Bright by night, monuments in Delhi draw heritage walkers
Imagine walking around Humayun’s Tomb on a full moon night with your parter. Or just catching up with friends at the Qutub Minar. Better still, hanging out one evening with family at Purana Quila after a tiring day’s work. Well, if you’re planning a late evening adventure in the Capital, encouraged by illumination of the city’s monuments, you aren’t alone. And while there, you can learn about these wonder-inducing monuments better if you opt to be part of the many walking tours at these places to acquaint visitors with their history.
“It’s a great opportunity,” says Ramit Mitra from DelhiByFoot Adventures. Sachin Bansal, chief explorer, India City Walks, adds, “We have a special experience called Delhi by Night. Since the monuments have been illuminated, there has been an increase in the number of people wanting to take up these walks than when access to the places was limited to the day. The night journeys at Safdarjung’s Tomb and the Qutub complex are also interesting for transit travellers, such as those stuck at the airport.”
And if the weather gods help, the crowds are only likely to increase. Mitra shares, “About five to six years back, we conducted evening walks at the Qutub Minar after it was lit, which were well received. Since news of more monuments being illuminated has come in, we are only waiting for the weather to improve to plan more evening and night walks in these places. Most probably, the Diwali weekend will be the first when we initiate night walks at the monuments where visitor hours have been extended in the evening.”
For a first-timer, the idea of visiting a historical monument after sunset might be daunting. But heritage walk conductors say that the safety of participants is never compromised with. Mitra adds, “We are not going to do anything that damages the reputation we’ve built. When we did the first walk in Old Delhi, we assured people of the same and they later came to say they enjoyed it! Also, when we go in a group of 15-20 to such monuments, which are gated and have ASI guards, it is quite safe.”
Mitra informs that their group is also planning night photography and Instagram walks at these historical monuments as “night photography is a different game altogether”.
And Delhiites are excited by the new opportunities to explore the Capital better. Take for instance, Sayantani Santra, a Delhi-based visual merchandiser, who earlier attended night walks at Old Delhi and Sanjay Van. “Since the monuments have been lit, they look nice and different. When I did a haunted walk at Sanjay Van, it was eerie; if you believe in spirits you won’t want to get affected by them. But going for a night walk widens your horizon to things you wouldn’t know existed. My favourite will always be Old Fort. Every stone there has so many stories to tell... I’m looking forward to visit it as part of a night walk.”