Delhi, or Dilli as it is fondly called, boasts of a great cultural heritage. The city is blessed with a varied culture and can rightly be said to be a small-scale version of the entire nation.
The capital city of India is home to some of the most famous monuments and streets in India. While you might have heard of or seen all these landmarks, you probably are not aware of the history behind the names of these historical places.
Here’s how the bustling streets and historical monuments of Delhi got their names:
1. Connaught Place
Source – asiagreenbuildings.com
The ‘dil’ of Dilli, Connaught Place aka CP, was constructed in 1933. It was named in the honour of the first Duke of Connaught, Prince Arthur. He was the 7th child and 3rd son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
2. Chawri Bazar
Source – wordpress.com
Chawri Bazar, the first wholesale market in Old Delhi, was established in 1840. Apart from boasting of hardware shops, it is also the go-to-market for wedding cards. This renowned market derives its name from the Marathi word ‘chawri’ which means the meeting place. It is said that in the 19th century, meetings or ‘sabhas’ would take place here to settle disputes.
3. Chirag Dilli
Chirag Dilli gets its name from the well-regarded Sufi mystic, Nasiruddin Mahmud. He was the most loved pupil and successor of the Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya. Nasiruddin was also called ‘Roshan Chiragh-e-Dehli’.
4. Siri Fort
Source – wikimedia.org
The fort is called Siri because according to history, the heads or ‘sir’ of 8000 Mongol soldiers killed during the Mongol invasion, were used as the foundation to build the fort.
5. Khooni Darwaza:
Source – groupouting.com
Constructed by the Mughal emperor Sher Shah Suri, Khooni Darwaza is called so because, during India’s first war of independence in 1857, three princes of the Mughal dynasty — Mirza Mughal Sultan, Mirza Khizr Sultan and Mirza Abu Bhakt – were stripped naked and shot at point blank range by a British Soldier, Captain William Hodson. However, there are also legends of death surrounding this place since a long time before the war of independence.
6. Barakhamba tomb:
Barakhamba tomb, a 14th century tomb from the Lodi dynasty, is so called because the tomb is erected on twelve pillars i.e. bara khamba in all. An upscale area of Delhi, Barakhamba Road, also got its name from this monument.
7. Chandni Chowk:
Source – wordpress.com
Delhi’s busiest market, Chandani Chowk or Moonlight square was designed by Shah Jahan’s eldest daughter, Princess Jahanara in the middle of the 17th century. The main compound of the market was in the shape of a square and had a pool right in the centre. At night, moonlight shimmered in the water of the pool, giving it the name Moonlight square or Chandni Chowk.
8. Dhaula Kuan:
One of the busiest intersections in Delhi, Dhaula Kuan, gets its name from the white well that was built there. The well was speculated to have been constructed by Shah Alam II, the 16th emperor of the Mughal dynasty.
Source – panoramio.com
The meaning of Shahdara is said to be doors of kings. It was called thus due to the passageway it provided from Delhi to Meerut and back. That’s how one of the oldest areas of Delhi, and an integral part of ‘purani Dilli’, got its name.
Source – dfordelhi.in
Situated on the banks of the river Yamuna, Majnu-ka-Tilla is home to the Tibetan population of Delhi. It gets its name from the Iranian Sufi mystic, Abdulla aka Majnu. Manju lived atop a tilla or mound on the banks of Yamuna. That’s where he met the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak on July 20th, 1505.
Now that you know the meaning behind the names of all the monuments in Delhi, we bet these places wouldn’t be the same to you anymore!