms of popular tourist attractions like Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, the tranquil Damdama Lake, the artificial Karna Lake, Kurukshetra, etc. Each of these tourist attractions in Gurgaon manifests the grand history of Gurgaon.

Gurgaon which was originally named with reference to Guru Dronacharya, who was handed over the land to teach the art of warfare to the Pandavas. Hence the village gained the name as Guru Gram or Guru Gaon i.e. “Teacher’s Village”. The Gurgaon of today is home to offices of numerous MNCs, and has emerged as the hub of IT and several other modern businesses. The city’s growth has undoubtedly increased exponentially in terms of people, culture, economy, tourists etc. Even though it has always been portrayed as a business city but it has a charm of its own. A charm which is transported to its sister city Delhi through the marvellous Metro railway.

Delhi does not belong to any one person or any particular community. Nobody can claim her to be their alone; its multi ethnicity and multi cultural beliefs are reflected everyday in every part of it. So what is new about Delhi, what is that should attract you, what is that would lure you to take out time from your busy schedule for yourself and spend in this frenzied metropolis. Well you just need to look at the right place for right moments.

Let me tell you that the best way to get acquainted with Old Delhi is to walk through its labyrinths and through the city is to cycle and that too early morning. The dawn of Delhi has its own zen like feeling. The roads are nearly empty, there is a pleasant breeze and everything seems different about her. There are lot of people out there who have spent a lifetime of theirs in Delhi and probably know every nook and corner, whether it’s baffling mazes of Chandni Chowk or the all the same looking roads and buildings around Central Secretariat, but what I would bet here is not on your knowledge about the city but its moments. Like I said, you just need to look at the right place for right moments.

You must have walked or driven through the Lodhi road a number of times, but try walking from Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah to Humayun’s Tomb in the brahma-muhurta : it’s the same road, the same place, probably the same rickshwalas and beggars, sleeping on the pavements but yet it’s not just amazing but a miraculously beautiful moment and I can assure you, that’s not even the beginning of what you will experience. Delhi has so much more to offer us than what we just know. Delhi is a giant city that contains an overwhelming amount of history, culture, life, food, temples, and everything else you could possibly imagine.

You cannot miss the beautiful moments of the month of Ramzaan. The first thing that comes in one’s mind when thinking about Delhi is its delicious food and the month of Ramzaan is the perfect time for any foodie to savor the delicacies of Iftar. Ramzaan is the time when every dilliwala makes a trip to Jama Masjid to savour the flavors of iftar. A walk to bustling zigzag alleyways of Jama Masjid would be meaningless without experiencing the whole process of iftaar.

And of course the 67th Independence Day of India is almost there, a moment of celebration, a day to pay tribute to the martyrs who struggled and sacrificed their presents so we can live in a better future. No matter what are the conditions today but we owe it to them, our freedom, and yes that ever present ray of hope.

One thing besides the Independence Day celebrations that you cannot miss being part of is the Kite Flying in Delhi. It is a much awaited event that takes place in Delhi, and children and kite flyers wait for this opportunity to flash their vibrant flying machines and watch the spectacle as they race against the wind high above, surpassing all others. There are some famous parks like India Gate, Red Fort, Ramlila ground or any parks in the locality can be used.

As they say in the Vedas “Tat Tvam Asi” or “Thou Art That” which proves the philosophy that God and Self are one. You can go back and rediscover the precious values, that all reality hinges on, the moral values and that everything has a spiritual control. Being spiritual does not just means to be religious. It’s about understanding your inner self and trying to give meaning to the world and to the unexplained. Keep our minds on a positive train of thought and live courageously.

Well we can actually keep on talking about it and probably it would never end. Even those who have lived here since their child hood get amazed to see places they had never even heard of or they had not even a slightest bit of idea it’s not just a city they are living in, but a legacy left by people of diverse cultures and beliefs, more than 2000 years old legacy.

Well the more you talk about it, the more exciting it gets, and it’s absolutely fine if it lures you to take a weekend off and take some time out for yourself.

Dilli dur ast

Nizamuddin Dargah is a few metres away from Amir Khusro’s Tomb. Nizamuddin Auliya was a famous humanitarian Muslim Sufi and mystic saint. The original tomb no longer exists. The present structure was built in the mid 15th century by Faridun Khan, a nobleman. It was repaired and decorated by Feroz Shah Tughlaq and subsequent rulers. The majestic pavilion with marble arches and lattice screens or jails was added by Emperor Shah Jahan.

Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia (d. 1325 A.D.) represents in many ways the pinnacle of the Chishti Order of the Sufis. Hazrat Baba Farid, his spiritual guide, said to him on appointing him as his successor: “Be like a big tree, so that Allah’s creation, the human beings in their vast multitudes, may find rest and solace under your shadow.”

This shrine also houses the tomb of Amir Khusrau, a famous poet and the saint’s beloved disciple. Encroachments plaque the shrine and the area itself seem to belong to another century. The shrine was built by Muhammad Tughluq and is one of the sacred places of pilgrimage. Other tombs situated in the complex of the shrine belong to Begum Jahan Ara, Shah Jahan’s favorite daughter and Mirza Ghalib. Every Thursday, one can hear qawwalis here around sunset.

Shaikh Nizamu’d-Din was born at Budaun in 1236. He came to Delhi with his mother and became the disciple of the famous saint Shaikh Farid Shakarganj. The rulers such as Ala-ud-Din Khalji and Muhammad Tughluq were devoted to him. It is said that he had already prophesized beforehand that city of Tughluqabad could never prosper and that Ghiyath-ud-Din Tughluq, who was then in Bengal, would never see Delhi again. He died in 1325. The original tomb has been renovated many times and the present tomb was built in 1562. The area around the tomb is regarded as sacred. Twice every year, ‘urs’ is held to commemorate the death anniversaries of Hazrat Nizamu’d-Din Auliya and Amir Khusrau.

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