Delhi

A Bhisti (Water-carrier)

Water-carriers in the Subcontinent were named Bhishti, after the Persian ‘bihisht’ meaning paradise. For centuries before the invention of the bottle and refrigeration, these men were the sole providers of succour to anyone who ran out of water on the road. The Bhisti’s trademark bag or mashaq was made from animal hide and it could… Read more »

Untitled (Horizon Line, New Delhi)

This Untitled work is part of a series showcasing Horizon lines by artist Aditi Singh (b. 1976), made using Ink on Kozo Paper in 2016. The work is the artist’s interpretation of the horizon line of Delhi and is a product of ‘meditative walking’ by the artist. For Singh, walking in different places worldwide brought… Read more »

reimagine II

Inside the studios and minds of seven contemporary artists who have interpreted and re-imagined objects from our collection to tell us stories in their unique styles

Whose land is it anyway?

We examine the themes presented in Saju Kunhan’s work as they are represented in our collection of rare 19th-century portraits, war photography, engravings, contemporary art and Warli painting

Zarina Hashmi and the idea of home

Witness to the horrors of Partition as a child, Zarina dedicated her decades-long career to exploring the idea of home and belonging, and the lingering pain of displacement

Mapping Mirages: The art of Saju Kunhan

Walking the path of the historian, archivist and craftsman, Saju Kunhan creates room for cultures, centuries and civilisations to constantly collide and create new meanings

The Qutub Minar, Delhi

Pictured here is the 239-foot Qutub Minar, the highest brick minaret in the world. Construction on this iconic tower of victory was begun by Qutb-ud-Din Aibak (r.1206-1210), the first Sultan of Delhi and founder of the Slave Dynasty, and later continued by Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish (r.1211-1236). Accompanying the adjacent Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid, the minaret rises in five… Read more »

Narrative of the Indian Revolt

The Revolt of 1857 was a large-scale display of active resistance against the British East India Company. It was the first time British dominance on the Indian subcontinent was so evidently called into question. The book illustrates and describes the uprising, narrated by Colin Cambell, Commander-in-Chief in India (1846-1853), mostly based on official letters, dispatches… Read more »

Delhi Coronation Durbar, 1st January 1903 by Wiele and Klein

The Delhi Durbar of 1903 was conceived by Lord Curzon to celebrate the succession of Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark as Emperor and Empress of India. On 24 January 1901, two days after the death of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII was proclaimed the Emperor of India. King Edward, for many ruling heads of… Read more »

Plan of the Siege-Works, June to September 1857

As the title suggests, this map is a plan of the siege of 1857 and was printed after the British recapture of Delhi, on 22nd September, 1857. This map shows Shahjahanabad prominently and precisely points to various battalions and batteries by their placement and their respective commands. The position of the British camp and the… Read more »

The Seven Cities of Delhi

This map points out the locations and broad layouts of several ancient cities of Delhi, while emphasising that they were isolated and did not overlap. Tughlukabad, Old Delhi, Jahanpanah, Hauz Khas, Purana Kila and Shahjahanabad stand out. There is cause to believe that this map was published later, even though it  is dated 11th September,… Read more »

Clock Tower and Town Hall, Chandni Chowk, Delhi

The Town Hall building was built around 1863 and, until the end of the British Raj, it also served as museum, durbar room and library for the European residents. This classic Edwardian structure continued to serve as the seat of Delhi’s Municipal Corporation until 2009, after which it was relocated to a new civic centre.… Read more »

Sunehri Masjid, Delhi

The Sunheri Masjid in Chandni Chowk was built in 1721 by Mughal nobleman Roshan-ud-Daula Zafar Khan. In 1739, Persian king Nader Shah invaded Delhi leaving the city in ruins. It is said that he arrived at Sunheri Masjid on the morning of 22 March 1739, stood on its roof, drew his sword and holding it… Read more »

Entrance to the large mosque of Jumma Masjid, Delhi

The Jama Masjid, Delhi was built between 1650 and 1658 by Shah Jahan in Shahjahanabad. The Sanctuary’s main facade consists of five arches on either side of a massive central lawn. It is built in red sandstone with decorations in white and black marble. The minarets have white marble stripes inlaid while the domes feature… Read more »

Interior view of sixty four pillars, Delhi (Chaustht Khamba, Delhi)

Mirza Aziz Koka aka Kotaltash was Emperor Akbar’s foster-brother—or more accurately, his milk brother, so-called because he was the son of the Emperor’s wet nurse, Jiji Anga. Kotaltash’s father was Ataga Khan, Akbar’s prime minister, upon whose death a grand mausoleum was constructed in near the dargah of the Sufi, Nizamuddin. Built in the early… Read more »

The North Gate—Old, Delhi

Thomas and William Daniell were a British artistic duo of uncle and nephew who visited India in 1786 and made some iconic watercolour paintings and aquatint engravings of the monuments and landscapes here. To many Britons of the Victorian era, the Daniells’ picturesque art of the Subcontinent were the defining views of the ‘exotic East’—which… Read more »

Baoli and remains of Jehangir’s palace, Delhi

Following in the footsteps of the Daniells was Thomas Bacon, who painted romantic scenes from ‘Hindostan’ for the paying public back home in Victorian England. It was not uncommon for artists to have help from army officers in recreating landscapes they had never visited—perhaps this artwork too was the result of such a collaboration because… Read more »

Nizamuddin Dargah, Delhi

This is the image of a shrine built over the tomb of revered Sufi saint, Nizamuddin Auliya, who died in 1325. The tomb, which remains an important destination for pilgrims to this day, has undergone restoration several times. The current structure is based on the building that was built during Akbar’s reign in 1562 but… Read more »