Delhi Journals

Daryaganj: Exploring Mughal and Colonial Delhi

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A November 2008 trip to Delhi by phileasfogg

The facade of Zeenat-ul-Masajid Photo, Delhi, India More Photos
Quote: The heart of Delhi’s publishing industry, Daryaganj sits at the junction of old and new Delhi, and makes for a fascinating heritage route.

Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital

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Attraction | "An Eye for History?"

Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital Photo, New Delhi, India
Quote:
My husband, my brother-in-law and my niece (all of whom have very bad eyesight) swear by the Shroff Eye Hospital. They get their annual ophthalmic tests done at a Shroff Eye Clinic in New Delhi, but the real Shroff Eye Hospital, the big daddy, is in Old Delhi, in the heart of Daryaganj. And, wonder of wonders, it’s probably the best maintained and the most beautiful of the colonial buildings in the area.Back in the first year of World War I, an Indian eye surgeon called Dr Sorabji P Shroff (a graduate of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh) decided he wanted to do something to help the poor of Delhi: he wanted to establish an eye...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 1, 2008

Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital
5027, Kedarnath Road
Daryaganj, New Delhi 110002
011-43524444

Sunehri Masjid

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Attraction | "The Mosque of the Djinns"

Sunehri Masjid Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
I visited Sunehri Masjid in June, in the scorching heat of a Delhi noon. I’d forgotten it was Friday, the day when worshippers—all men—would be coming to offer namaz. Only when I reached the mosque was I stopped by an old woman sitting near the wall. She was a sweeper—her large broom stood beside her—and she had a seamed, leathery face and curious eyes. "You can’t go in today," she said. "The men are worshipping. No women allowed." I talked to her a while and she imparted an astonishing titbit of local lore: "This isn’t a good mosque," she said. "It’s the mosque of the djinns, you know. A bad woman—a prostitute—made it, and no good ever came of it."That old woman’s never going to read this review, ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 1, 2008

The Mortella Tower and the City Wall

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Attraction | "Checking Out Delhi's Remaining Defences"

At the mortella tower Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
In the late 18th century, the British were busy in the Napoleonic Wars halfway across the world from Delhi. Something, however, emerged from the battles with Napoleon’s armies, that had its effect even in Delhi: a piece of very effective military architecture, the mortella tower. In 1794, the British warships HMS Juno and Fortitude attacked Corsica’s Mortella Point (the name `mortella’ is derived from the myrtle, a common plant in the area). The Corsicans had fortified Mortella with a special type of tower that withstood much battering very successfully—and so impressed the British that plans were immediately drawn up to start using the design wherever they could. One of the places the m...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 1, 2008

India Gate

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Attraction | "Delhi Gate: Where Old and New Delhi meet"

India Gate Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
In 1648, the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, having completed his magnum opus—the superb Taj Mahal in Agra—decided he wanted a change of scene. (It’s also likely he wanted another site on which to demonstrate his undoubtedly excellent aesthetic sense). He therefore moved north, shifting his capital to Delhi and founding a new city called Shahjahanabad. With its nerve centre at the luxurious Red Fort, Shahjahanabad came to be called the `Rome of the East’, a splendid, sparkling city that attracted merchants, mercenaries and more from as far as Russia, Italy, Persia and Uzbekistan. The wealth of Shahjahanabad didn’t endure (by the time Shahjahan’s son and successor Aurangzeb died, the empire itself was on the...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 1, 2008

India Gate
Rajpath, New Delhi
Delhi, India

The Daryaganj Heritage Walk Route

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Story/Tip

A morning in Daryaganj Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Just about any publisher or book distributor worth their salt in Delhi (and even India, for that matter) has an office in Daryaganj. I haven’t been able to figure out the reason for this, but there it is. You can’t be in publishing and not have space in Daryaganj. Consequently, this neighbourhood is almost impossible to visit on a weekday: it’s very crowded and parking space isn’t at a premium: it’s non-existent. The only time when you can visit Daryaganj without the risk of succumbing to hypertension is on a Sunday, when it’s blessedly quiet and empty.And visiting Daryaganj can be an amazingly rewarding experience, since this area literally breathes history.Daryaganj means `the mart ...Read More