Nahi haal e Dehli sunane ke qabil
ye qissa hai rone rulane ke qabil
Ujade luteron ne wo qasr is ke
jo the dekhne aur dikhane ke qabil
Na ghar hai na dar hai raha ik Zafar hai
faqat haal e Dehli sunane ke qabil
‘Not worth narrating is the story of Delhi
This story is worth crying and wailing
Such places have the raiders destroyed
Which were places to see and praise
Neither home is left nor door,
Only Zafar is there to tell the story of Delhi’
Banished to Rangoon, the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, penned these lines as he bid farewell to his beloved city of Delhi. In the 157 years since his rather unglamourous exit, Delhi has become the capital of India. The demographic of the formerly regional city has been turned on its head at two notable points in history: first, with the Partition, and then, with the opening of the Indian economy in the 1990s.
Like any other metropolis in the developing world, Delhi has its fair share of urban irritants –such as its crumbling infrastructure, slum clusters and the complicated fight against air pollution. The saving grace, however, is the city’s unparalleled greenery.
Conveniently located next to the historic Delhi Golf Course and in close proximity to Humayun’s Tomb, the Oberoi Hotel (particularly its rooftop restaurants) is the one of the best places to observe Delhi’s green lung. At a recent seminar, I took the opportunity to stitch together some panoramic shots of Central Delhi.
(Click to enlarge photographs)