Feroz Shah Kotla Fort and the Qutub Minar complex are two landmarks in Delhi that deserve long, leisurely exploration. The perfect occasion for doing that is World Heritage Day, on April 18.
These two huge heritage complexes, with their magnificent ruins, are being covered by Sahapedia, a non-profit organisation that has lined up a week-long celebration with heritage walks, nature walks, and calligraphy workshops. “We always talk about India’s great civilisation, but the youth are not connected to it,” says Vaibhav Chauhan, secretary, Sahapedia. “People love the idea of heritage walks, as [the walks] let one absorb the architectural value of a place.”
- On April 18, the International Council of Monuments and Sites celebrates the International Day for Monuments and Sites, aka World Heritage Day, whose establishment was approved by the 22nd UNESCO General Conference in 1983. The day sees heritage-related activities, such as visits to monuments, across the world.
For those interested in the socio-political history of the Delhi Sultanate period (13th to mid-16th century), the Qutub Minar walk is a must. Along with discussions on architectural styles, expect to hear anecdotes on why it was built. Aamir Ahmed, who will conduct the walk, says, “There are multiple opinions on why Qutub Minar was built. While some believed it to be a watchtower, others thought it was for the call for prayer at Quwwat-ul Islam Mosque. Some even believe that it was built to show the power of slave emperors as a victory tower. We will discuss the architectural styles from Aibak to Tughlaq, which is evident in the minar.”
If you were a fan of author William Dalrymple’s book, City of Djinns, then you’re in for a visual treat. Moby Sarah Zachariah, who will conduct the City of Djinns: Exploring Feroz Shah Kotla walk, will take you through the fort’s life and the history behind it. “In the two-hour walk, we’ll go over the fort’s architecture, the builder, and the architecture of the Tughlaq dynasty. Author William Dalrymple called the fort the City of Djinns. It has many legendary stories, e.g. people believed that the Ashokan-era pillar was the staff of Bhim from Mahabharata. As the story goes, he is the main Djinn of the fort, his name being Laatbaba,” she says.
- Feroz Shah Kotla Walk, April 18, 8am-10am
- Qutub Minar Complex, April 22, 8am -10am
- Calligraphy workshop, April 22, 1pm
- Nature Walk: Aravallis Sacred Grove, April 23, 7am onwardsDetails on: www.sahapedia.org