Saturday, March 28, 2015

Discovering Delhi - Baolis and Bawra Man

Literal translation: Discovering the baolis of Delhi with a crazy heart

Saturday had been a crazy working day with unusual timing of ending at 9 pm. I wasn’t sure if I would have the energy to make it to the walk by Delhi by Foot. The walk was to start at 8 am on a Sunday. Who wakes up so early on a Sun?! Well, apparently loads of people do. I confirmed with V and we decided to wake each other up. So, Sun dawned bright and fresh and off I started towards the Metro.

Met V enroute and we reached Barakhamba all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Ramit Mitra, the host and master of ceremonies for all things Delhi by Foot was right there. We waited for the other fellow walkers to join in and the Sun morning calmness of Barakhamba hit us. We saw some bikers standing just across and thought how cool that was! Little did we know that they would be our friends on this walk.

The next surprise for me was to see a familiar face…Monsieur Madavane. And all of my JNU years came back to me. I never thought that I would run into him and that too as part of a DBF walk. It was such a great start and I was sure that the day would unfold many pleasant surprises.

A note about Ramit Mitra: He sure is passionate about Delhi and that is clear in all that he does to curate the walks. The other things is the way that he drops in and out of animated conversations. I guess this is because he is preoccupied with getting everyone and everything together. But that adds to his personality as well. I know V would agree. :)

So, off we set to find our very first baoli, in the heart of CP – Agrasen ki baoli. This one has recently been made famous due to its movie appearance but was always on my to-do list. I just had never found it and it was so close. Lovely baoli, well maintained and the restoration work is still going on. Finding the Agrasen ki baoli on Hailey Lane is exactly the kind of reason that I love the city of Delhi.
From here, we wandered off to Firoz Shah Kotla and the lovely baoli there was beautiful too. Even better were the several trees in the premises and the story of the djinns. Or should I say the faith of the people in the djinns made this place more enchanting. Ramit did a great job of explaining the seven cities of Delhi using the tickets to the premises and of course, the Qutub Minar, which kept toppling over. And in the background, the leaves swept up closer to hear the tale.

While a baoli is to be expected inside historical premises such as Firoz Shah Kotla, the next one was a big surprise! This was the R K Puram complex of baolis in the middle of Sector 5. I’ve been in and out of R K Puram for all of my growing years but never did I even dream of this place. Ramit mentioned that it was part of the Wazirabad complex. The baoli overlooked a series of tombs, very much alike to the Lodi Garden tombs. Lovely time here, exploring the place, climbing down, listening to Ramit’s stories, and imagining the life of yore.

Thank you Delhi by foot for a fab walk and for introducing us to such hidden treasures of Delhi. I will be going back to all of these for sure!

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