Making Heritage Fun at Purana Qila, New Delhi

Pragya Purana Qila

A month and a half ago, one of my faculties in college posted the #MakeHeritageFun event on one of our college facebook group. Luckily, it happened to take place exactly two days after my exams, so it intensified my curiosity tenfold. Being a student of Architecture and belonging to a family of architects, artists and historians, I knew that there was nothing that was going to stop me from attending the event – not even the fact that it was supposed to take place on a Sunday, early afternoon.

Purana Qila in Shadows

Purana Qila Detailing

Purana Qila Arches

Pragya Purana Qila

Fast forward to the 20th of December, 2015 – After taking the metro to Pragati Maidan and then an auto to the Delhi Zoo/Old Fort drop off, I, along with my trusty camera finally reached the venue. The GoUNESCO volunteers waited for the participants right at the ticketing counter and were not only welcoming, but were also up for a conversation with us – I instantly knew that I was going to enjoy my day for sure. Since I was one of the early birds to reach the venue, I was asked to venture inside the fort and wait for some time for more people to come. Now being a rebel as I am, I decided to make the most of my time, I lost myself in the fort, trying to absorb the most out of the heritage value that the fort holds. I also spoke to a lot of people working there to understand how the fort was planned and how every architectural element worked to make the fort of its fame. Not only did I get to know about more things, but I also got to know people belonging to different fields – from historians to botanists to archaeologists.  And I stopped at places to click a few pictures – who doesn’t like capturing moments now?

Din Panah/ Shergarh/ Old Fort, whatever one may refer to this architectural marvel is built upon the Hindu mythological city of Indraprastha or Indrapat, we were told by one of the coordinators there. After being given a short brief about the history of the Old Fort, we introduced ourselves to each other. Shortly, we were divided into groups so that we can start with the Heritage Hunt that was planned for us. We were provided with a map of the fort along with its 6 main architectural highlights. There were instructions given to us and a crossword for us to solve simply by putting the names of the 6 highlighted places.

After completing the puzzle, we were asked to do a task at the designated place which included clicking pictures, having a conversation with a visitor to the fort, talking to the volunteers and a lot of exploring. And after completing every task, we were asked to click a selfie with the respective coordinator at the place, as a proof that we had completed the given task. After a lot of walking, a lot of talking, and six selfies down, we read the seventh riddle which was as follows:

‘A place of belief
with the element of relief
A view so serene
surrounding the garden lush green
Fusion of past and present makes it a beautiful blend
A message of harmony is what it aims to send
Mix of architectural styles are like the treat to the eyes
Blend of the cultures and tradition like the peaceful byes
What makes it so distinct is its name
It’s the same as of Din Panah’s fame…’
…. which lead us to the last location on our map – the absolutely stunning Qila-e-Kuhna mosque where the entire GoUNESCO team and the participants who finished the hunt before us were waiting. I remember the sign of relief on everyone’s face. We could finally halt, rest and chill with everyone else. While we waited for everyone else, we all spoke to the interns and coordinators and they were more than happy to share their experiences and escapades while working with GoUNESCO. After a fun session of clicking pictures of the mosque, of my fellow participants and a lot of group pictures – the winners of the heritage hunt were declared and were given their certificates.

That goes without saying that not only was that day fun and memorable, I can only imagine what the internship program holds in stock for me. Till then, I’ll sit back and do what I do… I’ll keep on wandering, I’ll keep on wondering!
Intangible Cultural Asset