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

Tickle your taste buds between Old and New Delhi

A grey area.. Isn’t it? A lot has been said about the foodies delights in Chandni Chowk. But how about the area before entering Old Delhi? Between ITO crossing and Jama Masjid? The journey starts right at the crossing with a little Udupi restarant just beyond the Doll museum. Try out the South Indian fare there and wash it down with filter kaapi. Delhi heat bearing you down already? Cool down with banta lemon drink at the junction of the Kotla Road with Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg. Walk down past Maulana Azad Medical College, into Daryaganj. Moti Mahal beckons. Not got deep pockets? Try out Nandlal ka Dhaba on Ansari Road. Vegetarian? Then Suvidha restaurant near Golcha Cinema is your halt. A short walk down Netaji Subhash Road brings you to Jama Masjid. Take a right just before the Masjid. The road is lined with numerous joints selling fried fish and fried…. everything else. Try those, though not for those with fragile stomachs. A longish walk brings you to Gali Kababiyan Wali, the home of the famous Karim’s. So folks, unleash the glutton in you this summer.