Then and Now; Qila-i Kuhna Masjid, 1847 and 1984

The Qila-i Kuhna Masjid, found inside the Purana Qil'a of Delhi, was built by Sher Shah Sur (r. 1538-45) during the interval of Sur dynasty rule. It is a large, single-aisled mosque that would have served as the sultan’s Jami, or Friday mosque. It is an early example of the extensive use of the pointed arch in the region. It is richly decorated, with calligraphy, colored stones, and elaborate carvings on both the exterior and interior surfaces. The mosque was greatly admired by the Mughals, who were to look to it for details of ornamentation and construction.

Information; http://archnet.org/sites/1581

Sketch: Plate 311 from Asaro Sanadeed, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, 1847.

Photograph; Archnet, 1984.

India: The First Day

I had no idea how angry India would make me. I spent most of my day yesterday asking for help, only to be met with blank stares, or even worse, open disdain. It was like being on the phone with a Dell software person. Even though I was staring directly at the people I was talking to, they somehow managed to affect a sense that they were not there, and could not help me, even if I lost my temper.

From booking a car, to trying to find out how to get my luggage delivered to me (it still hasn’t been), to asking my driver where he was taking me, to then finding said driver when I was done with whatever nameless monument he drove me to, everything was answered with derision and scorn. 

Everything Westerners say about India is true. It smells. The fumes in the air scorch and dry out your skin. I spent most of yesterday coughing. It’s unclean. Men just pull down their pants and pee wherever they want, even in historical parks. People spit. There’s shit in the street. Nothing works. People stare at you. They follow you. They ask you for money. When you don’t give it to them, they get angry. They try to touch you.

Keep reading


Last day in Delhi! We walked to the India Gate from our hotel and then over to Purana Qila ruins while waiting for rush hour to die down. After lunch we took the metro down to Qutub Minar to see the awesome ruins of a mosque, among other things there. We ended the day with a fabulous vegetarian thali meal.

We are headed North, to the mountainous area this morning and are hoping for clearer air - the haze/pollution has been a struggle on our lungs!

Purana Qila is the oldest fort in Delhi. It is almost 500 years old and was built by the Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri (aka Sher Khan), founder of the Sur Empire in India.

During partition, Purana Qila became the site for refuge camps for Muslims that were migrating to Pakistan. 

Incredible place. 

- A x