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Simran Thind

on 20 October 2013

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The historical journey of the University of Delhi since its inception on 1 May 1922 is glorious. The “Ridge”, another name for the remains of the ancient Aravalli Hills whose rocks crop up all across the city, has its strongest and most sinister formation at Delhi University’s North Campus - now a hotspot for wild monkeys and furtive couples but once the front line for one of India’s most decisive battles. The history of most of the landmarks is connected to the siege of 1857. The British who managed to escape from the rebels in the city - made their way towards the Ridge and took shelter at the Flagstaff. During the battle the lake was used as the main water source. After several days of fighting, the water turned red from the blood of the wounded, thus earning it the name of Khooni Khan Lake.
The Mutiny memorial was originally built for “the Delhi field forces who were killed between May 30 and September 8, 1857” and by “the comrades who lament their loss and the government they served so well”. The number of soldiers, native and white, who were killed, wounded or missing in battle has been carefully etched on the walls.
Vice regal lodge the most important landmark was the house of the viceroy Lord Mountbatten. MH was founded in 1948 by the then vice-chancellor, Sir Maurice Gwyer. Its foundation stone was laid by Lady Edwina Mountbatten on 7 March in the same year.
Miranda House has been widely regarded as a premier institution for higher education of women in India. St. Stephen's is a co-educational institution of higher learning located in University Enclave on the University of Delhi's 'North' campus.
'Gwyer Hall' was constructed in recognition of the services rendered by Sir Maurice Gwyer, the then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delhi (from 1938-52) and the Chief Justice of the then Federal Court of India. PIR GHAIB was built as a hunting Lodge and Observatory by Feroz Shah Tughlaq in the 14th Century. It has a Zenith tube on its roof which can be seen as a dark brown spot on the roof in this image.
Chauburji mosque is close to Chauburja Gate of DDA Park at Kamla Nehru Ridge on northern ridge. It was built during reign of Firoz Shah and later modified during Mughal period. Initially it had four domed turrets on each corner so the name.

A MAJOR step was taken in 1933 when the old Vice Regal Lodge with its extensive gardens was made the Campus of the University. Till today this site remains the nucleus of the University. The old residence of the Viceroy has recently been declared a heritage site and restored to its former glory.
As a repository of history, memory and popular imagination, the Vice Regal Lodge is unique, and it predates the formation of the university. At one level, the building itself is the archive. It holds the memory of being a part of the British cantonment, then a circuit house, then being expanded and transformed into a home for Imperial rulers. The existing structure served as the residency for five Viceroys and the site for major parleys that led to India’s independence.
Gandhi traversed these corridors in planning for a free nation, especially attending lengthy  meetings before signing the pact with Lord Irwin in 1931.
The building records a highly romantic moment. Edwina Ashley, a beautiful, young heiress was visiting her aunt at the Vice regal Lodge when she fell in love with the handsome lieutenant, Louis Mountbatten. The marriage proposal was made in a room,   which is now the office of the Registrar of the University of Delhi and carries a plaque. The aunt, it is said, was ‘disappointed’; no one knew then that Lord Mountbatten would become   a Viceroy (1947) and Edwina would be the First Lady of India.
The Vice regal Lodge Estate was given over to the University of Delhi in 1933.
The story of India’s higher education is delineated in the records of the University of Delhi, preserved   carefully from the early years to the present.
This historic building is the office of the Vice Chancellor and the nodal point from where the university administration functions.
The inter-relationship between the past and the present is encrypted in the Archive, which has been reorganized, expanded and relocated, now occupying three floors within the Viceregal Lodge.
The collection brings alive the story of the geographical area in which the University is placed.
St. Stephen's College is a Christian constituent college of the University of Delhi located in Delhi, India and undoubtedly the most prestigious college of the country. The college admits both undergraduates and post-graduates, and awards degrees under the purview of the University. St. Stephen's offers degrees in the liberal arts and the sciences. 

St. Stephen's is a co-educational institution of higher learning located in University Enclave on the University of Delhi's 'North' campus. In spite of its location in North India, the college has always striven to admit students and select teachers from all communities and from all parts of India. It also admits a small number of students from overseas.


The college was founded on 1 February 1881 by the Cambridge Brotherhood, an Anglican mission from Westcott House, Cambridge, England. It was initially affiliated to the University of Calcutta. In 1882, it was affiliated to University of the Punjab, Lahore. It later became one of three original constituent colleges of the University of Delhi when that institution was founded in 1922. The Rev. Samuel Scott Allnutt was mainly responsible for founding the college and served as its first principal. Allnutt is buried by the chapel in the college's present campus. The anniversary of his death is observed as Founder's Day on December 7 every year.
The college is currently situated on a large and well-known campus in North Delhi, designed by the distinguished Welsh architect Walter Sykes George, and completed in 1941. The college had previously functioned from a campus in Delhi's Kashmiri Gate, housed in distinctive Indo-Saracenic buildings. These now house some government offices. In fact, some college playing fields are still located between Kashmiri Gate & Mori Gate.


In addition to its present academic buildings and halls of residence, the college is famous for its library, which also houses a collection of rare Sanskrit and Persian manuscripts. Facilities for a number of sports are provided for on the college campus. The Francis Monk gymnasium, the Ladies Common Room, and the Junior Common Room provide facilities for indoor sports and recreation. A chapel is open to all members for worship and meditation. The college has six Residences - blocks which allow around 500 men and women to reside on the premises. Student clubs and societies have always played an important role in the life of the college, and are seen as vital to student development. Each academic subject has a society which sponsors lectures and discussions. The popular extracurricular societies and clubs engage in activities concerned with debating, dramatics, trekking, film, social service, photography, quizzing and astronomy. In continuance of a long tradition, societies - such as the Planning Forum, History Society, Gandhi Study Circle, Informal Discussion Group - regularly invite distinguished visitors to address and join issue with students on various topical issues.


The college's halls of residence are spread across six blocks, named for former principals. Each block is supervised by a member of the faculty functioning as Block Tutor. Originally only for male students (termed 'Scholars in Residence') half of these blocks are now allotted entirely to women students. Porters and other staff who work in Residence are referred to as 'gyps' and 'karamcharis' respectively.Allnutt North

- Allnutt South
- Rudra North
- Rudra South
- Mukarji East
- Mukarji West

Miranda House (MH) is a distinguished constituent college for women at the University of Delhi, India. Since its establishment in 1948, Miranda House has been widely regarded as a premier institution for higher education of women in India.The faculty is well known for their meritorious profile. The college has produced women who have excelled in various professions and have contributed in numerous ways to society at large. Miranda House offers degrees in the sciences and the liberal arts.
It was found in 1948 by the then vice-chancellor, Sir Maurice Gwyer Its foundation stone was laid by Lady Edwina Mountbatten on 7 March in the same year.

Located on the university campus, Miranda House is built of red bricks. Its original design was planned by the architect Walter Sykes George. The college shares an architectural affinity with other colonial educational institutions of the country. Located in the University of Delhi's coveted north campus enclave, Miranda House has long been acknowledged for its imperial architectural style and well planned campus. The hostel section is laid out in a quadrangle, with gardens placed out by bottle palms.
In the past six decades, as the college grew, several buildings were added. The major features of its structure are the main college building, the library, and the hostel block. In the 1950s, the new building for lectures was constructed. The principal's office, college office, teachers' lounge, students' common room, sheds for four college buses were built during this period. The college auditorium, equipped with microphones, and the cafeteria building came up during this time. New classrooms were added by partitioning the old library hall. The new administrative section was built in the centre of the teaching wing. Some classrooms on the ground floor were converted into the administrative block, which also houses the principal's new office. In the Golden Jubilee Year, the college auditorium was renovated under the supervision of interior designer and old Mirandian Ketaki Sood, and a rock garden was set up in the space behind the students' common room and in front of the cafeteria.
Miranda House started with a student strength of 33 in July 1948, which rose to 105 by September the same year. It was 2,090 in 1997–98. The strength of the academic staff increased from six in 1948 to 120 (permanent) in 1997–98 and that of non-academic staff from 11 in 1948 (five in the hostel and six in the college) to 120 in 1997–98. There were only 43 students in the hostel in 1948, of whom seven belonged to other colleges of the University of Delhi. The present strength of the hostel is 250.These figures speak for themselves about the growth of the college during the last 50 years.
At the time of its founding, Miranda House had six departments; as of 2012 there are eighteen. Science teaching was conducted in the university but in 1963–64, B.Sc. General and in 1971, B.Sc. Honors teaching work started in the college. Many new subjects have been introduced in the humanities and social sciences since then. Miranda House provides liberal education in social sciences, humanities and the basic sciences. Academic life is rigorous.As of 2012 Miranda House has more than 3,000 students.Miranda House, indubitably, has fulfilled the dreams of Sir Maurice Gwyer as a pioneering, prestigious institution of India.
Gwyer Hall is the oldest and most prestigeous Men's Hostel in the Delhi University. It was founded in the year 1937 with 26 students and was called 'Law Hall'. It was restarted in 1941-42 and was called 'University Lodging House'. In the same year, construction of two wings of the building was completed, and 48 residents were admitted. Its name was again changed, this time from 'University Lodging House' to 'University Hall'. The building of the Hall was completed in 1948 and in that year, the 'University Hall' was renamed as 'Gwyer Hall' in recognition of the services rendered by Sir Maurice Gwyer, the then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delhi (from 1938-52) and the Chief Justice of the then Federal Court of India. Sir Maurice was a well known personality educated at Highgate School. He is credited with having founded the prestigious college Miranda House in the year 1948 in Delhi university. Gwyer was appointed vice-chancellor in 1938. Despite ill health he continued in that office until 1950. He lived in style, and almost from the first his house in Delhi became a place of meeting for a large circle, both British and Indian.
Gwyer, a ‘man of monumental physical proportions and genial aspect’ as one of his colleagues was to describe him, had a distinguished presence (Kent, 51).
Good living he enjoyed—and good company; Maurice Gwyer would have been at ease in Dr Johnson's circle. He was by nature tolerant, and sometimes conveyed a misleading impression of indolence. He was certainly ready to see redeeming features, but drew a rigid line between frailty and vice.
Present Use:
Sir Maurice Gwyer took a keen, personel interest in the construction of this Hall. To honour him the Indian govt in 1948 named the hall after his name. The Hall has now 76 single -seated rooms and 12 double-seated rooms to accommodate 100 full-time postgraduate students and research scholars of the University.

There is a seperate wing of the Hostel, called 'Fellows' Court'. The fellows' Court consisting of two Sections: Teachers Court (TC) and Doctors Court (DC), has accomodation for some University Appointed Teachers and a small number of Senior Research students of the University.

Gwyer Hall is equipped with a modern Kitchen, Gymnasium and has two big beautiful lawns. It also has a Canteen, run on contract basis. The Hall has a few Guest Rooms. This hostel is made of red stone.

Flagstaff Tower is a one-room, castellated tower, built around 1828 as a signal tower. It is located in Kamla Nehru Ridge near the North Campus of Delhi University in Delhi. It was here that many Europeans and their families sheltered on May 11, 1857, during the Siege of Delhi by the rebels at the beginning of the Indian rebellion of that year, waiting for help to arrive from nearby Meerut. Built by the British Indian Army, the building was part of the British cantonment and was used as a signal tower. Before forestation started in 1910, the area where the tower was built was the highest point on the ridge and was mostly barren, covered with low-lying shrub. Today it is a memorial and "protected monument" under Archaeological Survey of India.

Khooni Khan Lake, the 80-foot deep reservoir, which is located deep within the Ridge that now resembles a deserted garden overgrown with wild trees, bushes and cacti. It is also infested with monkeys and feral cats but has a paved road running all through it, with park benches placed along the road and at clever bends inside the thick foliage. It is a long walk and the Aravalli remains jutting out of the ground make it an uncomfortable one.


“During the revolt of 1857 the lake was used as the main water source. After several days of fighting, the water turned red from the blood of the wounded, thus earning it the name of Khooni Khan Lake.”

The lake is now green and is barricaded by thick and sharp wires. The resident monkeys have made it their personal swimming pool, using the overhanging branches of trees as the diving board
All of the Ashokan pillar or column edicts were made out of sandstone rocks quarried from Chunar in theMirzapur District of Uttar Pradesh. They were chiseled at the quarry and then transported to various places in the country. They were chiseled from massive rock blocks of 1.22 metres (4.0 ft.) square and 15.2 metres (50 ft.) long, which were extracted from the quarry. They were chiseled as monolith pillars of size between 12.2 metres (40 ft.) and 15.2 metres (50 ft.) in length with an average diameter of 0.785 metres (2.58 ft.).The pillars were cut, dressed, finely polished into circular columns, and carved with edicts, before being transported to various locations in the country. Two were transferred to Delhi in the 14th century by Feroz Shah Tughlaq

The second Ashokan pillar was shifted from Meerut, in Uttar Pradesh to Delhi by Feruz Shah and erected at a location in the northern ridge of Delhi, close to his hunting palace, between the Chauburji-Masjid and Hindu Rao Hospital. It was an elaborately planned transportation, from its original location, using a 42-wheeled cart to bring it up to the Yamuna river bank and then further transporting it by the Yamuna river route using barges. As seen now, it is of10 metres (33 ft.) height but the pillar was damaged in an explosion during the rule of Farrukshiar (1713–19). The five broken pieces were initially shifted to the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta and later brought back in 1866 and re-erected in 1887. In the early 17th century, William Finch, a historian chronicler, observed that the pillar had "a globe and half-moon at top and diverse inscription upon it".


The Mutiny Memorial is a memorial situated in front of Old Telegraph Building, Kashmiri Gate, New Delhi. Also known as Ajitgarh, it was built in memory of all those who had fought in the Delhi Field Force, British and Indian, during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to present-day Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northern Madhya Pradesh, and the Delhi region. The rebellion posed a considerable threat to Company power in that region,and was contained only with the fall of Gwalior on 20 June 1858. The rebellion is also known as India's First War of Independence, the Great Rebellion, the Indian Mutiny, the Revolt of 1857, the Uprising of 1857, the Sepoy Rebellion and the Sepoy Mutiny.

The Mutiny was a result of various grievances. However the flashpoint was reached when the soldiers were asked to bite off the paper cartridges for their rifles which they believed were greased with animal fat, namely beef and pork. This was, and is, against the religious beliefs of Hindus and Muslims, respectively. Other regions of Company-controlled India – such as Bengal, the Bombay Presidency, and the Madras Presidency – remained largely calm. In Punjab, the Sikh princes backed the Company by providing soldiers and support.The large princely states of Hyderabad, Mysore, Travancore, and Kashmir, as well as the smaller ones of Rajputana, did not join the rebellion. In some regions, such as Oudh, the rebellion took on the attributes of a patriotic revolt against European presence.Maratha leaders, such as Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi, became folk heroes in the nationalist movement in India half a century later;however, they themselves "generated no coherent ideology" for a new order. The rebellion led to the dissolution of the East India Company in 1858. It also led the British to reorganize the army, the financial system and the administration in India.The country was thereafter directly governed by the crown as the new British Raj. IT IS ONE OF THE TALLEST MONUMENT IN THE COUNTRY.
The memorial was built in the Gothic style in red sandstone, with four tiers rising from an octagonal base. The lowest tier consists of seven faces containing memorial plaques and one face holding the stairs to the upper tiers.

The memorial is situated just 200 meters away from the Ashoka Pillar which it was built to be just taller than.
A list of the actions of Delhi's siege and of the officers assassinated between May 30 and September 20, 1857, is engraved on the Mutiny Memorial, but it appears incomplete. It is headed by Nicholson who lies under a simple stone in the Kashmiri Gate cemetery close to Greathed, an agent of the Lieutenant-Governor. Next come Colonel Chester, his aide-de-camp Captain Russel and Captain Delamain, killed by the same cannon shot in Badli Ki Serai battle; all three buried in the Rajpura cemetery.

The Rajpur Road Cemetery, actually known as the Rajpura Cemetery, this burial ground lies cheek by jowl with Patel Chest Institute and Sri Ram College. Encroachment began after the Christians, who had been given some plots there, sold them off to the refugees who came after Partition. Some more land in between the boundary wall and main road has been taken over by squatters and now become a flourishing market where car dent repairers, photostat and STD call booths do good business on what was once God's Acre. The entrance to the cemetery is from the rear through a gateway. Arched tombs dating back to the time of the Mutiny still exist here. There were many graves, about 150 years old, which have been vandalised. The graveyard was reopened for burial after the cemetery near Ajmere Gate was acquired during the expansion of the New Delhi Station.
It was built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, evidently as a mausoleum and probably formed division of his palace called Kushk-i-shikar or Kushk-i-Jahan numa(the hunting lodge).
It derives its name, meaning the mosque with four towers from its original four domes.
It was built in the 16th century and the four tower were constructed few time later.
About 400m south-east of the flagstaff tower lies the Chauburji Masjid, a double-storeyed structure with a central chamber surrounded by a small chamber on each side. There is a “minhrab” or prayer niche, in the west wall of western chamber.

The upper storey of the mosque is occupied by a domed chamber on the southwest corner, other such chambers having disappeared.

It is one of the finest example of the Mughal period construction.
Pir Ghaib stands within the Hindu Rao Hospital compound, at the far end, just inside the gate that leads out onto the Ridge Road. This was originally built by the Tughlaq emperor Ferozeshah (reign: 1351-88), probably as part of a Shikargah (a hunting lodge) known as Kushk-i-Shikar. Inside the Bara Hindu Rao hospital is Kushk-I-Shikar or Firoz Shah Tughlaq’s hunting palace.

This palace is also the place where Pir Ghaib which means 'Disappearing saint' used to stay. There are other stories associated with the building: for instance, the theory that it was probably also used as an observatory. The northern apartment of the building once housed a cenotaph for a Muslim pir or saint who is said to have disappeared mysteriously – which is what gives the building its name (ghaib means `vanished’).

Among its surviving remains exist two narrow chambers giving access from the east and west, with other rooms on the north and south. There are two rooms on the second storey with openings on the east and minhrabs in the west.

The floor and the roof of the southern apartment are pierced by a hole, covered by a hollow masonry cylinder. Its purpose is not known, but it is believed to have been used for astronomical observatory.

Today, Pir Ghaib is a dilapidated yet imposing building composed primarily of stone and rubble, a lot of it now back to square one – heaps of rubble. There is enough to see, however: ruined arches, some still-solid walls, and a recently renovated staircase that leads up onto the roof. During the Mutiny, the trees weren’t around, and the rooftop of Pir Ghaib was a sufficiently high point. This was why it became important for the British, who mounted guns atop the building.
The  Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), as an attached office under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation. Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI. Besides it regulate all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.

The Archaeological Survey of India’s Science Branch is responsible mainly for the chemical conservation treatment and preservation of some three thousand five hundred ninety three Protected monuments besides chemical preservation of museum and excavated objects countrywide. 


Preparation for the Common-wealth Games gave a new lease of life to Mutiny Memorial thorough chemical cleaning. 'The chemicals erased all marks like paan stains, bird droppings and graffiti on the building. They put consolidants in places where the original stone had chipped due to ageing and climatic conditions. This material acted as a binding agent and strengthen the monument's facade'.'

The Flagstaff is a pale pink and has the necessary locks and sign-boards that declare the tower a “protected monument". "We have applied to the Archaeological Survey of India to let us look after this place and the other landmarks of the historic battle, they are considering letting us take over the maintenance. We will then put sign-boards explaining the history behind this place and open up the tower so people can actually walk to the top,” says Prof. Singh, adding that the tower used to be open when he was a college student and that he often came here with his telescope and camera. He wanted other kids to be able to do the same.

Landmarks like st Stephen's and Miranda are renovated after few years.

Delhi Urban Heritage Foundation sanctioned a rupees 3 crosses for the restoration of vice regal lodge in the year 2002.

On the other hand no attention has been given to monuments like Pir Ghaib, Chauburji Masjid etc
Simran Singh Thind
Gurjas Bedi
Rhythm Singh Kaur
Jasleen Kaur
Kamaldeep Kaur
Ashwin Juneja
Arjun Arora
Sagar Marwah
Kevin James
Ashish Kumar

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