A view of the illuminated Qutub Minar, which is a 73m-high and five-storey tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak. The first three storeys are made of red sandstone, the fourth and fifth storeys are of marble and sandstone. At the foot of the tower is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, which is said to be the first mosque built in India.

Imagine walking around Humayun’s Tomb on a full moon night with your parter. Or just catching up with friends at the Qutub Minar. Better still, hanging out one evening with family at Purana Quila after a tiring day’s work. Well, if you’re planning a late evening adventure in the Capital, encouraged by illumination of the city’s monuments, you aren’t alone. And while there, you can learn about these wonder-inducing monuments better if you opt to be part of the many walking tours at these places to acquaint visitors with their history.

The grand white marble dome of the 16th century mausoleum Humayun’s Tomb, now sines at night after the restorers installed around 800 energy efficient lamps.

The grand white marble dome of the 16th century mausoleum Humayun’s Tomb, now sines at night after the restorers installed around 800 energy efficient lamps. ( Amal KS/HT )

The Old Fort or Purana Quila is somewhat rectangular in shape and is spread over two kilometers. The Yamuna once flowed by the east of the fort. A light-and-sound show is conducted here from 7 PM to 9.30 PM on all days except Fridays.

The Old Fort or Purana Quila is somewhat rectangular in shape and is spread over two kilometers. The Yamuna once flowed by the east of the fort. A light-and-sound show is conducted here from 7 PM to 9.30 PM on all days except Fridays.

“It’s a great opportunity,” says Ramit Mitra from DelhiByFoot Adventures. Sachin Bansal, chief explorer, India City Walks, adds, “We have a special experience called Delhi by Night. Since the monuments have been illuminated, there has been an increase in the number of people wanting to take up these walks than when access to the places was limited to the day. The night journeys at Safdarjung’s Tomb and the Qutub complex are also interesting for transit travellers, such as those stuck at the airport.”

Safdurjung Tomb has been illuminated with 212 mono LED lights, which light up the monument everyday between 7 PM and 11 PM. This monument was built in 1753-54 as a mausoleum of Safdurjung, the viceroy of Awadh under the Mughal Emperor, Mohammed Shah.

Safdurjung Tomb has been illuminated with 212 mono LED lights, which light up the monument everyday between 7 PM and 11 PM. This monument was built in 1753-54 as a mausoleum of Safdurjung, the viceroy of Awadh under the Mughal Emperor, Mohammed Shah. ( Raj K Raj/HT )

And if the weather gods help, the crowds are only likely to increase. Mitra shares, “About five to six years back, we conducted evening walks at the Qutub Minar after it was lit, which were well received. Since news of more monuments being illuminated has come in, we are only waiting for the weather to improve to plan more evening and night walks in these places. Most probably, the Diwali weekend will be the first when we initiate night walks at the monuments where visitor hours have been extended in the evening.”

For a first-timer, the idea of visiting a historical monument after sunset might be daunting. But heritage walk conductors say that the safety of participants is never compromised with. Mitra adds, “We are not going to do anything that damages the reputation we’ve built. When we did the first walk in Old Delhi, we assured people of the same and they later came to say they enjoyed it! Also, when we go in a group of 15-20 to such monuments, which are gated and have ASI guards, it is quite safe.”

The red sandstone walls of the Red Fort (Lal Qila) rise 33m above oldDelhi, and were built in 1638 to deter invaders. The main gate of this fort, which is lit from 7.30 PM to 11 PM daily, is the Lahori Gate.

The red sandstone walls of the Red Fort (Lal Qila) rise 33m above oldDelhi, and were built in 1638 to deter invaders. The main gate of this fort, which is lit from 7.30 PM to 11 PM daily, is the Lahori Gate.

Mitra informs that their group is also planning night photography and Instagram walks at these historical monuments as “night photography is a different game altogether”.

And Delhiites are excited by the new opportunities to explore the Capital better. Take for instance, Sayantani Santra, a Delhi-based visual merchandiser, who earlier attended night walks at Old Delhi and Sanjay Van. “Since the monuments have been lit, they look nice and different. When I did a haunted walk at Sanjay Van, it was eerie; if you believe in spirits you won’t want to get affected by them. But going for a night walk widens your horizon to things you wouldn’t know existed. My favourite will always be Old Fort. Every stone there has so many stories to tell… I’m looking forward to visit it as part of a night walk.”

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First Published: Oct 15, 2019 13:17 IST

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