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Amateurs capture Delhi's history

Baishali Adak, Nov 27, 2012, DHNS: 21:04 IST

Lens eye

One doubts if a complete visual narrative of all the historical sites and buildings in Delhi has ever been drawn before. The Delhi Heritage Photography Club, however, has achieved the feat with its latest photography exhibition ‘Monuments of Delhi.’

The club includes many photography and heritage enthusiasts of the Capital who do weekend walks at different monuments, remember its history and take pictures. Now, these pictures taken over last few months, have been compiled into this exhibition.
This club started as a Facebook group in 2010 and today has enlisted over 1500 members, done 80 walks and taken thousands of pictures since then.

A jury panel comprising Delhi Tourism chief manager Amarjeet Maggu, School of Planning and Architecture photography division head Sushil Khandelwal and historian Sohail Hashmi selected 98 photographs from the stock. These, taken by 51 amateur photographers, including scientists, engineers, IT professionals and students etc., now form the exhibition.

The founder-convenor of the group, a digital marketing man himself - Vikramjit Singh Rooprai, says, “Recently, we realised that we have collected a beautiful cross section of pictures of Delhi’s monuments. These include the Qutub, Humayun’s Tomb, Jantar Mantar, Safdarjung Tomb, Red Fort, Old Fort, Tughlaqabad, Adilabad, Sultangarhi, Rashtrapati Bhawan/India Gate, Mutiny Memorial, Begumpur etc.. Also, these trace almost all the eras, various kings, queens and dynasties Delhi has passed through. So we decided to
share the wealth with fellow Delhiites.”

No doubt, these reflect an undying love for historical ruins and hardly look like amateur photographers’ work. A picture by Vikramjit himself, shows the iconic Qutub Minar during the recent Super Moon night. The light from the moon and artificial lighting by ASI have set the monument ablaze in a fiery orange light.

Also, the photograph includes every other element of the complex, including the iron pillar and mosque. Another picture portrays a woman at the entrance of an underground cell at Vasant Kunj’s Sultangarhi tomb. The body of the woman intercedes the natural light flooding into the dark cell and makes for a beautiful frame.

A black and white photograph of the Begumpur mosque by Austin Mobley is truly haunting. It automatically transfers you to that era when it would have been visited by kings, prayed in and then repeatedly ravaged by marauders. A wide angle shot of the deserted Tughlaqabad Fort looks like an archival photograph from British documents. It was taken recently by Naveen Meena.

A photograph of our more recent architectural wonders - Prasun Sanyal has clicked the Central Secretariat. The complex is reflected in a pool during the evening hours. It gives a view of what the British would have probably imagined it as while designing it.
View all the pictures at India Habitat Centre where this exhibit is on till November 30.

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