Every time I tell someone I went to the Purana Qila with a friend, sniggers come my way. 'Why? What were you doing there,
?' I am asked, as though a historical monument is the exclusive property of cheesy lovers looking for a quickie.
Sexual frustration is not the only reason to visit a historic site. Believe it or not, history has a lot to do with it.
Unfortunately though, couples have colonised the Qila to such an extent that they seem to have driven away all the tour guides. They probably forgot all their history lessons at the sight of one coochie-coo too many.
And so, for a first-time visitor, the Qila's story goes unexplained. The information slabs - in an attempt to keep it simple - are more befuddling than illuminating. Maybe they assume all visitors come with their Blackberrys (or to make out).
Moving on. The litter - cola bottles, chips packets, poly bags et al - lie in abundance in every corner (even secret ones) of the Qila. They could even make for great commercials. Opening scene: A thirsty tourist walks around the Qila. Beads of sweat drip from his forehead as he stares down from the wall. The camera follows the sweat till it lands on an abandoned cola bottle stuck in the shrubs. The tagline: 'Ganda Cola - available where you least expect it.'
The elderly guard at the entrance is frustrated, too. He says he warns everyone entering with food to use the dustbins provided. He says, "What can we do if people have no respect only?"
How about increasing the entry fee for starters? As of February 2010, the entry fee for Purana Qila is a measly Rs 5 (while the car park charges, Rs 35). Double it to Rs 10, maybe even Rs 15 if not more. For one, people tend to respect what's expensive. More importantly, all those couples can now contribute a meaningful amount of money towards the upkeep of their