Winter is the best time to explore Delhi and even for a true blue local like me, Delhi has many new charms to offer, be it interesting heritage, food or places of faith. So, while surfing Delhi Walk Festival’s listed programs, when I saw one walk which promised an experience encompassing all three (faith, heritage and food), I had to participate!
On a sunny winter morning, I started off on a most interesting walk by KLoDB – Hunting Lodges, Mother Goddesses and Kulfi in Karol Bagh. The idea, as walk leader Jaya, explained, was to explore the neighbourhoods of Jhandewalan and Karol Bagh.
Hunting Lodges, Mother Goddesses and Kulfi in Karol Bagh was held on the last day of the Delhi Walk Festival and though I loved the walk experience, I felt that there was certainly a lack of coordination between the walk organizers (Delhi I Love You) and the walk leaders (KLODB). The walk participants were given 8 am time to report and the KLoDB leader was given the time as 8:30 am, which resulted in me standing & waiting for half an hour after reaching the venue. Also there was lack of clear channels of communication as the helpline number provided took some time to connect me to the walk leader (a good 15 minutes). I hope as there are more editions to the Delhi Walk Festival, such hiccups can be rectified, as it is not fair on the participants who arrive on time or on the individual walk groups who are part of the festival.
The walk leader Jaya explained that she had spent major part of her life in this area before moving to south Delhi and had many fond memories of this neighbourhood. The walk began with a visit to the famous Hanuman Temple of Jhandewalan (located right next to Jhandewalan Metro station), which has this huge statue of Monkey god Hanuman and is on the most visually interesting & iconic landmarks of the Delhi Metro (so much as that Delhi Metro always includes it in its advertorials). Jaya brought to our notice a very interesting feature of the statue; the statue was apparently being built for a period of 35 years and construction was stalled in between till lack of funds, so for a long time the statue was only built till lower torso level and then construction restarted, however, the temple committee realised that the metro line was also coming up adjacent and the direction Hanuman Ji would face would not look nice. So they decided to turn the upper torse sideways, giving it the iconic visual landmark it is today. However, if one stands at the foot of the temple and sees it from feet up, one realises what an uncomfortable position Hanuman ji is standing in, with legs straight and upper torso sideways, like a very complex Yoga Posture!
We went inside the Jhandewalan temple, which had many interesting features, such as a subterranean cave housing many forms of Shakti – Chhinamasta, Vaishno Devi and many more. I became somewhat claustrophobic inside the cave portion and it was a relief coming out of it.
We then headed to Bhuli Bhatiyari Mahal, which is not a palace but a hunting lodge of Muhammed Tuglaq of Tuglaq dynasty. What struck me immediately while walking from the temple to the monument was that the pathway leading to the hunting lodge was merely 500 meters away from the bustling temple, but a world apart, with trees lining the road, ridge on both side and a beautiful silence of nature all around.
The Bhuli Bhatiyari Mahal was under repairs by INTACH, but we managed to get in anyhow and it was a quaint structure, with basic embellishments at the main doorway and open space inside. It is rumoured to be haunted but I don’t think theres any truth to it as surrounded by ridge forest, it just has an air of mystery to it; I can imagine walking here in the dark or even in moonlight with the sounds of forest around and it can definitely seem haunting to any imaginative mind.
Note: All Images are by our co-walker Mr. Rana Sen
We then took rickshaws to the heart of Karol Bagh market and Jaya being a local, took us to the best Chhole Bhautre Shop in Karol Bagh – Om Sunder Sweets. We all loved the Chhole Bhature here and personally, I thought it was definitely the best I have had in Delhi (and will come back for more!). After the sumptuous meal, we thought it best to walk around the Karol Bagh market, with Jaya showing us interesting shops, by-lanes and corners. We enjoyed the sights & smells, shoped the fresh vegetables and fruits before finally settling for Kulfi at the famous Roshan Ki Kulfi. It was an apt finale to the interesting walk and certainly opened my eyes to another side of Delhi.
Read also Chandni Chowk beyond the obvious.