Standing tall for years

Standing tall for years

It’s hard to believe as you gaze at today’s congestion in Chandni Chowk that in the middle of the road, the British built a neo-Gothic clock tower, somewhat resembling London’s Big Ben. Some Delhi folks liked it, others hated it, but it never worked properly as the weight of pigeons sitting on the hands disturbed the mechanism.

To build the clock tower in 1868, the British filled in the pool that Shah Jahan’s daughter Jahnara Begum had designed. This pool reflected the silvery moonlight so beautifully, giving Chandni Chowk ( the moonlit square ) its name. This tower was built by E.J. Martin, executive engineer of Delhi Municipality. It collapsed during an earthquake in the 1950s, killing six people and was never rebuilt.
The clock tower in Chandni Chowk is no more, though it was witness to some of the historic events of the freedom movement. It was not the only clock tower in the City that stood tall for decades but there are few others which are still in existence like the one in Pul Bangash, and the one near the old Subzi Mandi, that continues to click. 

Besides, the one in Hari Nagar was built in 1950 in the memory of Hari Ram Dewan. The Dewans were ministers of the Nawab of Jhajjar, now in Haryana. They were the ones who colonised Hari Nagar and Subhash Nagar. The Hari Nagar Ghantaghar once had clocks imported from Britain. However, later these were replaced by the ones from Hyderabad.

  There is a caretaker who still lives with his family in the basement of this clock tower.Meanwhile, Hari Nagar Ghantaghar continues to be the main landmark of the area. Ask anyone and he will direct you there just because of a 57-year-old clock tower. 

These might be the oldest one but there are others like one near Moolchand flyover, Sadar Bazaar, Old Delhi Railway Station, Lakshmi Narayan Temple Mandir Marg and Sadar Bazaar.