Delhi

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 »

Alai Darwaza, Qutb Complex, Delhi

Alai Darwaza is the main entrance (and the only surviving one) to the Quwwat-ul Islam mosque inside the Qutb Minar complex. It was built by the Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji in 1311 CE. The Darwaza was constructed using red sandstone and white marble, inlaid with black marble and blueschist—all richly carved in low relief. This… Read more »

The Palace interior of the Dewan-i-Khas, Delhi

The Diwan-e-Khas is inside the Red Fort, which was built between 1639 and 1648 CE by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan at his newly minted capital, Shahjahanabad. With its white marble pavilions inlaid with precious gemstones, Diwan-e-Khas was reserved for meetings between the Emperor and courtiers, government officials and foreign dignitaries. The famous Peacock Throne… Read more »

Razia Sultan, Silver Tanka

This coin was minted during the early days of the reign of an exceptional leader who steered the Delhi Sultanate from 1236 to 1240. Razia Sultan (she was not a fan of ‘Sultana’) was the daughter of Iltutmish of the Mamluk dynasty, and the first woman monarch of this land—and among very few of her… Read more »

Clay Architecture & Interiors

A Delhi-themed walkthrough tailored specifically for a team of architects and designers preparing for a big project in the city

The Delhi You’ve Never Seen

See the city as it once appeared from the vantage point of these vanished, obscured or simply forgotten sights—resurrected from the Sarmaya archives.

Delhi II

Zarina Hashmi, who goes only by her first name, is a master of the art of printmaking. Born in 1937 in Aligarh, she studied mathematics and statistics before finding her artistic calling on the road. While accompanying her husband on various diplomatic missions around the world, Zarina studied the art of printmaking and woodblock printing… Read more »

By The Book

The five most compelling portraits of Delhi as drawn by some of its best known writers, artists and historians

Delhi Diaries

Over centuries, Delhi has come to mean different things to different people. It has drawn saints and scholars, conquerors and traders, refugees and royals to its fertile lands with the promise of shelter, warmth and a place to dream. These dreams were not modest, either. The saints sought spiritual absolution and the conquerors, world domination.… Read more »