Ik roz apni rooh se poocha, ke dilli kya hai.
To yun Jawab me keh gayi,
Ye duniya maano jism hai aur dilli uski jaan
These words of Mirza Ghalib not only describe a city but a territory on the world map that has, over thousands of years, seen war, blood, peace, and obsession of innumerable rulers which led to their rise and fall. There is some unique attraction about Delhi which made every ruler want to capture it, to keep it and to turn possessive about it. Since a lot of emperors had their eyes on Delhi, the reins of the city kept shifting from one ruler to another. Though Delhi may now have been developed into a modern city, there lies a part of it, ignored, staring out from a distance to the mad rush on the roads and people that are too busy to earn their bread and butter. The city’s rich cultural legacy survives, either in the paper, or a few ruins, that have been preserved, but not in the manner they deserved.
Swiss International Airlines took a perfect initiative to celebrate Delhi by conducting a heritage walk in Mehrauli on 17th December 2017. The airline has just completed 10 years of the Delhi-Zurich route. Paurus Nekoo, the General Manager (Sales), India, Lufthansa Group said that “As the airline is deeply rooted in tradition and culture, we are delighted to celebrate this occasion with a unique activity that pays a tribute to Delhi’s rich cultural heritage.”
The walk was led by heritage walk experts ‘Darwesh’ who took us into the history into Delhi’s first city (Mehrauli) through the medium of storytelling, Shayari, poetry and musical performances. We went to Mehrauli Archeological Park, the Tomb of Mohd. Quli Khan, then to the magnificent Rajaon ki Baoli and finally to Jamali Kamali where the walk ended with a performative storytelling act of renowned 16th century Sufi saint Sheikh Jamali.
The walk ended with a wonderful Sunday brunch at one of my favourite fine dining restaurants in Delhi- Q’la. There could have been no better day than a sunny winter afternoon like this one for a heritage walk.
On occasions like these, what I have attended is a simple cocktail evening at a swanky pub or a 5-star hotel. But this was truly a unique event. I’m sure 90% of the population of Delhi must not be knowing what Mehrauli has to offer beyond Qutab Minar. Being a Delhite myself I was unaware of the heritage that exists in the city that’s worth its weight in gold but never boasts about it.