The roots of Old Delhi

There are two kinds of people in Delhi – those who know it and those who don’t. If you are one of the latter, then it’s never too late to begin!

In any discussion on the history of Delhi, one of the key things to know is that although Delhi had been a thriving city for centuries, as per recorded history, it is the City of seven Cities. New Delhi is the eighth city of Delhi. Six of these seven cities were established by a Mughal emperor with the first being established by the Tomar Rajputs and subsequently the Chauhan’s of Prithviraj Chauhan fame.

These seven cities are

  • Lal Kot or Qila Rai Pithora – famous in the current generation for, well, pretty much nothing! This is the area around the Saket, Vasant Kunj & Mehrauli & the Qutab Complex
  • Mehrauli – popularly the area around the Qutab Minar, Mehrauli Archaelogical Complex and the Mehrauli village
  • Siri – You of course know about Siri Fort!
  • Tughlakabad – that far off area in Delhi known for its industry
  • Firozabad or Feroze Shah Kotla – popular for the only cricket stadium that Delhi houses
  • Shergarh – Purana Qila area, and
  • Shahjahanabad – Old Delhi popular for Karim’s, Jama Masjid and much more

Each of these seven cities was built around a fort.

Shahjanabad, the 7th city, was built by Shah Jahan and is today known as Old Delhi. Prior to the construction of New Delhi, Mehrauli was often referred to as Old Delhi, after which Shahjahanabad was termed as Old Delhi. Most of it is still confined within the walls built by Shah Jahan and its gates some of which still stand today, namely, the Kashmere Gate, the Delhi Gate, the Turkman Gate and the Ajmeri Gate.

GointheCity organizes a history and food walk in Old Delhi which unlike run of the mill tours, covers some hidden gems of the area in addition to the popular sights.

Ghalib ki Haveli (Ghalib’s Mansion) is one such gem located in Old Delhi and is declared as a heritage site by the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India). It is located in Gali Qasim Jan, Ballimaran and was the residence of the legendary poet of the waning period of the Mughal era, Mirza Ghalib. Ghalib lived at this Haveli for a long period of his life after he came to Delhi from Agra and wrote many of his poetic compositions here. The Delhi government acquired a portion of the Haveli in 1999 and has been restored significantly giving a glimpse into the Mughal life during its heydays. It is presently a memorial museum housing many objects related to Ghalib and the era.

To be continued…

Visit for details of the indicated walk

Unraveling Mughal History at the Red Fort

View from the Entrance

Original Post

The history of the city of Delhi is more than 3,000 years old. It is a city of 7 cities. But this tour is about the 8th city, or as Shahjahan himself used to call it – the city within a city – the Red Fort. This heritage walk will take you to the most majestic monument of Delhi and we will try to unravel the unknown historical stories behind the beauty that is the Red Fort.

This fort has seen the Mughal dynasty rise to power and burn down to ashes. It is a grand complex of numerous buildings and each of them has a story to tell.

We gather at the main entrance of the fort at 9 am. The walk begins from the Lahori Gate. The first view after entrance is the little royal bazaar called Chhatta Chowk. It has around 15-20 little shops selling souvenirs, toys, bags, jewellery etc.

Lahori Gate
The Lahori Gate

After passing through the bazaar, we will walk to Naubat Khana (‘Drum-house’) and the Indian War Memorial Museum located on its first floor. We will further walk to the Diwan-i-Aam (Hall of Public Audience) and Diwan-i-Khaas. Going ahead we will find Rang-Mahal, Nahr-i-Bihisht (‘Stream of Paradise’) and Mumtaz-Mahal, which now houses the Delhi Fort Museum.

Naubat Khana
Naubat Khana
Mumtaz Mahal
Mumtaz Mahal

Beyond Diwan-i-Khaas we will explore the area which used to be the royal residential complex consisting of Tasbih-Khana (‘chamber for counting beads for private prayers’), the Khwabgah (‘sleeping-chamber’), Hammam (‘Bath’) and Hayat-Bakhsh-Bagh (‘Life-giving garden’), Shahi Burj (emperor’s study area), Saawan and Bhadon pavilions Zafar Mahal and Moti Masjid which was constructed on the orders of Aurangzeb as his private mosque in 1659.

Lattice Works
Peeking through the Marble Lattice Works


Moti Masjid
Moti Masjid

At the north of Hayat-Bakhsh-Bagh and Shahi Burj, we take a look at the Princes’ quarter which was destroyed by the Britishers and a part of it was converted into tea house for the British soldiers.

We will also talk about the British barracks that can be spotted throughout the walk in the complex and why their Victorian architecture is in sharp contrast to the Indo-Mughal architecture of the original red fort complex.

The walk ends at the main exit of the fort.

Zafar Mahal and British Barracks
Zafar Mahal with British Barracks in the Background

Join us in our upcoming heritage walk to the Red Fort to walk back in time. For more information about the schedule and bookings, click here.

Know more about the Red Fort here.

A Traditional, Exotic Tibetan experience

Majnu-ka-tilla or MT as everyone likes to call it, was established around 1960 and is officially called New Aruna Nagar Colony. It is located in North Delhi right on the banks of river Yamuna near Kashmere Gate.

Majnu ka Tilla literally means the hillock of Majnu. The legend behind the name is that it is on this tilla (hillock) a local sufi mystic, Majnu (Abdulla), met Guru Nanak and ferried people across the Yamuna as a service to god and this led to the Guru to stay here for a while.

The walk begins at the Gurudwara Majnu ka Tilla which was built to commemorate the Sikh Guru’s stay by a Sikh leader. A brief round of introductions and a quick lesson in history later, we start walking towards the Tibetan refugee colony which is just about 200 meters down the road.

Tibetan Refugee Colony – Entrance

As we enter the colony, we encounter numerous shops selling everything from traditional Tibetan ornaments to garments and souvenirs. We head up the narrow lanes towards the Abu club – a highly traditional club on one end of the residential part of the colony with an unparalled view of the river bank. You will not be able to find this secret hideout as people even refuse to acknowledge its existence and that is yet another reason to walk with us!

The Abu club is a small establishment, run by a really sweet Tibetan lady, for the locals to come together to socialize. Here is where we introduced Buff to you. Buff is short for Buffalo. All traditional dishes are available in Chicken, Pork, Mutton and Buff in addition to the vegetarian variants. Sample the Momo’s at the club – they only serve the Buff variant, along with some Beer and Noodles. Play a traditional betting game with the locals here or soak in the river Yamuna from the terrace of restaurant area of the club – either ways, the experience will leave you in peace.

From here we move towards the market area which is marked with the cutest little monastery you will ever see.


The Monastery in the Colony
The Monastery in the Colony

The Monastery is closed in the evening – to visit, come here during the day.

From here we come across numerous shops where one can get a deal on some of the most unique ornaments, clothes and memorabilia. Do spend some time shopping around before heading to the restaurants.

The restaurants are all close together and all are good for something or the other. Must haves are the Khow-suey (coconut milk based noodles), Pork Ribs, Shabaley and Gyuma (Sausages). Finish off the trip with a visit to the Ama cafe – one of the coziest cafes in Delhi. Try something Tibetan like the cheesecake (Warning! This might be too strong for some), Bhod Ja – Tibetan Butter Salt Tea (Warning again!) or indulge in a conventional dessert.

Tibetan Thali
Tibetan Thali
Tibetan Tea
Tibetan Tea

Join us in one of our upcoming Tibetan Food Walks to experience the food of Tibet!

Local Experience? Whats that?

A very common question and one that we will not get tired of answering. Let us start by giving you an idea of what we are all about.

GoInTheCity is a startup, founded by IIM-Ahmedabad alumni, enabling travelers and tourists to find and book awesome local experiences, walking tours and in-destination activities, online. We are on a mission to connect travelers to locals while providing a superior experience focused on our customers and local hosts.  Continue reading “Local Experience? Whats that?”

The Beginning

Long weekend! Wow, let’s fly down somewhere!
Phew, we are too late to book and airfare for the family will cost me a bomb.

Plan B – let’s drive down to some place. But the hours of travel won’t be as many as the traffic and the endless wait to get into popular destinations!

Plan C – let’s get to the lesser known destinations. But!! How do you find accommodation? Hmm, there goes our long weekend plan.

And then the idea of exploring our own city comes up.

Having been born and brought up in a city doesn’t necessarily guarantee we know it well enough. So that’s where we make our humble start.

Watch out this space for more!