History surrounds Kashmere Gate

History surrounds Kashmere Gate

The City is dotted by numerous historic monuments of the British and Mughal period. These structures, with some real and some not-so-real stories attached to them, are spread across Delhi, which has been a capital of different kingdoms and empires.

However, Kashmere Gate in Old Delhi is one of the places in the City which has history erected or cremated at every nook and corner. Kashmere Gate and the area around it has witnessed some of the major events of the First Struggle of Independence in 1857.

During Shahjahan’s ruling, 14 gates were built around the City, which led to different regions of the country and this one led straight to Kashmir.  It is one of the four gates besides Delhi Gate, Turkman Gate and Ajmeri Gate that has survived. Right in front of Ritz Cinema, the now renovated gate welcomes all.

Since it has some of the most important ruins of that era, the area around Kashmere Gate is loved by monument lovers. It hosts among others, St. James’ Church – one of Delhi’s oldest churches; a cemetery; a mosque; Dara Shikoh’s library in IP University campus; the telegraph memorial; old St Stephen’s College; British Magazine and other. A small walk around the area gives you an opportunity to visit many monuments.

Dedicated to British Brigadier General John Nicholson, who died at a young age, Nicholson Cemetery is few meters away from Kashmere Gate Metro Station, gate no. 4. The cemetery has some beautifully carved gravestones and memorials. Nicholson has died fighting with Indian soldiers in the 1857 uprising. His grave is on right side of the entrance of the cemetery.

At a short distance is St. James’ Church built in 1836 by James Skinner, an Anglo-Indian military adventurer. He raised two cavalry regiments, which are part of Indian Army till now. One of the oldest churches of Delhi has the grave of William Fraser,  a great friend of Skinner. Badly damaged in  1857 by the rebel sepoys, the renovated church is now a landmark in the area.

Very close to the church lie the remains of Dara Shikoh in the old campus of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University. According to the Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), “the Dara Shikoh library building was once part of the estate of Dara Shikoh, eldest son of Shahjahan. In the early 19th century, it became the Residency for the British Resident and from 1844-1857 it housed the Delhi College of Engineering.”

Nearby is what used to be St. Stephen’s College, prior to its shifting to the North Campus of DU. The building today houses office of the Election Commission. Founded in 1881 by the Cambridge Mission, the college began with a few students and about three teachers in this area. From 1891 to 1941 it was housed in then Delhi College of Engineering campus. In 1941 it shifted to its present site. A short walk in the area gives a tip of the rich history that this City carries.

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