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Meandering through history on a weekend

delhi Updated: Aug 10, 2009 00:43 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

It must have taken the Mughal kings more than two hours from the heart of the city to reach the 17th century Badal Ki Sarai, the first halt when they headed north. But circa 2009 on a Saturday, 20 heritage lovers reached the spot in less than half an hour from the Patel Chowk Metro station.

A two-minutes walk away from the Adarsh Nagar metro station, this was the first monument on the route of the ‘1857 Mutiny Walk’ for places accessible by Delhi Metro. Conceived and conducted by conservationist Surekha Narain, the walk winds, literally, through Delhi’s heritage.

“It was at Badal ki Sarai on June 8, 1857 that British troops defeated the rebel sepoys, which proved to be the turning point for the rulers after the Mutiny," said Narain.

Near the Vishwavidyalaya metro station is the Flagstaff Tower, situated on the highest point on the Northern Ridge and built in 1828.

The joy of the walkers at finding themselves immersed in history was palpable.

Clicking to her heart's content, 64 year-old Jamuna Rajan, accompanied by her husband M Rajan (70), said, "I will send these photos to my grandchildren residing in the US.”

“We must thank the ASI for keeping these monuments open for us. And I must say, they have maintained the place in good condition,” Narain said.

After covering the Chauburja Mosque—which once had four domes, out of which only one remains today—and the Pir Ghaib, a monument built in 1373 by Firoz Shah Tughlaq as a hunting lodge and an observatory, the group reached a 14th century baoli (stepwell) right next to the equally historic Hindu Rao Hospital. ASI is currently carrying out the conservation work for the baoli.

The rebuilt Hindu Rao Hospital was once the Maratha chawni (Maratha camp) which later became headquarters of a British regiment in 1857.

Last on the route was the Mutiny Memorial, erected in memory of British soldiers killed and missing during the 1857 battle. The Indian government put up a plaque in 1972 honouring those martyrs who rose against the British during the Mutiny.

The group then headed to the last stop—Pul Bangash metro station.