desi Goes for Instawalk with Nat Geo in Old Delhi
It is not very often that your lazy bum desi Traveler gets out of bed early morning, but every time Chandni Chowk calls me I make sure that do not miss the market started by Mughals and called Chandni Chowk, or the market of moonlight.
This visit was organized by Nat Geo TV channel and they have invited Instagrammers for the Nat Geo Instawalk in Old Delhi. I think more than 4000 instagrammers and photographers applied and yours truly was one of the 25 selected for the same.
The walk started from the Red Fort, and proceeded towards the Digambar Jain Temple and then towards the historic Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib, where the 9th Sikh Guru has given his life to protect Hindus.
By this time we were totally immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of Chandni Chowk as the old bazaar is a delight for all your senses and, but let me warn you once again the narrow bylanes of the old Delhi are not for the Mall Rats types. If you want an Airconditioned malls and shops that have all the brands but no character or food that tastes same no matter what you order please stay in your suburban cocoon in Gurgaon or NOIDA. But if you are a seeker of the divine through the taste buds and love chasing light in the narrow lanes then you are welcome to Delhi 6.
As I was chatting with the owners of the Internationally World Famous shop Natraj Bhalla Wala, and informed him that I have been coming to his shop since ages, he just smiled and said, “ You can’t get the taste of Delhi 6 anywhere else”
And so right he is Delhi 6 is Delhi 6, no other place in world can offer you what these Katras, Kuchas and Galiyan of Delhi 6 can offer you.
Chandni Chowk market is closed on Sunday, we had some space to move around as on any other day you can’t even move your arms around without touching somebody.
Unlike my last Photowalk in Chandni Chowk, when my focus was on food this one was dedicated to street photography in Chandni Chowk Delhi 6.
There is always something new we discover in Chandni Chowk and as we move around there are hundreds of pictures to be clicked from the old temples and mosques to old men clinging to age-old traditions in a world that they no longer relate to.
This walk was organized by National Geographic Chanel with HCL one of the pioneers of IT software and Hardware in India. Our host for the day was from Seek Sherpa, a company that specializes in providing local experiences with locals.
There were about 25 photographers and instagrammers in the group and some employees of the HCL and Nat Geo etc. so it was a motley group that had invaded the gullies of Chandni Chowk. But unlike that Persian plunderer Nadir Shah or even our local satraps from Jatland of Bharatpur and the Maratha warriors who came to Delhi at will and left with spoils of war, our intentions were pious and we were only interested in clicking pictures and exchanging smiles.
One of the most pleasant smiles I exchanged was with this Banjaran or Banjara woman – Sunita, who sells iron utelnsils on the pavement near Fathepuri Masjid. While she was buys selling on the pavement some of the other Banjara Girls were in the by-lanes of Chandni Chowk, collecting scrap discarded by shopkeepers.
I saw one of them jumping on a large plywood piece to break it into manageable chunks. Even as I was clicking her I was remembering Maha Kavi Surya Kant Tripathi ” Nirala ” and his eternal poem:
वह तोड़ती पत्थर
देखा मैंने इलाहाबाद के पथ पर —
वह तोड़ती पत्थर ।
कोई न छायादार
पेड़, वह जिसके तले बैठी हुई स्वीकार;
श्याम तन, भर बँधा यौवन,
गुरु हथौड़ा हाथ
करती बार बार प्रहार;
सामने तरु – मालिका, अट्टालिका, प्राकार ।
Here the girl was not breaking stones but she was working equally hard to break the wood and had made it in a game, childhood that is suppose to be spent in shcool spends a better part of life looking for scrap and fire wood for the home if the moving caravan the Banjaras live in can be called a home. Roughly translated the poem is about a woman that the poet found breaking stones on a roadside in the afternoon. The poem has other paragrphs also that you can read here
One of the most spectacular view of the Delhi 6 we had was on top of an old building adjoining the Fathepuri Masjid, the building now used more as a godown has 5 stories and huffing and puffing I climbed to the top for a view of Delhi 6 that is the stuff movies are made of.
In the harsh afternoon sun, I tried my best to get the pictures, but I think I will need to go again sometime soon, preferably early in the morning for the same.
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