Oldest Bazaars, Streets and Shrines of Delhi

Zafar Mahal, Mehrauli Walk#1

WHAT: We can bet a high ratio of Dilliwallas would tell you that Delhi’s oldest bazaars & streets are in ‘Purani Dilli’ (Old Delhi) in and around Chandni Chowk, Jama Masjid & Red Fort. But unfortunately, they would all be wrong! Fact of the matter is that it is Mehrauli, the location of the famed Qutb Minar, which is the oldest part of Delhi, and thus the original Dilli, so to say.

Mehrauli, as described in various recorded chapters of Delhi history, is surely the oldest, continuously inhabited area of our glorious city. Having been formed as a small fortified outpost of few villages, acting as the first line of defense against the Afghan & Mongol attackers in the late 8th century AD, it has seen the rise and fall of all dynasties & empires of Delhi.  Mehrauli is the site of a plethora of monuments, with historians claiming that nearly 250 buildings of architectural, historical & cultural importance dot this area. So much so that a sense of history and legend pervades every lane, house & brick, for here have lived kings, sultans, generals, warriors, Sufi saints and even the British officers till the early 20th Century.

ATTRACTIONS: DelhiByFoot will take you on a tryst with ancient royalty, a melting-pot of cultures and Sufi mystic masters! Learn why and how Mehrauli, has been able to sustain itself over more than a 1000 years, without any of the numerous empires ever abandoning it. Feel a ‘time-machine’ like experience as you walk through multiple layers of history that coexist peacefully in this jumbled-up mass of narrow streets, bazaars & monuments. Add zing to your step as you pick up raw tobacco for a Hubble-Bubble (Hookah/Sheesha) or buy a new sharpened hunter’s knife from one of the shops in the colorful Mehrauli bazaars. An adventure exploring the oldest parts of Delhi will end with us re-living the teachings of Sufi saint Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, through the music of traditional devotional songs, Qawwalis, rendered by family of singers who have been singing at this shrine for more than seven centuries now.



STARTING POINT: Mehrauli DTC Bus Terminal, at Bhoolbhulaiya (Adham Khan’s Tomb).

BEST WAY TO REACH: Take the Metro till Qutb Minar on the Yellow Line (Gurgaoon-Jahangirpuri Track), cross MG Road & then take an Autorickshaw (Rs 40) or Park your cars at Qutb Minar complex & take an Autorickshaw (Rs 20). DTC buses also run from all parts of Delhi to Mehrauli Bus Terminal.


1-      Do wear a good pair of walking shoes or comfortable flip-flops.

2-      Sun-shades/Rain-shades depending upon weather.


1-      Bi-Lingual exploration leaders and facilitators.

To book customised versions of this chapter of Delhi’s story, mail us at explore@delhibyfoot.in/ramit@delhibyfoot.in  OR call us on 9871181775  OR send an online query here

To view other walks, click here

For more pictures click here!