Jama Masjid Delhi – Ramazan Walk
This post is about my recent Visit to Jama Masjid Delhi for Ramazan walk and photography in the area. The moment we say Delhi 6 fragrant nostalgia bubble wrapped in exotica overcomes our senses. The moment I say “ Let us go to Old Delhi “, my friends starts salivating at memories of street foods that we relished on our last visit to Chandni Chowk. For the folks living in places like Gurgaon (recently sanskarised to Guru Gram) and Noida, the town that has no idea about its history starts imagining a wonderland.
The generation born after the 90s actually had no idea about the charms of Old Delhi as they grew up to be Mall Rats. But thanks to Delhi Metro now reaching Old Delhi is a breeze and delicacies ranging from Lotan Ke Kulche to Kachoris at Chaina Mal Halwai are within everybody’s reach. But most of my recent visits to Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi has been to the vegetarian or in religious terms so called Hindu / Jain areas of the city. For my friends who relish non-vegetarian food, for them, these vegetarian areas don’t exist and their culinary heaven is in the bylanes around Jama Masjid. For the most majestic of the mosques in India built by that constant builder, Emperor Shahjahan is not just a holy place for devout Muslims, it is also the a must visit place for my non-vegetarian friends irrespective of their faith. Religion may or may not divide us, but the food certainly unites us all 🙂 We are like that only jee.
So friends, desis, vegetarians, carnivores, travelers, photographers, Google bots and real readers your friendly neighborhood desi Traveler visited Jama Masjid for a Ramazan Walk. But this was no ordinary walk it was led by noted historian and walking talking encyclopedia of all things Purani Dilli Dr. Navina Jafa coordinated by Travel Correspondents & Bloggers Group or simply TCBG. In last few months I have clicked many a picture of Jama Masjid especially from the rooftop of Haveli Dharampura the recently opened heritage hotel in Delhi 6. But this visit was special on 2 accounts one we got to listen to Dr. Navina Jafa first hand about the stories about the building of not just Jama Masjid but also the areas around it, second as it was Ramazan time I was keen to click the spirit of Ramazan in the markets around Jama Masjid of Delhi.
Here it will not be out of place for you to check out my earlier posts about Ramazan Markets
As we entered Jama Masjid Delhi, after paying a hefty fee of Rs 300/- for camera (must be the highest still camera fee for any place in India), it was almost iftar time & Those fasting were busy gathering together some in straight lines in a communal iftar dastarkhwan while others gathered with their families in small groups. As I was moving around looking for a good angle to click a boy not more than 8 years approached me and questioned
“ Uncle, are you clicking pictures ?” I said yes, so he wanted me to click his picture. Which I obliged. He kind of liked the picture and said, “ Uncle can you show the picture to my Abbu ?” So we walked towards his dad who was sitting on a platform with the siblings of the boy. Abbu jee also liked the picture and this led to clicking a few more pictures. Soon I was the unofficial photographer and official uncle of all the kids present in Jama Masjid and they were happily posing for me. As I finished my uncle duty while continuing to play the part of the photographer, it was time to break their fast and I heard the call to pray.
As I was scouting for photography opportunities, I saw a family of five, 2 couples and a baby girl who have just started eating their iftar meal after the call was made to break the fast. As I was passing by one of the guys in the group invited me to join them for the meal. I was a bit reluctant to join in the beginning as this was their family and prayer time but he insisted again. Now I could not resist his smile and joined them on the dastarkhwan and was happy to see that a Kullhar of phirni as part of the meal. Now who can resist a phirni that too served with so much affection as part of iftar meal?
As my pious host Tufeel had to go for prayers, we quickly exchanged cards and smiles. I am not going to send this post to Tufeel and his friends ( who by the way are Aggarwals I learned later !! ), but I am pretty sure it will reach him in one form or another as he and his family will always be in my prayers for they made me part of their family and shared their blessed food with me.
“What an overwhelming experience it was visiting Jama Masjid during Ramadan. The sights of devotees with faces glowing with faith, the soulful sounds of the call to pray, and the smells erupting from savouries brought to end the fast for the day. And the best part…I was invited by a family to join them in breaking the fast and sharing sweets they have brought with them. I never felt so welcome before by complete strangers …”
After clicking a few more pictures of the Jama Masjid glowing in evening light we went for our Ramazan walk in the nearby lanes of Jama Masjid. Here my main focus was to click the hustle bustle of the Ramazan market. In spite of the June heat and humidity, there were countless people all around from old men walking slowly with no hurry to go anywhere to young guns almost running with no idea where they were going. The shops were decorated for the festive season and were doing brisk business. My focus during the walk was 2 fold one to learn from Dr. Navina Jafa about the history of the are not just what you read in books also the folklore, the legends and the assimilation of the cultures that traveled as far as from Turkey and central Asia to merge with local flavors.
This amalgamation of various influences in the Old Delhi over centuries has lead to creation of a melting pot that has roots going back to Turkey, Central Asia, Kashmir, Rajputana, Maratha territories, Punjab and even the influences of Raj as the British shifted their capital from Calcutta to Delhi in at the time of coronation of George Vth. This also led to the creation of New Delhi that shifted the power center from Red Fort to Lutyens Zone. But Lutyens zone may be the power center, it is Old Delhi that continues to be the cultural and culinary hub of Delhi and the muse that every artist be it, a photographer, painter or poet wants to celebrate and flirt with.
So dear readers let me share some pictures I clicked in and around Jama Masjid during our Ramazan Walk in old Delhi learning about its history from Dr. Navina Jafa.
As we got out from the Gate no 1 of Jama Masjid we were treated by a strong aroma of delicacies specially cooked for iftar during Ramazan and our first port of call was Internationally world famous in Universe Jawahar Hotel. With great difficulty, I crossed the same and moved further, but in the meantime others in the group had already moved much ahead and now I was totally lost in the sea of humanity so I decided to do what one can do best in such a situation. I totally forgot about the Ramazan walk and the others in the TCBG group and totally focused on clicking the desi Humans around me.
Below are some more pictures that I clicked during our Ramazan Walk around Jama Masjid in Delhi.
How to reach Jama Masjid Delhi: Your best and fastest mode of transport to reach Jama Masjid in Delhi is Yellow Line of Metro. Get down at Chawri Bazaar Metro station and exit from Gate no 3. From there you can either walk to Jama Masjid or take a rickshaw.
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