I deboarded at the Chandni Chowk metro station and immediately found myself jostling for space to take the next step ahead. (Yes, it is that crowded! 😥)
I have always been drawn to the old world charm of Delhi-6, otherwise famously known as the walled city of Shahjahanabad. Most people abhor its narrow lanes, its tight alleyways, its simmering crowd. Delhi’s weather doesn’t offer any defense either!
Despite of all this, I had made the plan. (Or had somehow managed to drag my friend along, to this colorful spectacle of a city!😍 Yes, he ought to thank me for it!🙄)
Anyway, this place is beautiful. Old and crumbling, yet beautiful! The paint from many buildings has faded away, but their walls speak volumes about the times they have sustained. The doorways, the pillars, the arches, the gombads, all seem to be echoing stories from a timeperiod in history that celebrated power and glory. Even having been ignored for years, the essence of an era gone by, lies carefully captured in this place, that somehow looks frozen in time.
To my surprise, just a few steps ahead, I came across an old man sitting in a corner with a basket full of vintage coins.
My eyes gleamed, as if I had unearthed some kind of otherworldly treasure.
I wondered what value these coins might have denoted during those days, and what value they held, to that man, who had been preserving them, like the last vestiges of a rich legacy.
Walking ahead, I found the bustling lanes dotted with numerous roadside vendors selling “shahi” delicacies ( as they call them!) that cannot be relished anywhere else in Delhi. The recipe is a part of the lineage handed down from generations to generations. Eyeing one such stall, I came to discover Daulat ki Chaat!
Basically, if you are in Old Delhi, and you do not gorge on this super sweet and melt-in-the-mouth, light and frothy Daulat ki Chaat, something isn’t right with you!
This profusely celebrated signature dish, right off the colorful streets, lived right to its reputation when I dug a good amount out with my spoon and dived right in! I found out, milk is whisked till it forms a light froth which is then adorned with saffron, dry fruits and delectable iced sugar. Mmmmm.
Basking in the sweet feeling of satisfaction, I headed towards Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib.
Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth guru of the Sikhs was beheaded here on the orders of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for having refused to convert to Islam. Turns out, even history has endured enough fights, as we see today, in the name of religion.
I felt stunned to see the exact well where the Guru took his bath before his martyrdom.
Though this Gurudwara has its origins rooted in intolerance, what strikes me is the fact that there is a temple, a mosque and a gurudwara crunched up all together in this small crowded area, within inches of each other, crooning a different tale altogether. A blissful one, at that.
This is the first installation in the 3-part series of my escapades in the historical city of Shahjahanabad. Read the second part here.