Sunday, 14 August 2011

Red Fort (Lal Quila), Old Delhi : 12 Visuals You Wouldn't Have Noticed Yourself

While roaming through the lanes of Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazaar, strolling in the Sunday book market at Daryaganj, eating out Mughlayi non vegetarian delicacies at the famous Karim's opposite Jama Masjid, one can't help but surrender to the fact that Old Delhi is another world in itself – it has its own pace, energy, vibrancy and yes- charm. I've visited and photographed most of these places but somehow one gentle giant has always been elusive for my lens. Ok, no points for guessing. I would be seriously offending your wits by asking this question, given that I know you've already read the title of the post. Yes, I'm talking about our very own, Dilli ki shan, the Red Fort!

I've now lost count of how many times I've left Red Fort on the side walk while going to or coming from the Old Dehi Railway Station – It has always been that red old building I wanted to visit but couldn't as you could say "the stars were not right". So, one fine day, which was in no ways special than my other days - other than the fact that my hands were etching to hold the camera - I decided that yes, today I'm going to Red Fort and shoot. And as it happens, once you make up your mind for something, there is no looking back. So I got ready, took the next bus to Old Delhi, which dropped me right outside the fort. The first feeling when I looked at the fort was AHA, here I come!

The weather was all good and this being a weekend, there was a huge rush. Well, good for me, the more the people, the more the photo ops! I bought the tickets (one for entry to the fort and the other for the museum inside), deposited my bag pack in cloak room (they don't permit these inside), got in the long line and got busy with my camera right away. And I think I should shut up for now and let the photos do the talking. Immerse yourself...

Moving towards the fort, I spotted these beautiful purple colored wild flowers. Clicked a coupled of shots but somehow the concept was not clicking. Then thought of clicking them against the towering backdrop of the tombs. Tombs added the much needed perspective.

Red Fort: Wild Flowers

For me, nude monuments are dull and boring, its the presence of the living that makes them colorful and attractive. And what's it with historic monuments and pigeons, eh? They get along like house on fire ;-)

Who Flew!

The main entrance of the fort looks awesome – the Lahori Gate, named so since it faces Lahore, Pakistan. Standing outside the massive gate, looked up and saw the Indian Tricolor furling well, it was an awesome feeling. In this pic, I wanted to cover the gate as well but didn't have the right wide angle lens to do it. Still tried to capture as much as I could...

Red Fort: Lahori Gate

Move inside and you are right into the 'Meena Bazaar', also known as 'Chhatta Chowk Bazaar' meaning covered market. It was buzzing with activity. There was some painting work going on. The guy at the far end of the picture, up the ladder, was busy in his own work, irrespective of the sea of people below.

Red Fort: Meena Bazaar

How many times you have seen chilies and lemon, sewn in a thread, hanging on the entrances of shops, on the bumpers of cars or other vehicles? Have you ever counted the chilies ;-) Well, I guess not. There are seven of them. Now why are they used? I found two explanations for this. First (and the more logical one) is to ward off evil spirits or jealous glances from your article of possession. Second (and the funnier one) is to keep one's business 'Hara Bhara' (growing and prosperous), chilies being 'Hara' (Green) and lemon 'Bhara' (full) ;-)

Seven Chilies and One Lemon: Keep the Evil off

From the point where I was standing, the long lasting chain of electric bulbs was looking very interesting. So here goes the only vertical frame of this post. 

The Bulb Chain

At such a crowded place, people usually don't spot a lone photographer. Actually, there are so many tourists, poking there cameras in each and every possible direction that separating one out is quite difficult. As I was clicking frames of my interest and suddenly caught this guy staring at my lens. Some faces really catch you attention. And in a flash of second, another click!

Not Another Face in the Crowd

The museum in the fort, the Indian War Memorial Museum to be precise, has all sorts of old and world war time weaponry. The Naubat Khana or Naqqar Khana (Musical house) of the Fort houses the museum in its first and second floors. Making interesting pictures here is bit difficult. So I tried this – created this frame and waited for someone to be caught in the trap. Finally clicked :)

The Man and the Machine

What impressed me with the floral drawings on the walls of Diwan-i-Khas are their natural looking colors. Tried one macro on it...

Beautiful Flower Drawings

Standing below the Diwan-i-Aam platform, I clicked many moving feet. Sharing these ones. Those who saw this shot, found it kind of symbolic - the older generation moving into oblivion after the work has been done.

I Leave...

Now comes the most cherished shot of this visit. I love photographing people but the problem is the most interesting faces in the crowd are strangers. Now how to proceed strangers for a shot? I've been following good photographers who suggest that its easy. One needs to politely ask for the permission, make them comfortable and shoot. Sure, its easy to read, but tough to execute. It was basically a mental block on my side. That day, I saw these two friends spending a good time chatting to each other. Both looked interesting characters. I gathered courage, approached them and asked them that I wanted to photograph them. They readily agreed but became conscious of camera and ended up posing, which was not what I intended. Still love these guys and yes, I'm going to be careful in future :)

Friends, Always and Forever!

Finally, the last shot of this post. Leaving the fort, I went to collect my bag pack and on my way back, saw the shadows of the police men. Shadows always provide exciting visuals. Here goes...

Shadows on the Wall

All in all, a good trip. Loads of shots and one satisfactory realization – I might not have an army with me, but I conquered Red fort with my camera! Hope you liked the post. If you did, there are a lot of options on this page for you to acknowledge that. On top of that, I would absolutely love your comments and feedback. Do wait for the next post. Till then, ciao and a very Happy Independence Day to all of you.

PS: Its purely a coincidence that this post and Independence day are coinciding. Believe it if you can ;-)


  1. Superb... I guess u missed one pic in this blog... The old man with neck band...
    As usual loved ur explanation with the pics...
    Keep it up... All the best...
    Happy Independence Day!!

  2. Beautiful pictures, keep up the good work. Really makes me long for another trip to India!

  3. Each pic is speaking about itself...full of life...well said monuments are always felt alive with birds, flowers...i liked your explanation about seven chillies and bichara alone lemon....may God bless your photography business and make it "hara bhara" too..
    crowd faces you captured are very familiar, youth worker with ladder and two old friends...i am even interested in seeing different poses they made before the final shot...typical Dehli uncles with tikoni topi(s)...
    Nice work....take it to more heights...

    All the very best
    Navjot and Jatinder

  4. Great pics Darpan! Liked the pic of "Lahori Gate" very much... U explore places and people...its so amazing that wid this talent of urs u can feel life...
    N d best part is ur explanation wid d gt me hooked..
    Please keep us posted wid ur great work...

  5. @Pushkar, I didn't miss that pic, deliberately sacrificed it for a picture of them both. Though that pic was my fav, thought that this one would do justice to their friendship :)

  6. @pinbor1, Thanks for taking time to visit and joining the blog. I just visited your blog and it is amazing. You've traveled extensively- I envy you ;-)

  7. @Rathee, you know I expected more from you, Mr. Rathee. anyways, God gives second chances, join the blog asap and you'll walk guilt free ;-)

  8. @Navjot, Thanks for the nice comments. I know you would interested in people pics, so coming out with a post full of PORTRAITS very soon :)

  9. @Pallo, Thanks for the nice comments. I need more and more ;-) I've come up with a post on your city, so look out...

  10. Nice one!i use to visit Delhi often, visited all the places,u clicked.i also love traveling,visited many of the states and found true that, monuments without life are nothing, history is for that only. your description behind and along the scene makes them more live.pic of shadow was nice one and logic behind chillies n lemon, pretty interesting:)

  11. @Moni, Thanks for visiting and commenting. You seem widely traveled. Plain monuments, buildings are dull, add to them life and they sparkle :)

  12. haanji! n wht u said is true, which makes me keep going. for travelling u jst don't need to love places only, but people also, thts what makes the journey more interesting. prakriti, aur pakshiyon ko camere me kaid karne ki kosishein hum bhi karte h,jaise hi mauka milta h, albatta insano ko inke saath jod k nahi dekh pate, jo aapne bakhoobi kiya h..keep tht on:)

  13. You have complete guide on Red Fort in this article I like this article Thanks please keep share useful knowledge about India tourism with us Regarding
    Rajasthan Tourism


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  15. Amazing Pictures!! Thanks for sharing!!
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  17. nice collection i visited redfort many times but never notice in the way you do

  18. Wow Awesome design in all picks.

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