KUCHA , KATRA AUR HAVELI
“Yeh shehar nahi mehfil hai “(Its not a city, but a gathering)-The statement captures the true spirit of the city. A gathering – people helping, people bitching, people slapping, people hugging, people abusing, people loving.
Once, it was a land of galis (lanes) and kuchas (residential alleys usually inhabited by people having the same occupation). But little remains of Purani Dehli’s canals and tree-lined passageways bespeaking the Mughal era. Windowless hovels and dangling power cables fit the modern description of Old Delhi, aka Shahjahanabad. Its neighborhoods retain almost nothing of their original character.
Chandni Chowk is the smallest parliamentary constituency of the world’s largest democracy. In its many lanes, galis and katras and kuchas , we find remains of India’s past , the roots of India’s culture and the essence of what is known as the Ganga –jamuni tezeeb. Chandni chowk as it had existed a couple of hundred years ago , was a street made of bazaars with a row of banyan trees down the centre , with the silver ribbon of the flowing canal flanked by a wide platform where people sat and conversed. Horse driven carriages, palanquins and sometimes elephants passed through the street.
Kucha: a zone with houses whose owners shared some common attribute, usually their occupation. Hence the names Maliwara, the gardeners&; neighborhood and Ballimaran, the oarsmen’s neighborhood.
Katra: refers to a separate wing of tradesmen and craftsmen belonging to the same trade. They usually lived and worked together. It is a system similar to the guild housing in Amsterdam.
Haveli: A mansion. A normal haveli would have a big courtyard (atrium) surrounded on four sides by spacious rooms and often another walled courtyard around the exterior as well. One of the largest preserved havelis in the area is the Chunnamal haveli.
Sites :Kucha Mahajani , kucha Paatiram , Katra Neel , Katra Asharfi , Ghee katra , Khazanchi ki Haveli , , Mirza ghalib ki Haveli , Haveli Begum Samroo, Batashe Wali (gali) , Chamrewali Gali , Gali Qasim jaan ,