Lonely Canopy Art & Travel

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Ghalib Ki Haveli – Lost in the Bylanes of Purani Dilli

Day 7 (G) ~ #BlogchatterA2Z challenge

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#BlogchatterA2Z posts:

A , B , C , D , E , F , G , H , I , J , K , L , M , N , O , P , Q , R , S , T , U , V , W , X , Y , Z

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“na tha kuchch to Khuda tha, kuchch na hota to Khuda hota

duboya mujhko honi ne, na hota main to kya hota?”

Of all the cities that I have lived in, none have fascinated me as much as Purani Dilli. And, once wandering in the by-lanes of Purani Dilli, I came across the house of Mirza Ghalib. As I walked through the haveli, it seemed almost unreal that the legendary poet had once lived in this very space; maybe even penned down several of his couplets here.

Is there any traces of that magical aura left here? Will his spirit speak to me, if I sit for a while, really silently?

Mirza Ghalib’s haveli is located in Gali Qasim Jan of Ballimaran. It is said that the haveli was gifted to him by a hakim who was his biggest fan. When Galib died, the Hakim would sit for hours in the haveli in mourning. Over time the haveli passed through many hands, its significance forgotten. It has been used as a coal storage space, leather and plastic manufacturing space, vegetable shop, and even an electric repair shop! Finally, heritage activist Firoz Bakht Ahmed and advocate M Atyab Siddiqui, through an NGO Friends of Education, filed a PIL to restore this heritage site.  In 1999, Archaeological Survey of India took over portions of the ground floor and converted it into a heritage museum – “Ghalib ki Haveli.” The museum was inaugurated in December 27, 2000 on Ghalib’s birth anniversary.

The haveli was built using Lakhori or Badhahi bricks,  popular element of Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan era. These slim, reddish, burnt-clay bricks were easy to shape into the delicate arches, jharokhas, and chhajja popular during that time. The 2 room museum now houses a bust of Ghalib (donated by Gulzar), some books, photographs, some of Ghalib’s personal belongings, and Mughal-era utensils. A few handwritten scrolls with Ghalib’s couplets are framed and hung near the entrance.

Mr. Ahmed’s work was not over though. While on an evening stroll, he noticed that a marriage celebration was taking place inside the museum. He alerted the police and notified Times of India. After much furore, now there is a more stringent security at the site.

Firoz Bakht Ahmed has lived in Purani Dilli. The homes and graves of these great poets and writers are sacrosanct to him and he has spent much time on getting them restored.

If you ever happen to be in Delhi, do take some time out to visit this historical place, where one of the greatest poets of our country lived and created quite possibly an undying quantum of work that never ceases to amaze the old and young …

Ik roz apni rooh se poocha, ke dilli kya hai.

To yun Jawab me keh gayi,

Ye duniya maano jism hai aur dilli uski jaan

-Mirza Ghalib

One day I asked my soul, what is Delhi and it replied- if the universe is the body then Delhi is its soul.

Seema Misra

Seema Misra undertakes freelance projects for illustrations, content creation, copywriting, and social media marketing through her blog Lonely Canopy. To unwind, she watches world cinema or travels across it. She talks to her plants and sometimes people as well. But more often than not … you will find her curled up in her favorite corner reading a book while sipping strong coffee.

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Rashmi
Guest

Impressive write up Seema. I’m already in love with your paintings. If ever happen to be in Delhi, would definitely visit ‘Ghalib ki Haveli’.

Balaka
Guest

We Indians are very careless about our heritage sites. This is the first time that I am visiting your post and I find it quite impressive. The way you narrated the whole history of his haveli was extremely good.
https://trinalooksback.com/2018/04/07/gupto-kaku-guten-morgen/

Nupur Maskara (@nuttynupur)
Guest

What lovely lines in the end! I’d put flowers on Ghalbi’s wife’s tomb 🙂

Kalpanaa
Guest

Nice 🙂

Purba Chakraborty
Guest

Such a beautiful painting, Seema. And an enchanting writeup 🙂

Sayanti aka Shine
Guest

Last time, when I visited Delhi, I didn’t know about this place. Good to know about such interesting place. Next time, it will be my must-visit list of Delhi.

Novemberschild
Guest
Novemberschild

Lost in the Chaos of Chandni Chowk, Mirza Ghalib’s 300-Year-Old Haveli is a Forgotten Treasure. Down a quiet Ballimaran lane in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk stands a haveli like many others in this historic part of the Indian capital. An old dilapidated structure with a semi-circular brick arch as its entrance, this mansion was once home to Mirza Asadullah Khan, better known as Ghalib, one of India’s most celebrated and quoted Urdu poets. Ghalib also witnessed the decline of Mughal Empire and the establishment of British colonial rule in India. This makes his haveli not just a living memory of the… Read more »

Sayan Bhattacharya
Guest
Sayan Bhattacharya

Hi Seema.. impressed with your excellent piece of writing with detailed historical account. I have been around Purani Dilli a bit during my stay there earlier, and your post brought back the charm of the place to my mind. Recently I read Dalrymple’s “The Last Mughal” which has extensive references to Ghalib, and am currently reading Zahir Dehlavi’s (translated version) “Dastaan-e-Ghadar” which describes the ‘mushaira evenings’ and the ‘shayarana andaaz’ of the elite Mughal Delhi of the times. Zahir himself is an accomplished Urdu poet and was the disciple of Zauq, the court poet of Bahadur Shah Zafar, thus making… Read more »

Kat Seaholm
Guest

Beautifully written, thank you for sharing with us!

aurawithwriting
Guest

Impressive write up! Though I lived in Delhi for a while. I haven’t got a chance to explore Old Delhi as much, which I regret. Will definitely visit Ghalib’s Haveli next time as I heard great things. You’re doing a wonderful job of reminding our heritage and their significance!

Shalzmojo
Guest

Thank you for sharing this; noted it for a visit it next time I go to Chandini chowk.

Guernsey Literary & Potato peel pie society #atozchallenge

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shwetadave
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shwetadave

Mirza Ghalib == goosebumps. I am just loving your perception of buildings. How you ponder and see them. How you effortlessly put soul in them and make them come alive in your posts telling their tales. Would definitely stop by here on my next visit.

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