After participating in many interesting walks and cycle tours in my city Delhi, last week as I led a walk through Lodhi Colony neighborhood and introduced participants to its heritage, public art and sub-culture. The walk was conducted in association with KLoDB (Knowing and Loving Delhi Better) – one of the oldest walking community in Delhi. My good friend Arundhati wrote a beautiful account of the walk in Lodhi Art District and Lodhi Colony neighborhood.
Knowing Loving Delhi Better (KLoDB) is a 20 years old group of Delhi lovers who meet on weekends to walk & explore Delhi. Today’s exploration walk through Lodhi Colony has been led by my College senior Sushmita Sarkar, who is an abled environmental planner, an ardent traveller, a passionate blogger other than being a mother of a toddler.
Lodhi Colony was built in 1940s to house the government servants of Delhi. It is nestled in the heart of residential part of Lutyens Delhi, is the last construction of British India. It has an interesting geographic and historic significance spanning almost two centuries from the time of Tughlaqs and Mughals till date. The walk took us through the interesting heritage structures, the history of partition and its effects in the 40s, Sikh riots in the 80s and its present fame as an open air art gallery aptly named as Lodhi Art District.
The St+Art India foundation works on art projects in public spaces. The aim of the foundation is to make art accessible to a wider audience by taking it out of the conventional gallery space and embedding it within the cities we live in – making art truly democratic and for everyone enhancing the visual identity, build a sense of community pride and encourage the maintenance of the neighbourhood environment. Street artists from India and abroad had worked hard to re-invigorate and transform the area into an open public art district.
I was a bit anxious leading my first walk, more so as I love the neighborhood and felt that people who experience it along with me should be able to leave with an understanding of it special place, both in heritage and emotional connect that I felt.
Rana Sen one of the participants wrote on his Fb about the walk – ON A MISTY,WINTRY MORNING , A FEW PEOPLE LEFT THEIR HOMES FROM DIFFERENT CORNERS OF THE CITY. THEIR COMMON DESTINATION- – THE JOR BAGH METRO STATION .THEIR COMMON MISSION- -TO EXPLORE INDIA’S FIRST OPEN – AIR PUBLIC ART DISTRICT IN LODI COLONY–PERHAPS THE LAST RESIDENTIAL COLONY FOR GOVT. OFFICIALS BUILT DURING THE BRITISH RAJ,IN THE CAPITAL CITY OF INDIA.THE CAPTAIN OF THE EXPLORATORY SHIP–THE EBULLIENT,VIVACIOUS AND EFFERVESCENT MS. Sushmita Sarkar. QUEENLIKE,SHE STRODE THROUGH THE LANES AND BYLANES OF THE COLONY,REVEALING ITS HISTORIES AND MYSTERIES AT EVERY STEP.. AND OH YES,THE ART DISTRICT–IT WAS INDEED A FEAST FOR THE EYES.ARTISTS OF ALL HUES AND COLOURS, HAILING FROM THE REMOTEST VILLAGES OF INDIA,TO ONES FROM THE DISTANT LANDS OF EUROPE LIKE POLAND AND AUSTRIA,HAD GIVEN FREE EXPRESSION TO THEIR THOUGHT AND IMAGINATION ON THE WALLS OF THE BUILDINGS.IT LEFT EVERYONE OVERJOYED AND SATIATED.INDEED,A WALK TO REMEMBER FOR A LONG,LONG TIME !!!
After finishing the walk we two indulged ourselves into ‘Kunafa’ a Palestinian dessert cooked with very fine vermicelli & cottage cheese and ‘Baklavas’, the filo pastries filled with nuts, wrapped in flakey sheets, coated with honey accompanied by Turkish coffee !
I hope to lead as many walks as possible in future introducing my favorite neighborhood to as many people as I can.