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Delhiwale: What’s up the stairs in Chawri Bazaar?

Public Interest: A quiet spot in a bustling Old Delhi bazaar, Masjid Rukn-ud-Daula sits atop shops selling metal rods. It welcomes you into its floral arms.

delhi Updated: Jul 10, 2017 15:15 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Masjid Rukn-ud-Daula sits atop shops selling metal rods, calling you into its floral arms. Read a book, stay awhile, and don’t forget to chat with the caretaker.
Masjid Rukn-ud-Daula sits atop shops selling metal rods, calling you into its floral arms. Read a book, stay awhile, and don’t forget to chat with the caretaker.(Mayak Austen Soofi/ HT photo)

A quiet spot in a bustling Old Delhi bazaar, Masjid Rukn-ud-Daula sits atop shops selling metal rods, calling you into its floral arms. Read a book, stay awhile, and don’t forget to chat with the caretaker

Everything beautiful in this secretive city seems to be hidden up a flight of steep, dark stairs. Just like this extraordinarily lovely Mughal-era mosque, stranded in the clutter of Old Delhi’s Chawri Bazaar, sitting atop shops selling metal rods.

The mosque’s elderly caretaker Mohammed Nooruddin. He makes his living as a rafu master, a repairer of torn clothes (Mayank Austen Soofi/ HT)

Masjid Rukn-ud-Daula’s outer walls consist of stone carvings of flowers and leaves. The dimly lit prayer hall lies immersed in quietness. The Mecca-facing wall is adorned with floral patterns. The pulpit is white marble. This is a perfect escape from the city — to surrender to a demanding novel.

Named after a Mughal-era noble from Hyderabad, the mosque belongs to 18th-century Delhi, though parts of it consist of modern-day structures. The brick wall on the terrace has a dreamy shade of blue.

The other end of the terrace faces a busy street, its broken stone railing adding a touch of melancholy. The view from here is engrossing: labourers ferrying goods in carts, richshaw-pullers taking children to school, foreigners in hats and shorts. They pass the mosque by, not knowing where to look.

When you’re here, don’t forget to meet the mosque’s elderly caretaker Mohammed Nooruddin. He makes his living as a rafu master, a repairer of torn clothes, and if in mood, can regale you tales of Old Delhi, unwritten but not forgotten.

Best time to go: Late morning

Nearest Metro station: Chawri Bazaar