Len's eye view of Capital's history

Len's eye view of Capital's history

His penchant for history speaks volumes through his pictures. With his photography exhibition ‘Monuments of Delhi’ at India Habitat Centre, Vikramjit Singh Rooprai acquaints Delhiites with the rich and hidden heritage of the Capital, which was built and ruled by more than 100 rulers from 15 dynasties over 3000 years.

 Founder of Delhi Heritage Photography Club, Vikram, has been on a heritage hunt in the Capital since the last four years. Tracing Delhi’s history, he captured the City’s beauty on his lens along the way. A converstion with the photographer invariably ends up in an in-depth discussion about the Capital City’s historic traditons, its heritage and ita ancient monuments.

 Vikram says, “These pictures were not clicked as a part of my photo walks. I clicked them for documenting the city’s history for my own pleasure.” Interestingly, his exhibition includes pictures of Sultanghari, India’s oldest royal Islamic Mausoleum; the holy bakery, a mosque which post-1857was converted into a bakery by the Britishers; theJami Masjid, Kotla Ferozshah, a rare mosque designed with a well in the middle, which later became an inspiration for Bibi Khanum mosque of Uzbekistan. Elaborating on the pictures that captured Metrolife’s interest, Vikram gave interestingnuggets of information about the Safdarjang tomb, “This tomb was the last charbagh-styled tomb made during the Mughal era. The classic examples of charbagh-style are Humayun’s tomb and Taj Mahal.”

About the black and white, eerie picture titled, The Haunted Lodge, he says, “Bhooli Bhatiyari ka Mahal is supposed to be haunted. They say even the guards do not stay here for long. But according to folklore, Bhatiyari is a Rajasthani community and the Tughlaq’s had appointed a woman caretaker for this lodge from the same community. That’s how the place got its name.”

Another image captures a streak of light illuminating a pathway, with a woman standing at its threshold. Titled, The Holy Ray, the photograph exudes a sense of mysticism. Vikram explains, “Situated around Vasant Kunj, Sultanghari is an underground cave which is sacred for both Hindus and Muslims. It has signs of both, swastikas and kalmas on it. Even now, in this area before a bride enters her new household, she is required to visit ghari (cave).”

Displayed in the foyer, these photographs are easy to miss, but for their compelling subject. This photographic documentation of Delhi’s monuments seems to be urging for a better display along with annotations to pique the interest of those who love the city and its hoary past.

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