Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Delhi's Afghan affair

It does me good to take time off to explore the city I have come to love deeply. Delhi has in itself several key ingredients that I relate to - a glorious history, terrible macabre tales, a fetish for the undead. Delhi is as firecely female as one can imagine. Despite being vandalised, for beauty, for power, for position, she still stands mighty and evermore enchanting and mysterious. I chose a Sunday to explore the story of how Afghan's came to Delhi and made, for a short while, quite the mistress of her. The tale did not go very well as the leader of the walk was a terrible bore. History is not meant to be read out of pages and enacted on cues, it is meant to be shared with the very passion with which it was lived, no? There were some quite interesting bits and the ruins spoke volumes by themselves. I revisited the Purana Qila (Old Fort) later by myself and found it a better experience. Let's start with the entrance. Of the four entrances to the fort, only two remain functional today. This is the one adjacent to the Zoo.

The gate has the same structure and texture as that of most Mughal forts in India. A lot of the detailing being borrowed from the Rajput school of architecture, that is pointed edges attached throughout the facade of the gate to keep invaders out. The pointed edges have been lost to time but the facade reamins.

The first look at the imposing Qila-e-Kuhna masjid holds promise at the windows.

The mosque's front, facing the East, is an elaborate one. I couldn't capture the entire structure in one frame on either visit but the centre seemed appropriate to share.

The interiors are very beautifully carvd. Drawing inspiration from Buddhist (as my walk instructor had pointed out) as well as other major Indian symbols, the chamber is an awe-inspiring one.

The Buddhist architectural influence to highlight the chants have been cleverly incorporated to heighten the prayer calls at the mosque, four times a day.

Equally impressive is the shrine, in the direction of the Mecca (West), that forms the centre of the mosque.

The trainagular corners caught my eye with the lotus featured prominently at their centre, a very Indian motif.

A single mynah, hardly representing any sorrow at the point, perched itself on one of the windows of the structure.

Once I had my fill of the mosque, I headed to the Sher Mandal. A single shrine standing at the heart of a manicured lawn, makes for a great picture.

I caught a glimpse of time gone by and what the future holds in this single frame.