Archives January 2018

The Moonlit Square

An arena of merchandise, Chandni Chowk besides being a major tourist attraction is one of the most famous market lanes in Delhi and India. The market place holds a charm of mystical in nature of an era of the royals Mughals. Built in the 17th century by Mughal Emperor of India Shah Jahan, and designed by his daughter Jahan Ara. This market was once divided by canals which are now closed to reflect moonlight, and it remains one of India’s largest wholesale markets.
This grandest lane leads one directly to the Red Fort and often processions of Emperor Shah Jahan would pass through it. The Moonlight Square was designed and established by Princess Jahanara, Shah Jahan’s favourite daughter, in 1650 AD. The bazaar, which was shaped as a square, was given further elegance by the presence of a pool in the centre of the complex. In particular, the pool shimmered in the moonlight, a feature which was perhaps responsible for the nomenclature of the marketplace.
The shops of the complex were originally built in a half-moon shaped pattern, which, for some reason, is lost today. The bazaar was in the time of Shah Jahan, who was famous for its silver merchants. This could also have an important role to play in the nomenclature of the place as silver is referred to as Chandi in Hindi, a word which could have been slightly deformed to form Chandni Chowk.
Even today when you walk through this lane you will find it to be choked with congestion, vehicle, rickshaws and street vendors it’s totally a different world. The “City of Shah Jahan” and the” Bazaars of Old Delhi” are the 2 of the best walking tours you must attend the to explore the old city and its historic lanes.

Parliament House

Located in the northwestern side of the Vijay Chowk the Parliament House is in the vicinity of the secretariat buildings. The building marks the strength and governance of the world’s largest democracy.
Initially it was planned to be a part of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, but in 1919 according to the Montague-Chelmsford reforms it was announced to be designed as the Indian parliament. The Duke of Connaught laid its foundation in 1921 and the building was inaugurated in 1927 by Lord and Lady Irwin. The Parliament was designed by famous architect Herbert Baker and also previously it was known as Circular House.
The Parliament House of India has a central hall topped with a domed structure and three semi circular chambers. These chambers were initially assigned to house the council of state, legislative assembly and the chamber of princes. However, the Parliament House now accommodates the ‘ Lok Sabha’ or the Lower House of the Parliament and the ‘ Rajya Sabha’ or the Upper House of the Parliament and a library.
The three circular chambers are guarded by a string of 144 columns that adds to the extravaganza of the building’s beauty. The Parliament House is flanked by beautiful gardens and fountains which enhances the glory of the building.

Remembering the heroes

India Gate also known as “All India War Memorial” was constructed in honor of 90,000 soldiers who sacrificed their lives during World War I and also the Third Anglo Afghan War. ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’ or the flame of the immortal warrior is burning under it since 1971. This eternal flame reminds us of the heroes, those brave soldiers and their sacrifices who lost their lives in order to protect their country.
The 42 meter high gateway built in red stone and granite the India Gate was planned by Sir Edwin Lutyen the architect who laid out the plan for Delhi. The Duke of Connaught laid the foundation stone of India Gate and its construction was completed in 1921. India Gate Memorial has become one of the most popular destinations of Delhi as well as India.
Located in the heart of capital India Gate lies towards the east end of Janpath that leads to the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The surrounding area of the memorial is also now a famous picnic spot and provides a variety of entertainment. One can spend a whole day watching monkey performances, viewing the soap bubbles that are blown all over the lawns of the India Gate, playing with balloons and more.
In the evening, Delhi’s India Gate is crowded with evening walkers as well as tourists and mobile vendors. You can taste the typical Indian fast foods, ‘fruit chaat’, ‘bhelpuri’, ‘chana jor garam’, ‘dal ka pakodas’, aerated drinks from the arcade of vendors stationed there.

Refuge of the faithful

Purana Quila, the fort was built between 1538 and 1545 by the Mughal emperor Humanyun. The fort originally lay on the bank of the river Yamuna before the river changed its course. The Purana Quila was built by Humayun in an attempt to build a city of his own. But characteristically, the Old Fort did not bear the name of its creator unlike the other emperors erecting such structure. When Sher Shah defeated Humayun most of the structures inside the old fort were demolished and was renamed as ‘Shergarh’ . But once again as Humayun recaptured his city from Sher Shah’s son he took the task of completing the city and rebuilding its old glory.
The walls of Purana Quila have three gates (the Humayun Darwaza, Talaqi Darwaza and Bara Darwaza) and are surrounded by a moat, which was fed by river Yamuna. The double-storied gates of the Purana Quila are quite massive and are built with red sandstone. The walls of the old fort are said to be built by Humayun while the buildings in the old fort are attributed to Sher Shar, the Sur ruler. Of all the surviving buildings in the old fort complex, the Sher Mandal and the Quila-i-kunha Mosque are notable.
The Sher Mandal was built by Humayun. It is a two storied octagonal tower, used by Humayun as his library. The Quila-I-kunha Mosque is an example of Indo Islamic architecture. The unique features of Indo-Islamic architecture like molding, bracketed openings, marble inlay, carving etc are very prominent in the structure. The prayer hall of the Quila-i-Kunha mosque measures 51.20m by 14.90m and has five doorways with the ‘true’ horseshoe-shaped arches. The mehrabs (prayer niches) inside the Quila-i-Kunha mosque are richly ornamented with concentric arches. The mosque has an inscription which says ‘As long as there are people on this earth, may this edifice be frequented, and people be happy in it.’
Excavations have revealed that the Purana Quila or the old fort stands at the site of Indraprasta, the capital of the Pandavas. Excavations near the eastern wall of the fort show that the site had been occupied since 1000 B.C. The PGW (Painted Gray Pottery) recovered from the site date back to the Mahabharata period.

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