The early modern city of Shahjahanabad, often called ‘Old Delhi’, was planned axially around the Mughal emperor’s fort-palace, on the banks of the river. The architecture of the city, when explored in terms of its social demography in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, reveals different constructions of power and its expression. This walk intends to ‘read’ the Red Fort as a politico-aesthetic text, by looking at the little niches, fading frescoes, and hidden pietra duras, and pondering over their possible meanings in the language(s) of the Mughal court. The walk, while according centrality to the fort-palace, will explore a couple of sub-imperial structures in the kuchas and galis of the ‘old city’, and briefly look at some characters from Shahjahanabad public life: courtesans, mirzas, begums and munshis. The walk will terminate at the quaint Fatehpuri Masjid, along the central axis of the city.
This guided tour is free.