Delhi Journals

Historic Delhi Part 6: Remembering the Mutiny

Best of IgoUgo

A September 2007 trip to Delhi by phileasfogg

St James Church Photo, Delhi, India More Photos
Quote: In 1857, Delhi was the epicentre of the Mutiny. 150 years later, it's interesting to see reminders of it across the city.

Flagstaff House

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Flagstaff House Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Flagstaff House is large, well-preserved, and very historic – but surprisingly little known. Part of the reason is that it’s tucked away inside a pedestrians-only park, and except for joggers, walkers and the odd history buff, not too many people come this way.Flagstaff House (also known as Flagstaff Tower) was built in 1828, at a place that was then an excellent vantage point: the Ridge loomed above the surrounding area, which was largely devoid of vegetation. This made it a strategic advantage for the British, who could look out across Delhi and the Karnal Road from here.When the Mutiny erupted in 1857, Flagstaff House was catapulted into greater prominence. The Rebel Army descended on Del...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 18, 2007

Kashmere Gate

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Kashmere Gate Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
When the Mughal emperor Shahjahan shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi in the 1650’s, he established a new city at Delhi – which he named Shahjahanabad. Formidable stone walls were built all around the city, and were pierced at regular intervals by large gates that were usually named after the direction they faced: Lahori Gate (facing Lahore); Dilli Gate (facing the older city of Delhi, south of Shahjahanabad), Ajmeri Gate (facing Ajmer) and Kashmere Gate (facing Kashmir).In 1803, the British defeated the Marathas at the Battle of Patparganj and took over Delhi. One of the tasks they undertook soon after was the renovation of the city walls – partly to ward off the threat of a Russian invasion. T...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 18, 2007

Kashmere Gate

Delhi, India

Pir Ghaib

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Pir Ghaib and the Chauburja Mosque"

Pir Ghaib Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
A five minute walk separates Pir Ghaib from the Chauburja Mosque, but I’m going to be writing about these two monuments because they actually share a lot in common.Pir Ghaib stands within the Hindu Rao Hospital compound, at the far end, just inside the gate that leads out onto the Ridge Road. This was originally built by the Tughlaq emperor Ferozeshah (reign: 1351-88), probably as part of a shikargah (a hunting lodge) known as Kushk-i-Shikar. There are other stories associated with the building: for instance, the theory that it was probably also used as an observatory. The northern apartment of the building once housed a cenotaph for a Muslim pir or saint who is said to have di...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on November 18, 2007

Pir Ghaib

Delhi, India

St James Church

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

St James Church Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
With its pale yellow and white façade and prominent dome, St James Church is a small but significant patch of tranquillity amidst the bustle of Kashmere Gate. It’s not the largest or most impressive of Delhi’s Anglican churches – I think the Cathedral Church of the Redemption is more imposing – but it’s by far the most historic.St James stands in an area which was, during the Mughal period, home to the havelis or mansions of Shahjahanabad’s nobility. When Delhi fell to the East India Company’s troops in the early 1800’s, many of the British settled here, often rebuilding old havelis to suit their tastes. David Ochterlony, the Resident of Delhi from 1803 onwards, also bought a plot of ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 18, 2007

St James Church
Lothian Road
Delhi, India

The Library of Dara Shukoh

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Dara Shukoh's Library - some original masonry Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
This interesting building can be a bit difficult to find, but thankfully – since it stands in the heart of one of Delhi’s universities – you shouldn’t have much trouble finding someone to give directions. From Kashmere Gate, begin by walking down the main road till you’ve passed St James Church on your left. Just beyond the church, turn left into the lane which leads to the gate of the Indraprastha University, and go in through the gate. Keep walking down the main road of the university, past the sports field on your right, and beyond that, turn right towards the Department of Archaeology. It’s a large, stark white building with a façade of columns and deep blue shuttered windows. Forbidding, but pret...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 18, 2007

The Magazine

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

A magazine gate Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Here’s a disclaimer right at the very beginning: this interesting monument isn’t really a magazine – it’s just the gates of the magazine. And that, actually, is what is so amazing about it.Lothian Road is a long, curving and usually busy road leading away from Kashmere Gate – if you walk down straight from St James Church, you’ll come to Lothian Road in about ten minutes’ time. The road’s an unusually wide one, with two islands roughly down the centre. These islands, approximately rectangular in shape, are separated by about twenty or so metres, the road (and traffic!) flowing between, in the chaotic and merry way typical of India.The interesting feature of these islands are th...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 18, 2007

Mutiny Memorial

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "The Mutiny Memorial"

Mutiny Memorial Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
The Mutiny Memorial is one of my favourite colonial monuments in Delhi, because it’s the capital’s only historic monument I know of that’s been given a half-humorous little twist. Many other colonial buildings, obvious symbols of a much-despised imperial power, have been changed in ways that would make any historian writhe. The Mutiny Memorial is different.Erected six years after the Mutiny – in 1863 – the Mutiny Memorial stands along the road from Hindu Rao Hospital past the ancient Ashokan Pillar. This stretch has dense vegetation on either side of the road, but you’ll be able to see the red sandstone tower and the ornate crucifix that tops it, from a way off.But it’s when you get to the m...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 18, 2007

Mutiny Memorial
Rani Jhansi Road
Delhi, India

Kashmere Gate

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "The Nicholson Cemetery"

Kashmere Gate Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
On what was probably a hot and stuffy day, Brigadier-General John Nicholson of the Bengal Army led some 2,000 soldiers in an attack on Delhi. The year was 1857; the date was September 23. The famous Mutiny had left much of North India in turmoil, and the recapture of Delhi was imperative.The Indian rebels holed up within Kashmere Gate- the entrance that Nicholson’s men attacked- could not withstand the assault, and eventually had to yield. Delhi fell to the British. The casualties were horrendous on both sides; a contemporary historian records that the streets of Chandni Chowk were choked so full with corpses that it became impossible for the living to emerge from their houses. Finally, it was decr...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 18, 2007

Kashmere Gate

Delhi, India

St James Church Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
For a country that holds its independence very dear (and which doesn’t?), India didn’t make too much of a fuss over the 150th anniversary of the First War of Independence. True, there were some fairly stodgy parades; politicians went about giving speeches, and my father got involved in setting up a Mutiny Museum in Meerut. The museum idea fizzled out; not too many people turned up at the parades; and nobody – as usual – listened to the politicians. In 2007, India is too wrapped up in the twenty-first century to think too much about 1857.1857, however, marks a watershed in Indian history. This was the year when entire battalions of native soldiers in the British army in India mutinied. The Mutiny be...Read More