Monday, October 26, 2009

Old Delhi beckons...

Pics:  from bottom, Non Vegetarian delicacies Kadhai Gosht, Beef Stew, Beef Korma, Beef Biryani, Tandoori Rotis ( oven bread of India). The markets of Old Delhi, the minaret ( tower) of the Jama Masjid from different angles,  stairs leading to the entrance of the mosque, Gumbaz of the mosque, the Red Fort from top overlooking the street and last but not the least.. fried Koftas ( kind of Indian Meatballs) !  

Hello Netgenners,

How is life?

How has been the weekends for you all?

Well, i chose Old Delhi to rejuvenate myself. This Sunday our dream of travelling footloose at the famous part of the capital was fulfilled.

We( myself and my junior, Amit Pariccha from Kandhamal ,Orissa at the institute)  started out at 10:45 am and headed for the Anand Vihar ISBT and took a bus for the nearest metro station, Dilshad Garden after confirming that the Bus route for the Mori Gate would take atleast an hour. 

Though i am in the city for a year but were not so acquainted with the route to old Delhi via metro, anyways travelling is fun!

Asking an uncle inside the metro abut the routes to be changed we chanced upon Rakesh, a shoe seller in the flea market outside the walls of the Jamma Masjid built by Mughal Emperor, Shahjahan.

Interestingly he doesn't travel by the Metro but didn't have a helmet to ride his bike hence the alternate means to commute !

He told us to get down at Kashmiri Gate ISBT and we, the trio boarded a bus till the Red Fort stoppage opposite the Jamma Masjid.

Reaching there we made a survey of the market just outside the entrance of the mosque, it was full of cheap electrical appliances like irons, kettles, some glassware, toys, unstiched cloths, Dry fruits at a wholesale range. The air was full with fragrance of the cheap attars ( traditional Indian perfumes).

While on the left hand side of the mosque is the famous " Meena Bazaar " selling the Boxes to hold the Holy Quran, " Burqas " ( veiled, long flowing loose garment worn by Muslim women) for the womenfolk. 

What's more there were alluminium wares with intricate designs of craftsmanship on the lid say for instance of the bowls. The Traditional " Huqqa" too showed up ( a smoking device of oriental origin popularised by the Mughal rulers and later still, the nawabs and the zamindars of petty kingdoms which has a base at the bottom containing lighted tobacco and a rope like pipe at the neck for smoking.) 

There one can also go for some scarves with embellishments and gliiter according to the taste of the buyer.

The market complex and even the stairs of the mosque cater to the culinary needs of the crowd flocking the area. There one will easily be tempted by the " Biryanis " added the extra zing of Kesar/Zafraan ( fragrant additive claimed to be herbal in nature and orange in colour, is of high price, usually found in abundance in the valley of Kashmir).

The mouth watering " Phirnis "( a Mughal Sweet dish made of milk garnished with dry fruits as raisins) are found neatly tucked in earthen clay pots of cute sizes with silver foils wrapped at its mouth serving as the lid.

Adding to our amusement, one can hear the tracks of some songs running on Bollywood( The Indian movie industry) numbers that have lyrics of Urdu !

Besides these one can see part time booksellers with their fare of religious literature on Islam besides the holy Quran at the steps of the mosque as well as the Meena Bazaar.

There we admired the Muslim Skull Caps and tasvies ( rosaries ) for their variety at one of the shops.

The market has an uncanny resemblance with the Arab markets and the Central Asian ones as seen in travel photos and documentaries, the essence of Medieval age oozes out of the styling of the bazaar.

My chacha had told me that during the Mughal period there were the silk and cotton shops selling traditional finery. 

The gate was already full with tourists as well as fellow Indians from different states. The tourists are made to wear long flowing robe like garment as to complement the rules of the mosque of people flocking not wearing half-sleeved, body-hugging or scant clothes.

The dresses are polka dotted with shades of pink and blue, while the menfolk are made to wear Lungies ( South Asian free-flowing unstitched lower garment ) .

Inside the compound of the mosque which one gets access to by climbing the stairs, the visual treat that greets a visitor besides the finesse of the architecture are the simple moments of togetherness the families and couples enjoy inside, truly a structure that has a magnetic pull towards individuals of different faiths and communities.

People are seen documenting the moments either in their handy cams or still cameras.

The outside of the main mosque building is sprawling and huge and has a reservoir like structure to hold the waters of the Wazu ( abulition by water with prayers said at heart ) tradition performed by Muslims before the Salaat /Namaaz. 

Once Inside the praying hall of the Mosque one cannot help but wonder at the beautiful architecture speaking volumes of Mughal Craftsmanship and decor.

The Quranic verses are amply calligraphed in variety of formats at the surfaces just below the ceiling inside. the rounded pillars of the mosque add solidarity to this place of worship which has kind of become a symbol of sorts for this place where history emanates from all corners.

My Friend Amit was curious about the way Muslims offer Namaaz and was inquiring me about the prayers read by the performer of the namaaz at each hour ( Muslims have to pray 5 times a day) The roof like structures holding more such columns and pillars of different shapes and sizes at the two sides of the mosque makes one wonder about the past kingly age.

After feasting our eyes on the structure, we went to take lunch at the traditional non-veg restraunts or taverns.

We orderd a bit of everything ranging from Kadhai Gosht, Stew, Korma ( Mughal delicacy i.e meat in sticky gravy style usually served with bread as Paranthas and tandoori rotis).

Visiting here, who can leave without the Biryani( Flavored rice with mutton beef or Chicken pieces)  which we devoured with not a single rice left on the plates!

Personally, we rate Hyderabadi Biryani as the tastiest with Karim's ( the outlet at Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya's as well as Matiya Mahal gate of the Bazaars of old Delhi has become a brand name for this dish which has travelled from Iran to the central Asia to the Afghanistan nearer home finally landing up in our country with the Mughals) becoming a brand name in the capital city.

We washed down these lip-smacking variety with a bottle of Thumps-Up soft drink.

Having tipped the bearer as well as the child attending our table who speaks in the Mumbaish fashion and an air of maturity, we  proceeded towards what was the back of the mosque and came right at the Flea-market selling shoes and other second hand clothes.

Jostling through the crowd, we made our next destination to be the Sarojini Nagar market at South Delhi selling economical and bargain able stuff ranging from a wide variety of girls and women's items to boys and gent's tees as well shirts, shoes for both the sexes.

There are some Brand outlets too like Reebok and other such sports range. The Converse All-Star shoes  found in the different shops are actually quite attractive to look at with metro sexual colours as parrot green and orange also in the variety.

These are the contemporary accessories which youngsters just love to flaunt !

The market is circular in nature with concrete arch shaped gates at the end of one row of the shops.

As it was expected after the kilometers and miles we covered, we grew tired and sat under one of the trees at the corner of one of the boundary walls of the market.

Staying there for an hour, we proceeded towards the Safdarjung terminus which was at a distance of 1 km and boarded a direct bus to Anand Vihar ISBT and reached our destination at 8:15 pm.

Though we were tired yet the memories of carefree travelling in the streets of old Delhi brought a nostalgic smile in our faces !

Yeh Dilli Hain mere Yaar,

Bas Ishq, Mohabbat pyar...

Masti hain mastanon ki dilli..dilli..

Gali hain deewano ki Dilli-6  ( 6 is the pincode of Chandni Chowk included in this snazzy and hip number by A.R. Rahman from Delhi-6)

Keep Humming Folks..

History, recreation, culture, arts all under the same roof.

Its the heart of India

This is Delhi ! 

Rise to each day with the desire to discover something new

so long folks

keep commenting

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