Old Delhi is on every tourist’s list with Chandni Chowk and Jama Masjid topping that list. There are however a few areas in old Delhi, which for some un-explained reason have not been so popular.
So last Sunday with a few friends, I decided to undo that and started our Chandni Chowk sojourn from Turkman Gate, on Asaf Ali Road and walked all though Chawri Bazaar.
Turkman Gate, is among the few surviving gates of Shahjahanabadi Dilli or the walled city of Delhi. It is named after the Sufi Saint Hazrat Shah Turkman Bayabani. His tomb is located on the east side of the gate and has been in existence since 1240, much before the city of Shahjahanabad was built.
Our first stop on this walk, was the Holy Trinity Church which is right next to gate in a lane. It is small church built-in 1904 in Byzantine style, by Mary R Maitland in memory of her husband, Alexander Charles Maitland. Although in earlier days it was surrounded by a compound, it is now been encroached upon by the residents of that area. Yet once you go inside it is very peaceful and it is difficult to believe that a few meters away is the maddening traffic of Delhi.
Our next stop was Kalan Masid, which lies in Mahalla Bulbuli Khana. It is small but very beautiful mosque built on a raised platform in 1387 by Wazeere Azam Khan, a disciple of Sufi Saint Hazrat Shah Turkman Bayabani during Feroz Shah’s reign. Most locals however recognise this as Kali Masjid as during one of its restoration it was painted with coconut oil, which initially looked beautiful but later turned black.
Next we visited the tomb of Razia Sultan. Some people claim that her tomb is actually in Kaithal, while others believe it to be in Tonk. There is however no doubt that Razia Sultan, daughter of Iltutmush was a very brave and only woman ruler of Delhi. Not paying much importance to customs of that time she shone as a bright example of a ruler. Although at the time of her succession she faced many hurdles including her own brother Feroz Shah, she ultimately emerged victorious. There are two graves on site, with the smaller grave being of her younger sister, Shazia.
The last stop on our journey was the Chaurasi Ghante Wala Mandir in Bazaar Sitaram. No one actually knows how old the temple is, but it is probably 200-300 years old. It is believe that Seth Sitaram, who owned this market donated a huge sum of money to build this Hanuman and Shiv temple. The Chaurais Ghante (84) installed there represent the 84 lacs (8.4 million) cycles of birth one has to undergo to achieve a human form.
We winded our trip by having a late brunch at Shyam Sweets at Barshabullah Chowk near Jama Masjid. The sweet Nagori Halwa and Bedmi Puris set the tone for the rest of the day.