The old quarter of Delhi was established by the Mughals in the 17th century. In its heyday, ‘Shahjahanabad’ ranked among the most culturally sophisticated, architecturally impressive capitals in Asia – a city famed as much for the genius of its Urdu poets as its splendid ‘haveli’ mansions, palaces and mosques.
Things have changed a lot since the East India Company’s troops laid waste to the neighbourhood in the wake of the 1857 Uprising, but its warrenous backstreets retain many vestiges of their Mughal past, and we strongly recommend our clients experience the area’s unique atmosphere at some stage in their trip – ideally on foot or by cycle rickshaw in the company of one of our specialist guides.
Tours can last a few hours, or a full day and always start with a chat over tea in which your guide will quiz you on your interests. Whether you choose to track down the last surviving Mughal-era mansions, watch Friday prayers at a mosque from the rooftop of a spice market, or visit traditional silver smiths at work on Chandni Chowk, your explorations of the old quarter will yield vivid insights into everyday life in the Indian capital. So charge your camera; lace up some comfy shoes; and prepare to be astonished.