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Wednesday, September 30

Heritage Walks and Tours

DePaul University students and teachers with Sufi Singers, Mehrauli

Historic tours that are specialized, imaginative and creative, now made easier with quick access provided to remote and little-known sites by the Delhi Metro.


A Swedish delegation, all in turbans at a Sikh Gurudwara

These walks cover the well-known heritage sites that are on the regular tourist map, such as Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Purana Qila and QutbMinar. While the rules may oblige us to use a licensed guide inside the main sites, we supplement the information they give with stories, little known facts and visual aids. We can also explore the lesser known places in the area, and familiarise you with local foods and transport, such as rickshaws and the metro. A wider perspective is also provided by a comparative study of architectural forms across the world of the same period.

Read comments by 1. Penny Jewel for Qutub Minar and Humayun’s tomb and Catriona for an introduction to the 1st City of Delhi.
 

The options are innumerable

a) Old Delhi


Here the walks are around:

i) Chandni Chowk– The walled city of Shahjanabad, through kuchas, galis and katras, havelis and fascinating Bazaars (warning: some walk trails are through narrow, congested dirty alleys.) There are several walk routes:

Walk 1.This is more of a spiritual tour. We visit Jain & Hindu temples, a Sikh Gurudwara and Masjids and see their forms of offering and meditation. Along the way we pass havelis and educational institutions; some nestling in narrow alleys. We relish and savor the delicious street foods and end at Jama Masjid.

Walk 2 Here we stay on the main street of Chandni Chowk Chowk and walk all the way from the Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid and climb to the top of the Spice market to get a stupendous view of the Red Fort .

Walk 3. Around Fatehpuri Masjid – this is quite a unique walk devised by me wherein we explore beautiful Shivalayas (Indian temples), Baghs (gardens) of the Mughal and British period (now all modern) and we end with the 1912 bombing story of Lord Hardinge.

Walk 4 Havelis and history around Sita Ram Bazar and Turkman Gate

Walk 5 Savor mouth-watering (vegetarian) winter delicacies on a Street Food walk. Meander through the colorful bazaars offering glittering jewellery, aromatic spices, sumptuous silks, bridal outfits and much more.

It’s best to combine walks in the above areas with a visit to the Red Fort. You also have the option of selecting places from the above list and leaving the customization to us.

 

Explore more in the Theme walks section)

ii) Kashmere Gate — A curious mixture of the oldest colonial and Mughal buildings

iii) Civil Lines– a remnant of the decaying British bungalows set in large gardens, and colonial-era schools,

iv) Northern Ridge for the British cantonment – combined with 14th century ruins,

v) Delhi University – a walk in the North campus to unravel the history of the colleges.

More so in the Period walks section

b) Central Delhi

i) Walk through Connaught Place and New Delhi to know Lutyens’s Delhi better;

ii) Nizammuddin Dargarh for the story of the revered sufi saint, Nizamuddin Aulia – one of the urban villages of Delhi, where extreme poverty co-exists with one of the most important sufi shrines in the country;

iii)
 Safdarjung Tomb – a magnificent 18th century tomb with an interior that is of greater interest than that of Humayun’s Tomb,

iv) Lodi Gardens – four tombs from the 15th and early 16th centuries in a well-maintained garden that also contains other minor ruins Also meet the birds, trees & butterflies that flourish in this glorious green space. This walk is an anytime and all time favorite!

v) Paharganj & New Delhi Railway station and Qadam Sharif – a little known 14th century fortified tomb

Why not explore Delhi’s markets, cafes, architecture, art, theatre and culture on one of our new walks?

c) South Delhi

Combine this with the Qutb complex (a regular walk) and enjoy the added bonus of the Flower Market. This is the best introduction to the 1st City of Delhi

1. Haus Khas, South Extention, Khirki, Begumpur, Chirag Dilli etc. for villages and tombs.

2. Mehrauli ( Lal Kot) for the village – a marvellous mixture of quiet residential lanes, a busy market, ancient ruins and the important sufi shrine, fascinating and unusal Lodhi period buildings, pleasure garden resorts of the later Mughal Emporers and Britishers etc.

3. Mehrauli Archaelogical Park – a range of ruins dating from the 13th century to the 19th set in partly landscaped, partly wild parkland.

Many people like to combine a Regular Walk of an area with an Off- The- Beaten- Track Walk in the same area. You can do this too!

 

The possibilities are endless: Food, Spiritual tours, the Baolis (stepwells) and Baghs (gardens) of Delhi, Textiles, Havelis of Old Delhi, Ghalib’s Delhi: walk around Ballimaran’s streets, home to Urdu poet, Mirza Ghalib.

In the Food Trail we walk through areas of the walled city that give you a feel for the authentic Old Delhi food – the much relished Mughlai cusine – and a bygone era. Absorb the aroma with history: watch the street food being cooked, hear the history, and experience the bustling markets. This has been our most popular walk to date. Read Catriona’s walk experience

The Ghalib Trail takes one through areas associated with the 19th century poet in Shahjahanabad, with school children performing a Mushaira (poetry) along with English commentary.

 

Let’s walk the ‘7 cities of Delhi’ and explore the ruins associated with these: Mehrauli, Siri, Jahanpanah, Tughlakabad, Ferozabad, Dinpanah and Shahjahanabad. Then we add the 8th city – Imperial Delhi, and its links to Calcutta and Shimla.

Here we explore the heritage sites relating to the 1857 Mutiny, the three durbars, and British Colonial Delhi of 1911 based around the Civil Lines of Temporary Delhi. This integrates ASI protected monuments with the Delhi Metro, covering the Ridge, Badli ki Sarai, Kashmere Gate & Civil lines. This walk is done in a 2-part series.

Coming to India on a pilgrimage, contact us to customize your itinerary. Delhi has some fascinating spiritual sites. We can see temples—Jain, Hindu Sikh and Masjids all on one street, visit each one to experience their offerings and forms of meditation. There are also some divine Buddhist temples, all hidden away. Read more of  Surekha’s spiritual interest in the NatureVedanta and Spirituality section and some spiritual testimonials in the What others say section.

Our over 30 walk routes mentioned in this section can be offered as online tours from home. For further details refer to Tours from Home section

All the above tours can be customized to suit your requirements coupled with ideas from you, as well. First time tourists can enjoy combining a regular walk with an off-the-beaten track Walk, theme or period walk.

Walks for schools have been designed keeping in view the audio-visual element of learning. learning. The boring history being taught in schools can be made into a tremendous learning experience by taking a walk through the Humayun’s Tomb (to supplement a lesson on the Mughal Dynasty): or through Lodi Gardens (to discover the Lodi Kings), or Tughlaqabad (much more exciting than memorizing dates for Tughlaq dynasties). Kids really love these outdoor experiences with us that include quizzes, puzzles and internet searches related to the walk. Some of our most popular walks have been the ones for moms, dads and kids, in which all participate in the puzzles and quizzes, and essentially take the walk home with them.

Delhi is blessed with several museums whose collections can be made more interesting by focusing on subjects such as the history of textiles, Lord Krishna, textiles etc.

We even escort groups to places around Delhi that include Agra, Jaipur, Shekhawati, Brindavan, Mathura, Mount Abu (Jain temples), Amritsar, Ajmer, Dehradun, Mussorie along with designing eco-trails and spiritual tours to Rishikesh, Vrindavan, Doon valley etc. Read more in Short Trips