A photo-exhibition with a difference | by Atanu Dey

I have probably started the blog with a wrong title! It is not a photo-exhibition at all but - an endeavor to promote appreciation of heritage among youngsters (and not-so-young people as well). At least that is what DHPC calls it.
And what is DHPC? It's full name is (Delhi Heritage Photography Club) and it is the brainchild and passion of an incredibly committed and dedicated individual called Vikramjit Singh Rooprai. Started originally as a FB group, DHPC has now become a fully living organism of more than 11,300 members, with it's own extremely user-friendly website on Delhi (http://www.monumentsofdelhi.com) , a separate FB group for discussions on heritage (called Heritage Durbar) and a recently started NGO (youth for heritage). And Vikramjit and his merry band of heritage lovers continue to walk through the rubble and ruins in Delhi - shooting them, talking about them and generally having a good time. 

This year, DHPC organized a photo-exhibition on the unknown heritage of Delhi. The exhibition was put up at India Habitat Centre in March 2014. The entries were selected from an open competition where anybody could submit pictures on Delhi heritage excluding the well known ones (like Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Humayun's tomb et al). The pictures were judged by Mr. Sushil Khandelwal and Mr. Amarjeet Maggu and a collection of 75 pictures were chosen.   

The back breaking work of setting up the exhibition was done by Vikramjit and Arvinder Singh Rooprai with some of the photographers pitching in. The exhibition was inaugurated by Prof. Sharif Husain Qasemi - an eminent Persian scholar on 1st of  March, 2014. This was followed up by a lecture by Prof Qasemi as a part of the Heritage Durbar.

The exhibition was an amazing medley of lesser known heritages from Delhi like Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khanan's tomb, Zafar Mahal, Quddia Bagh, Begumpur Masjid and Chor Minar - to name a few. Small placards were also put to describe the history of the place which brought it more relevance to the exhibition.

The winners of the contest were 

The top three pictures were 

I : Monidipa Dey 
Monument : Jahaz Mahal - Mehrauli (near Hauz-i-Shamsi) 

Jahaz Mahal is located in Mehrauli - adjacent to the Hauz-i-Shamsi lake. Named because it's reflection on the lake resembles a Jahaz (Ship), this palace was constructed sometime in the Lodhi period. It was probably used as a Sarai or Inn for the pilgrims coming to Delhi and much later was also the summer palace of the later Moghuls (Akbar Shah and Bahadur Shah Zafar) for a short period. It continues to be starting point of the "Phool-walo ki sair" or "Sair-e-Gul faroshan"

II : Himanshu Rastogi 
Monument : Firoz Shah Tughlaq's tomb - Hauz Khas

This tomb is inside the haus khas park, adjacent to the madrasa. The tomb is made of local quartzite rubble with a surface plaster finish that sparkled in white colour when completed. The door, pillars and lintels were made of grey quartzites while red sandstone was used for carvings of the battlements. There are four graves inside the tomb, one is of Feruz Shah and two others are of his son and grand son.

III. Parth Thakkar 
Monument : Athpula (inside Lodhi Gardens) 

This bridge was built during the time of Akbar, by Nawab Bahadur, a noble man in his court (1556-1605) and is one of the few surviving structures from Akbar’s era. It  once spanned a tributary of the Yamuna that  flowed through  South Delhi. The bridge has seven arches, their span decreasing as one moved from  centre to the bank. The 'athpul' refers to the eight piers that support the arches of this bridge. The top of the bridge and the parapet is paved with grey stones mined from local areas.

As the photographers were mainly amateurs, DHPC also organized sessions with the judges where they analyzed the pictures threadbare. It was refreshing to have honest feedback from these extremely down-to-earth judges.

Photo : courtesy Vikramjit Singh Rooprai (taken from DHPC FB site)

The exhibition stayed at India Habitat Centre till 12th April and after this, it was hosted by ASI at the Red Fort (or Qila-i-Mubarak - as the hardcore heritage lovers would have it). It was inaugurated by the Director General of ASI on 18th April - the heritage day.

The exhibition will continue to stay in this heritage site for a few more days. Brothers (and sisters), fellows, countrymen (and women) - please try to pay a visit to this gallery. 

It  would certainly be worth the effort. 

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