Demystifier: An ED Original where the content is written in such a way that it is knowledgeable and easy to comprehend at the same time.
How well do you know Delhi, Delhiite?
Delhi, Dilli, Dehli.
Call it whatever you want. This city has enough reasons to be Ghalib’s muse, isn’t it? Situated in the very heart of India, the capital speaks for its diversity.
Since every name has a story, it is weird how we as Delhiites have made little efforts to find out why some places in Delhi are named the way they are. Chawri Bazar, Mandi House, Majnu ka Tila, among others. Isn’t it an echo of the same Delhi mentality which says, “Red Fort is for angrez log“?
If you’re still scratching your head and wondering what the mystery of these places are, ED demystifies them for you!
1. Mandi House
Mandi is in Himachal, and one wonders why mountains traveled down the plains to settle in this scorching Delhi heat.
Back in the 1940s, the 18th Raja of Mandi, Raja Sir Joginder Sen Bahadur built his residence right next to what is now Himachal Bhawan. After the estate was sold to the government, in 1970, the palace was dismantled and an area was created to make offices, especially the Doordarshan office which still stands today.
Only the name “Mandi” survives now.
It’s definitely NOT Indian National Army, as I have heard a lot of people speculate in the metro. Nationalistic sentiments aside for this!
INA, interestingly, is named after Indian National Airways, a private aviation company which was nationalized and made to merge in 1953 to form Indian Airlines. Since then, the residential area or the INA Colony is maintained by the Airports Authority of India.
Abdulla, an Iranian Sufi mystic during the reign of Sikandar Lodi earned his sobriquet of majnu, which translates to “mad/crazy”.
On July 1505, Abdulla met Guru Nanak and helped people cross the Yamuna for free as his service to God. Over the years, Sikh military leader Baghel Singh built a gurudwara in honour of Majnu on a small mound by the Yamuna.
The gurudwara was therefore called Majnu-ka-Tilla (hillock of Majnu), and the name has stuck since then.
4. Chawri Bazar
Have you ever wondered what “Chawri” even means?
Interestingly, in Marathi, it translates to “meeting place”.
This place was popular for its courtesans and dancing girls in the 19th century. Hence, it was a place where a notable dancer would show her skills to a gathering of men. Another reason given is that the place was originally a residence of nobles where people would settle disputes before they went to the king.
5. Barakhamba Road
There is a 14th-century Lodi-era monument located near the metro station. That monument, as the name suggests, has 12 pillars. Often historians believe that the area enclosed by the twelve pillars might have enclosed a tomb chamber. What’s Delhi without a little spook peppered with history?
The most usual places in Delhi often have to pay for being famous, and their untold stories never manage to come to the surface. Delhi can be a beau ideal for integration and diversity.
Image Credits: Google Images