Walks in India

June 13, 2008 By:

It has been a while I have managed to write anything on Ghumakkar. A travel related project I was trying to feature elsewhere was keeping me busy and occupied. This post is about the project.

For a long time, I had been thinking that Walking Tours are not very popular in India. In many countries, especially in the west, there are many recognized walking trails, and organized group tours that involve walking in cities. There are very few such walks in India that I have heard of – Bangalore Walks and Intach’s Delhi Walk being some of them. But such initiatives are few.

I then hit upon the idea – why not try to promote walks? With this idea, I conceived a plan to publish a series of walking trails in India, which showcases some interesting walking trails from all over the country. It not only limits to cities, but also covers some unlikely places like sand dunes of the desert, walks in snow and thick forests. The walks have all the necessary details, like map, best season to walk, difficulty level, images from the place along with description of the walk. I have reproduced one such walks here, from Old Delhi. See more walks on India Travel Blog, the series is already halfway, and will be running till the end of this month.

Walks in India: Old Delhi

This post is part of a series on ‘Walks in India‘.

Place: Old Delhi

Highlights: Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, Sis Ganj Gurudwara, Mirza Ghalib’s House, Fatehpuri Masjid, Parethewali Gali

Season: During winter – October to March

Time of the day: 2pm to 7pm

Distance: Approximately 3kms

Difficulty Level: Easy

Map. A map of the walk is below.

The Walk
With inputs from Himanshu Joshi, New Delhi.

Red Fort Jama Masjid

Delhi’s afternoon weather us usually mild in winters, and you will be craving for sun. Walking in the afternoon can be a pleasant experience.

Old Delhi is full of landmarks that have a significant place in history. Nearly every other structure in this part of the town would be a few hundred years old. Begin the walk from Red Fort. The 350-year old fort built by Shah-Jahan can keep you occupied for an hour or more. When you are done, walk on Netaji Subhash Marg to Jama Masjid – the largest mosque in India, another structure from the time of Shah-Jahan.

Visit the mosque, come back on Netaji Subhah Marg and turn left at Chandni Chowk. Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest streets in Delhi and once used to be a busy trading hub. Walk along Chandni Chowk until you reach Sis Ganj Gurudwara. This Gurudwara is located on the site where ninth guru of the Sikhs – Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded on the orders of Aurangazeb. After visiting the Gurudwara, continue further on Chandni Chowk to reach Nai Sarak. Nai Sarak is a wholesale market of books; but what sells primarily is school and college text books. Walk along Nai Sarak to reach the house of famous Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. The Haveli of Ghalib now houses a museum dedicated to the poet.

Come back to Chandni Chowk and continue walking till you see Fatehpuri Masjid. The red sand stone mosque at the end of Chandni Chowk is another structure from the days of Shah Jahan. After visiting the mosque, head back on Chandni Chowk, cross Nai Sarak and turn right to Parathewali Gali. The street is a well-known foodie joint with many small shops selling Parathas and other delicacies. If the long walk is making you hungry, it is time to sit back and stuff yourself with Parathas before you conclude the walk.

About Arun

Arun has written 12 posts at Ghumakkar.

Arun Bhat is professional photographer and travel writer based in Bangalore. He enjoys being on the road, discovering new places and capturing the beauty of this country in words and pictures. Besides contributing pictures and stories for several newspapers and magazines in India and abroad, he also conducts photography tours to beautiful places across India.

13 Responses to “Walks in India”


  1. nandanjha says:

    You are right Arun, its been a while you wrote at ghumakkar. Good to see you around.

    For a Delhiite it may sound routine (and may be non-exciting) but its definitely one exciting walk mostly because of the rush/variety and the mayhem around. You would have to give some time to yourself to diffuse the ambiance in you and try to feel a small part of overall hulla-bullo. There would be carts ferrying good, rickshaws, cars, cycles and most importantly the tons of hawkers selling from kerchief to photo albums to socks to what not. You can survive all this only if you pause and try to visualize the history which this area has seen.

    Puraanee Dilli ki Galiyan….

    Paranthas of ‘Parantha Waali Gali’ is not for the dim-hearted since these are fried (yeah pure fried ones in liters of vegetable oil) ones but do cherish them.

    The walk may not work for small kids or other people because of overall rush.

  2. Cuckoo says:

    Arun,I have been following your walks and have noted down some to do.

    Nandan, You are absolutely right and you just made me nostalgic about those Dilli ki galiyaan..

    When I was growing up in Delhi, it seemed all a part of routine but now ? I yearn to do those walks. On my last 2 trips to Delhi I have done Rajpath to India Gate and one in Old Delhi.
    Even I have done a few walks, both in India and abroad. Have written about some on my blog but will try to write some exclusively for Ghumakkar.

  3. Nandan says:

    Yes, please. Do write here as well. You might inspire some of us Delhi-ites to do these walks :). Unlike mumbai, Delhi-wallahs dont walk too much even though we have the best of parks and lots of open spaces.

    From your comment I am getting the idea of doing some structured/thoughtful walks around India Gate or CP and share. Some day for sure.

  4. Hi, nice blog…
    I want exchange link with your blog, my travel blog is about my historical hometown, Malacca. Please leave me a message if you wanna exchange link with me, thank you.

    My travel blog: Travel In Malacca
    http://travel-malacca.blogspot.com

  5. Ram Dhall says:

    Arun,

    I am very happy about your idea of publishing a series on something less written about the walking trails in India.

    As you have said, in Europe at many places the visitors are encouraged to take such trips, which are well organised and define a recognised route. In the eighties, I took a guided walking tour of Central London and found it exciting and informative. Thereafter, wherever practical, I look for leaflets containing information about such trips. I personally feel that you can learn more through walking down the lanes of a city than just frisking past in cars or buses.

    Thank you for reminding me of my walking tours of many places in India and my memorable walking trips of Geneva, Lucerne, Zurich, etc.

    Look forward to your next post.

  6. Celine says:

    I’ve walked a part of this interesting trail. Nice to read about the rest from your post.

    Yes Arun, a great idea of promoting Walks in India. All the best, and I shall be following up on your posts to follow.:)

  7. manish khamesra says:

    Its definitely a very innovative concept to compile the walking trails in India.

    Walking trails are the only way to trace the treasure in Shekhawati. Scores of tourists can be seen braving the intense Sun.

    Still I feel the need of very well documented walking trails and thanks for taking the initiative.

  8. Arun says:

    Yes Manish. Shekhawati definitely definitely deserves walking trails. May be I will write about it sometime including some documentation, though not as a part of the series. And as is, available tourist material on Shkhawati, online or offline is not as good as it should be.

  9. JATINDER SETHI says:

    As Nandan says it may seem routine to old Delhiwalla like me,who had lot of friends in DU ,from all those Katras, and may avoid juggling thro, those Mughal streets.But I would recommend any of your readers to go and walk in the old historical streets of GOKUL, where you would think you are hearing the Bhajans of Meerabai.And look at the carved doors of the houses.Its all history there in those streets, even older than Delhi.Do some photo album.I may not now go to Ballimaran(?) but I can walk thro your feature,.Thanks for the long walk.

  10. Deepak says:

    Jatinder Ji,

    I fully Agree with you on this one. being a life member iskcon myself,
    i been to vrindaban and Gokul and barsana several times
    The Age old Tree is still ther Along With Meera krishna footsteps
    Many people who visit Mathura vrindaban seldom visit Gokul
    Across the other side of river yamuna ,which is less crowdy and gives a feeling which ios beyond words

  11. navina jafa says:

    The idea of heritage walks especially in Delhi has been expounded by me as a serious activity of cultural representation, and a medium of cultural diplomacy both intra national and internationally. Do consider the reviews on me in the guide book titled ‘Love Delhi’ and the website of one the world’s best tour agencies Remote lands in the US. Recently I have for instance created heritage walking erhibits in Delhi for a large number of Astralian students and academic communty to promote a better understanding of India’s ongoing cultural ruberic.
    Cultural representation is major discourse in the world and the heritage walks is a pwoerful medium of promoting that discourse. My forthcoming book titled ‘Performing Heritage : Art of Heritage Walks ‘ explore this in detail.

  12. JATINDER SETHI. says:

    Mr.Jafa,
    I have come back to this site after a long time,and your comment,just read,is almost an year old.I wonder,if you are still there listening,let us know if your book has been published.Also I couldnt find your guide book.”Love Delhi” in book stores in Gurgaon.

  13. navina jafa says:

    The book printed on Heritage Walks is titled : Performing Heritage: Art of Exhibit Walks by Dr. Navina Jafa; published by SAGE in 2012



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