Beyond the picture postcards

Beyond the picture postcards

first_imgBattling the scorching summers of Delhi, pigeons take refuge where once cannons struck Kashmiri Gate. 11 May 1857: the saga of Mangal Pandey, the followed up Sepoy Mutiny, the first war of Indian independence, and the post war catastrophic fall of the Mughal era; the date stands for a tumultuous epoch in the history of Indian independence. The carousel of life oscillates between time, bringing back the memories of 1857 and its imprints on Delhi post 156 years. It was in the sweltering heat of May that the sepoys blitzkrieg-‘ed’ into  the walled city of Shahjahanabad to strengthen Mughal power under Bahadurshah Zafar and overthrow Britishers. Roused by the incident of animal fat on cartridges, they marched to topple British power in Delhi. The remnants of Shahjahanabad’s walls, the confines of Kashmiri gate, the shrouded telegraph memorial, and the garden of Qudsia beckon you into history.Saddle up your horses to gallop into the lanes of Kashmiri gate and witness some of its vignettes this May. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’ Kashmiri Gate Swerving through the lanes of Old Delhi, his school bus travelled from Ludlaw castle, passing by Qudsia Bagh, through the then open gates of Kashmiri gate back in 1954, revels the 63 year old Chartered Accountant, Suresh Malik. The gate is now confined, literally, to the four walls under the Archaeological survey of India.Leading to the road to Kashmir, walled city’s northern gate was built by Shahjahan in 1638 AD. Withering through the onslaught of 1857, it came under the downpour of cannon balls; marks still visible in the holed up façade taken over by the pigeons to rest in peace now. A plaque inside the monument entails the story of 1857; how the mutineers assembled and strategized here, and how on the morning of 14 September, 1857 the left bridge and the right leaf of the gate were bombarded by British forces, gradually marking the end of the siege in Delhi. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixSt. James ChurchOne of the oldest churches of Delhi lies a stone’s throw away from Kashmiri gate. The copper ball and the cross atop its dome bore the scathing attack from sepoys in 1857. The marks may not be visible as the replicas took over but the magnificence of British era emanates through its grandeur. Telegraph Memorial and the magazineShrouded by trees stands Telegraph Memorial: the site from where the revolt was signaled off to Ambala before the officers on duty evacuated their cabin in fear. The magazine next to it was blasted by the Britishers  in fear of loss of weaponry to the mutineers. Interestingly one plaque  calls the mutineers as rebels and the other below bestows an honor of ‘patriots’ to the sepoys  Nicholson CemeteryLike Pere Lechaise in Paris, it doesnt have violonists but it  still conjures up lives of people in 19th century. Walk through its carved tombs, read through its epitaphs; the moss grown gravestones turn into expression of poetry in mourning;, offering a peaceful experience dedicated to the British Brigadier General John Nicholson who was mortally wounded in 1857.   Qudsia BaghA wisp of elegance en-wraps it. Once Yamuna ran through its sides, breezing in air through its corridors. Though the river changed its course, the garden still dots with men playing cards, laborers  catching up noon’s nap, and tired travelers. A mosque, a gateway and some domes carved in diamond cut style, is what remains of the sprawling palace of Qudsia, made by Mohammad Shah Rangeela in honor of his begum.  The palace bore the brunt of the British forces during the seige of 1857. Perhaps, one can take down bricks and mortar, but the signature of splendor stays on.last_img

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