Ghost Walks; The Ghosts of Delhi

Are there djinns and ghosts in some of Delhi’s best known monuments?A lot of people think so.But, what is the real story?

Delhi is an amazing city, a city of contrasts. So, are the other world capitals like New York and London.

I say contrasts because modern technology rests cheek and jowl with legends and folklore.

In the heart of Delhi is a mediavel citadel, Firoz Shah Kotla. This is in ruinous state and is nestled between the magnificent building of The Times of India and a cricket stadium where cricket matches worth millions of US dollars are played. There is also a Metro track currently being laid in the vicinity.If you are planning to visit India, this is one place that you would not like to miss.

This haunted citadel was constructed some 400 years ago by a Muslim King. This place used to be on the banks of river Yamuna. But, over the centuries, the river has shifted course and now flows 2 kilometres away from the citadel now.

The citadel is haunted by ghosts, according to people who live close by.

These ghosts are called “djinns” in Arabic and are pleased by the devout by lighting incense sticks and reading holy verses.

How, these djinns came to this god forsaken place is a mystery but you can see the believers worshipping them and making them happy by offering sweet meats , pieces of meat and cooked food.


In the evenings, the place indeed gives a haunted feeling, as if you are not welcome there.

There are good djinns and there are the bad ones too.

Generally, people come here for asking for help in begetting children, getting jobs, regaining health and sexual prowess, how to get rich quick, etc.

But, God forbid, if the malevolent ones get agitated then the life  of the worshipper is doomed, they say.

God knows if these wishes get fulfilled.

The youngsters are hardly bothered about these ghosts. When I last visited the ruined castle, I saw some kids playing cricket !

Several people claim to have seen ghosts appear in the form of cats, dogs etc.


This castle also houses a tower , called Ashoka’s Tower that bears the inscriptions of that famous Indian emperor who made Buddhism famous all over the world.

Close by is an abandoned water tank, known as Baoli , which is now closed to the public.

 

Just adjacent to the Tower is an old masjid or a mosque that was witness to the massacre of 100,000 Indians in Delhi on the orders of Tamerlame or Timur.

Delhi is such a marvellous place, is’nt it?

An 800 year long story!Finished by Sher Singh

An 800 year long story;A jailbreak that led to the Kings’ return

Prithviraj Chauhan– the King of Delhi and Ajmer
                         Prithviraj Chauhan– the King of Delhi and Ajmer

Ok folks, let me admit one thing;I am not a historian!I am just a teller of tales, I glean what I have heard, read or seen and then regurgitate all that in a manner that is open to all kinds of interpretation.

Delhi is often called an unfaithful bride. It has never wed any one single dynasty, figuratively speaking.What I mean to say is the Capital of India , Delhi has had several suitors and the affair with each of them lasted not more than a 100 years. !

In the 12 th century, Delhi came under the control of the Chauhans, though it is a debatable point.

It is said that King Anangpal Tomar bequeathed his kingdom of Delhi to his grandson, Prithviraj, who was then ruling Ajmer, a town in present day Rajasthan. Ajmer is a mere 100 kilometres away from Jaipur, the capital of present day Rajasthan.

For travellers coming to India, Jaipur holds an important position as a city for tourism.Ajmer, which is west of Jaipur , is the gateway to the paths of two important cities, Udaipur and Jodhpur.

Anangpal had grown old and did not have any sons.The elder son used to be the natural heir in the ancient days of Indian nobility.So, Anangpal was naturally worried about the fate of Delhi!

One day, his minister suggested to the king , why does’nt he adopt his grandson, Prithviraj and give him the responsibilities of Delhi?It was an attractive idea and Prithviraj had all the qualities to manage another kingdom.He was young, brave and ambitious, he came from the Chauhan dynasty and was of royal blood.Anangpal was a Tomar, though.

Tomars are Rajputs and trace their lineage from Lord Rama, the Hero of Ramayana and considered by millions of Indians as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.The Chauhans, like Tomars too, trace their lineage from the same origin.

In due course, Prithviraj ascended the throne of Delhi and his grandfather retired to the forests and became a hermit.

By the close of the 12th century, India had become a favourite target for the Mongols and the Turks for invasions.The first Muslim invasion  had happened in the 8th century A.D.

Delhi was ripe for another invasion now and it happened in the year 1191 AD.The aggressor was Mohammed Ghori and he was from Afghanistan.

The two armies of Chauhan and Ghori met at Tarain , near Delhi and the aggressor was roundly defeated by the young Prithviraj and even captured. Ghori was later released by the large hearted Prithviraj.

Ghori never digested this defeat and the next year, he again attacked India.Tarain was witness to another battle but this time, Prithviraj was defeated , captured and transported to Ghur in Afghanistan as a war prisoner.

Popular legends say that at Ghur, Prithviraj was blinded by his foe and subjected to numerous insults.But, Prithviraj was endowed with a special skill that enabled him to shoot down a target on just hearing a sound from it.He need’nt see the target but the sound was enough.One fine day, the prisoner shot down an unsuspecting Ghori with his arrow , guided by the sound of Ghori’s speech.

To avoid a painful death, it is said that Prithviraj then stabbed himself to death.He is said to have been buried at the spot by the angry courtiers of Ghori .This event happened nearly 800 years back.

Cut to 2004

A jailbreak happens in Delhi and a convict, Sher Singh Rana escapes in disguise to Afghanistan.

Nothing extraordinary, except that Sher Singh was jailed on charges of killing a lawmaker or a Member of Parliament.The lawmaker was a lady and in her younger years was a bandit.

She had shot to fame because she had gunned down a few Rajputs-Sher Singh was a Rajput too- angered by their torture and humiliation of her.She had served her prison term and was now a lawmaker but Sher Singh was filled with revenge.

One fine day, he got his chance and the lady lawmaker fell to his bullets.Singh surrendered to the police and was imprisoned.

He got his chance to escape the prison one fine day and left for Afghanistan on a mission.This mission was hidden deep down his bosom and he would never ever reveal what his mission was-not to his family, not to his friends!

What followed was truly a story out of the countless fiction books! He went to Afghanistan, located the grave of Prithviraj Chauhan, exhumed the bones of the long dead king and came back to India with those remains!

He wanted to give a dignified a cremation to his childhood hero, the King of Delhi and Ajmer and there was nothing that he would not do to achieve his goal. Sher Singh wanted to finish the unfinished story of 800 years!

When he came back to India, he made his way to his ancestral village in the State of Uttar Pradesh and with great courtesy, gave the King a solemn cremation, as per Hindu rites.

The King had returned to India after 800 years!

Hauntingly Beautiful-Red Fort in Delhi- Part  1

Last Sunday, I fulfilled a promise that I had made to myself- bringing alive , through images, the chequered history of the Red Fort of Delhi, India. 

It is a hauntingly beautiful fort and unlike many such old castles spread throughout the world and India, is always bustling with tourists. Many travellers from United States, United Kingdom , continental Europe , Korea and Japan make this fort a part of their itinerary. 

Red Fort is a traveller’s paradise.  

Have a look at this bazaar, perhaps one of the oldest surviving bazaars of India. It is called Chhatta Bazaar, or a bazaar of beehives  

   Constructed in the middle of the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor, Shahjehan, this bazaar was also called Meena Bazaar, so called, because wives of his nobles used to sell their wares to the Emperor himself.  

If a particular lady caught  his fancy, well, she was endowed with good luck!

Have a look at the gold or brass coloured ancient door to the Fort.  

   Dear traveller, a word of advice: have a  kullad of lassi or sweet buttermilk before you start onward. It is quite a long distance to cover. 
  It is yummy and full of energy!
As we go further, an ancient inscription in Persian  welcomes us , hello, can someone decipher?  

 Tomorrow: Steeped in luxury: the apartments of the Emperor