Delhi Darshan: The History and Monuments of India’s Capital by Giles Tillotson provides a fascinating account of Delhi’s built heritage, from the traces of the earliest settlements at Indraprastha, through the grand legacies of the Delhi Sultans and the great Mughals to the ordered symmetries of Lutyens’ Delhi and the towering skyscrapers of Gurgaon.
We learn some interesting facts about the capital from this book. Here are 6 things you didn’t know about Delhi:
What’s in a name? The origin of the name is a point of contention.
“Some historians interpret it to mean ‘threshold’, marking it as the point of entry into India for conquerors from the other side of the Hindu Kush.”
Is there a link between Delhi and the Pandavas?
“There is, to begin with, a strong and long-standing tradition that associates Delhi with Indraprastha, the capital of the Pandavas, heroes of the national epic, the Mahabharata.”
In 1296, Alauddin Khalji helped expand and create the second city of Delhi
“Early in his reign he moved his base to his army camp, situated at Siri, outside the city to the north-east. He had a protective stone wall erected around it, thus creating what has come to be called the second city of Delhi…Alauddin’s new city was serviced by a vast stone reservoir, the Hauz Khas, which was built outside its walls, to the west.”
Alauddin Khalji’s son and successor was very different from his father
“Some accounts suggest that he(Alauddin’s son) liked to amuse his friends by dressing up and performing as a dancing girl. His favourite companion was a Hindu convert who went by the name of Khusrau Khan, by whom he was eventually murdered.”
Wine lovers in Delhi couldn’t get their hands on the drink during Muhammad bin Tughluq’s reign
“He(Muhammad bin Tughluq) abjured wine so strictly that it was simply not possible to buy it in Delhi during his reign.”
Lodhi Garden- the gateway?
“A learned argument has long festered over the most central and conspicuous of the park’s(Lodhi Gardens) buildings, known as the Bara Gumbad. The question is whether it was originally intended as a tomb or as a gateway.”
Delhi Darshan: The History and Monuments of India’s Capital is filled with quirky details and original insights, as well as a section on important monuments. The book is AVAILABLE NOW!