#DelhiAtDusk: The breathtaking transition from day to dark

Published on Aug 06, 2022 06:08 PM IST
At Delhi’s landmark spots, one can enter at twilight and keep exploring after sunset when the lights bring the buildings to life. Fans of the experience share their favourite moments from the transitory period.
At the Safdarjung’s Tomb, Humayun’s Tomb and Red Fort, one can enter early and keep exploring until sunset when the lights illuminate these historical buildings. (Photo: Raj K Raj/HT)
At the Safdarjung’s Tomb, Humayun’s Tomb and Red Fort, one can enter early and keep exploring until sunset when the lights illuminate these historical buildings. (Photo: Raj K Raj/HT)
By, New Delhi

To say that Delhi is beautiful at dusk would be an understatement. Think places like Sunder Nursery, Lodi Garden, and Qutub Minar, where one hopes for monsoon evenings to stay still forever. At the Safdarjung’s Tomb, Humayun’s Tomb and Red Fort, one can enter early and keep exploring until sunset when the lights illuminate these historical buildings. The transition from dark to bright is quite breathtaking!

Qutub Minar at night makes for a picturesque sight. (Photo: Dhruv Sethi/HT)
Qutub Minar at night makes for a picturesque sight. (Photo: Dhruv Sethi/HT)

Of intricate jalis

Historian Swapna Liddle, on her fascination with Delhi at dusk, says, “Qutub Minar would be my top favourite because of the effect the light has on the red stone. Also, I love Humayun’s Tomb because of the shadows cast by the intricate jalis, and the sounds of the birds in the big trees.”

A view of illuminated Red Fort (Lal Qila) at night. (Photo: Sonu Mehta/HT)
A view of illuminated Red Fort (Lal Qila) at night. (Photo: Sonu Mehta/HT)

When the minaret is lit

Historian Vikramjit Singh Rooprai, who has conducted heritage walks during evening hours, says, “I have always become greedy and reserved the best moments for myself. But sometimes, a few friends tag along. For both, public walk as well as my personal relaxation, my favourite sites are Azim Khan’s Tomb, the high mountain tomb at the intersection of MB Road and MG Road that’s overlooking Qutub Minar, and the one next to Ahimsa Sthal (with huge Tirthankar statue). You can climb up the hill and sit there for hours... At the Qutub Complex, enter the complex around 4pm. As the sun sets, keep walking around the structure and after 6pm, certain areas of the complex are cordoned off for the public. That’s when you will be confined to the tower and mosque area, with the minaret lit up with halogen, and is mesmerizing. I mostly do evening or night walks at Qutub. But in August, I might do a Red Fort walk that will start post lunch and end at 9.30pm.”

‘Dilli ki shaamein, ishq wali’

Waxing poetic, Asif Khan Dehlvi, a heritage walk conductor, says, “Humayun ka maqbara aur Safdurjung ka maqbara mein maine haal hi mein walk karwayi hai. Dilli apne har peher mein badi alag hoti hai. Apne afsaane musaafiro ko sunati hai, kuch aisi hai Dilli ki shaamein, ishq wali. Mehrauli Archeological Park, Jamali Kamali, Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah are my favourites.”

‘A safe space with family’

Abu Sufiyan, a heritage walk conductor speaking about how the city’s popular spots acquire a different avatar after dark, says, “The redevelopment of Sunder Nursery has changed our dimension of how people interact with the city monuments. In monuments ke lit up hone se chahe woh Sunder Nursery ho gayi ya other world heritage sites, they have become our space for events and also to spend quality time with family. People are busy on weekends as well, and with most having hectic schedules, by the time one gets free, it’s usually the end of the day.”

Romancing the Safdarjung Tomb

For Shah Umair, another Delhi-based walk conductor, exploring Delhi at dusk is a surreal experience. “During the day you look for the intricacy of history whereas at dusk these monuments turn up to be a dream of an aesthete. Some of these monuments open up till 9pm, especially the Qutub Complex that glows up to show the best of the Mamluk architecture, where the minar stands tall against the carved walls of Quwat Ul Islam Mosque. The calligraphy on the wall saturates with the beam of light falling on it. Similarly, Humayun’s Tomb that I always quote as ’The monument of love from her to him‘ as it was commissioned by Humayun’s wife for him glows as the synonymy to Mughal architecture in Delhi, and is very similar to it but less fancy counterpart of the mausoleum named Safdarjung Tomb at Jor Bagh lights up to be a very romantic at the dusk attracting a fair share of lovebirds admiring the last flicker of the Mughal Tombs,” he shares.

Delhi that brings out the photography in all

Dr Ambrish Mithal, a photography enthusiast, says, “The setting sun creates magic in the Delhi sky during monsoons. A unique feature of Delhi are historical monuments set in the midst of beautiful parks. My favourite spots during these times are the Lodi Garden and Sunder Nursery, besides my office in Saket that offers an amazing view of the Qutub Minar.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Naina Arora writes on City, Art and Culture of Gurugram, for the daily Entertainment & Lifestyle supplement, HT City

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