This book was begun by accident. In 1986 we wrote one walk to sell a charity bazaar. It was well received and so we were encouraged to write more.
We always enjoyed our visit to Old Delhi as the old walled city contains so much of immense interest. The streets and markets are always so lively with people busy earning a living, printing books on ancient presses: chickens: mixing spicy drinks; giving others a shave or massage; and selling, selling, selling.
We wanted to know about contemporary life as well as the background to the historical buildings but when we tried to find a book dealing with these aspects of Old Delhi there wasn't one available.
We hope this book goes some way to fillings the vacuum. Of course it's by no means comprehensive. Even within our own limitations of the area within the walled city (Shahjahanabad) and one walk in the Civil Lines there are many areas our walks don't explore. However these ten walks to take you to a variety of neighbourhoods and focus on a range of themes. Not all the walks are for everyone. Please choose with your own interests in mind.
This book was primarily written for the resident foreigner, or the foreign visitor, here on holiday. We have been delighted to discover that Indian friends too enjoy taking these walks. They tell us they are 'incomers' to New Delhi from other states and don't know Old Delhi at all.
But whatever you background or length of stay in New Delhi, don't leave without exploring the Old. It repays time spent within it so handsomely.
In January 2002 I received a long awaited email. It was from Rupa & Co Promising to publish a second edition if I would come out and update the old. So I came in July, worked through till September, and with a lot of help completed the update.
There was much to update. It had been fourteen years since the first edition had been published and over the intervening years the wholesale fish market had been moved to Ghazipur, shops changed hands, steam trains stopped running, temples expanded, cinemas closed, metal detectors and Internet Shops sprung up and that huge construction project, the Delhi Metro, well and truly taken off.
Yet in spite of all these changes much was exactly the same; the skeletal jumble of rickshaws waiting for fares, the same streets sold the same things, an intense piety was still found inside the temples, mosques and gurdwaras and the beauty of the Mughal architectural masterpieces was undiminished..
It's been a great pleasure walking Old Delhi's streets again, enjoying the friendliness of the residents and marveling at their undiminished commercial energy. The original aim of the book was to encourage more people to explore Old Delhi and it's been most gratifying to be told how successfully this aim has been achieved. I hope this second edition is equally useful.
The aim of this book is to encourage more people to explore Old Delhi. On one's first visit Old Delhi is a bewildering place, with its crowded pavements, fragile rickshaws and noisy buzz of people and traffic. But it's fascinating too and the fascination grows. These walks will soon banish your bewilderment by guiding you carefully to places of historical importance while explaining contemporary scenes as you walk along.
Gaynor Barton was born in 1945 in Lancashire, England, and came to India in 1984 with her husband, a British Council Officer, and their two children.
Gaynor is an English teacher who has taught in Iran and Egypt. Her interest in city-walks began in the 1970s when she developed one for the old city of Worcester.
Laurraine Malone was born in 1947 in Sussex, England, and came to India in 1982 with her husband, a journalist, and their two children.
Laurraine was with the British Foreign Service and has worked in Botswana, Colombia and the former Soviet Union. Wherever she finds herself she loves walking and exploring new places.
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