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Delhi: A thousand years of building

Delhi: A thousand years of building
$42.50
Item Code: IDG130
Author: Lucy Peck
Publisher: Roli Books Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 9788174363541
Pages: 317
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.5" X 4"
weight of the book: 465 gms

About the Book:

Delhi's glorious history comes alive through Lucy Pack's text which provides insights into Delhi's built heritage and weaves in interesting anecdotes from the city's past. From Early Sultanate Delhi to New Delhi today, the author traces the architectural influences of each period of the city's past and brings to attention even the lesser known ruins found scattered throughout Delhi. This accessible guide to Delhi's rich architectural heritage includes photographs, line drawings and maps of all areas covered. Aimed at both local inhabitants as well as the interested visitor the book includes over 600 structures and walking routes for each area covered.

Introduction

Delhi is an amalgamation of many cities built at different times in its thousand-year history, and it is this history that has been its fascination for its citizens and visitors for centuries. This book is about the growth and development of Delhi. It concentrate on the scattered remains of the earlier cities, both in terms of actual buildings but also in the way each new 'city' has affected later development and, in particular, the current appearance of Delhi. In one sense several different cities exist now: the city of the political elite based around colonial New Delhi; the city of the business elite, centred on South Delhi; the even larger city of the middle class, which has spread right out to the west, south and east, and finally the city that fits into the interstices of the others, one that is almost invisible to the elite but where millions of people live and work in indescribably desperate conditions. These modern manifestations of Delhi are physically very different but they all, to some extent, overlap with the historic cities. By exploring the old sites many aspect of the modern city are revealed. I n the historical context many people are aware that there were 'seven cities of Delhi' but it is, in fact, plausible to talk of any number up to sixteen. This number includes all known eparate foundations as well as the two colonial centres, the Civil Lines and New Delhi, to which, by the same rules, must be added Modern Delhi, that is post-Independence Delhi. In fact, 1 hope to explain that there were certain areas that remained predominantly urban for centuries, while the majority of the places now considered as 'cities' were either suburban developments or simply failure sometimes leaving no trace. Effectively, the real centre of power shifted thrice, from the Mehrauli area to Shahjahanabad and from there to New Delhi. Modern Delhi's commercial and government centres are still based on the Mughal and colonial cities and the urban area has spread out to encompass virtually all the previous 'cities' as well as numerous villages, which still exist among the residential layouts that supplanted their fields. This legacy has certainly shaped the urban fabric, which varies wildly from the astonishing density of the old city and village areas to the ludicrously spread-out New Delhi and Cantonment areas.

Along with this curious land-use pattern we have also been bequeathed fascinating buildings from every century over the last thousand years. Since at least the 11th century Delhi has been an important urban centre, and there is evidence of continuous occupation in the area for at least a thousand years before that. Rather surprisingly, despite the antiquity of India's urban culture, many of modern India's largest cities do not have long histories; of the six biggest cities only Delhi and Hyderabad existed as important urban centres before the arrival of the British, whose principal cities (Calcutta, Bombay and Madras) were all port The colonial economy and external trade gave such places an importance that eclipsed inland cities. Bangalore, although politically important, was only a small city before it became a colonial garrison town, and Hyderabad was only founded in1589.

Even in the next rank down it is surprising how few cities are truly ancient. In comparison with Europe or West Asia, there are only a small number of cities in India that were important for more than a few centuries. Those that were, such as Varanasi, are often significant centres for pilgrimage as well as being centres of specialist production such as textiles. More common have been medium-sized cities, such as Lucknow or Orchha, which were centres of power for only a hundred years or so as local families rose to power and then were superseded. Some cities in this category continued as local market centres, some dwindled rto mere villages, and some were abandoned altogether, either for a site nearby or for political reasons. Often their architectural heritage is preserved only because the buildings were abandoned and not, as would otherwise have been the case, pulled down to be rebuilt or used as a quarry. The most moving sites to visit are those of which nothing now remains but defensive walls, ruined palaces, temples and mosques, and these places deservedly attract many tourists. By contrast, Delhi's great interest derives from the fact that it has been an important urban centre for so long. It thus contains ancient pilgrimage centres, abandoned cities, a large medieval city, a colonial capital and urban villages, all within a rapidly expanding and changing modern city. I use the term medieval, which is generally associated with pre-modern Europe, because it effectively evokes a walled city with narrow roads and traditional market areas.

CONTENTS

 

  How to use this book VI
  Acknowledgements VII
  Map listing & Key VIII
  Chronology IX
1 Introduction 1
2 Delhi Architecture 7
3 Rajput Delhi 25
4 Early Sultanate Delhi -The Qutab Minar 33
5 Tughlakabad 47
6 Jahanpanah 55
7 Firozabad and Hauz Khas -Firoz Shah's Delhi 79
8 Lodi Mosques and Tombs -Sayyid and Lodi Delhi 99
9 Purana Qila 133
10 Humayun's Tomb and Nizamuddin 145
11 Shahjahanabad 177
12 Mehrauli 217
13 North Delhi -The Civil Lines 239
14 New Delhi -Lutyens's Delhi 255
15 Modern Delhi 283
  Bibliography 295
  Index & Glossary 298

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