Take these unconventional walks in some of India’s storied cities
From crime trails to djinn-filled medieval forts, here are some interesting ways to rediscover some Indian cities
MURDER AND MAYHEM WALK, HERITAGE WALK CALCUTTA | KOLKATA
In the late 1800s, a series of spine-chilling, unsolved murders and disappearances took place in north and central Kolkata, and were documented by the Calcutta police department. Tathagata Neogi, founder of Heritage Walk Calcutta, says: “The walk looks at these crimes through prisms like gender and race. Some crimes were overlooked because Caucasian people were involved, while women were involved in some others. All these aspects help to put the crimes and murders into perspective."
HeritageWalkCalcutta.com; ₹650 per person for a scheduled walk, ₹1,000 for a private one
ARCHITECTURE WALK, MADRAS INHERITED | CHENNAI
Chennai’s oldest areas, such as Mylapore, Triplicane and Royapettah, are known for colonial houses and buildings constructed between the early 19th century and first part of the 20th century. While the walks are designed by urban design and interior firm Triple O Studio, Shalini Ravikumar, operations head at Madras Inherited, says: “Little attention is being given to Chennai’s heritage, which is leading to the structures being demolished. That’s why we started Triple O Studio’s heritage wing with the walks."
TripleOStudio.com/MadrasInherited; ₹700, and ₹450 for students
KASHMIRIYAT, BREAKAWAY | SRINAGAR
Breakaway lets you explore Kashmiri handicrafts like papier mâché, carpet-weaving and copper work, and interact with artisans. Breakaway’s co-founder, Shilpa Sharma, says, “This walk takes you through the unknown lives of the craftspeople." Break-away.in; costs depend on the group size and season.
CHRISTIAN ARTS WALK, SOUL TRAVELLING | GOA
Velha Goa (Old Goa) is home to some of the state’s oldest ecclesiastical monuments. Some of its churches, such as those of Santa Monica, Our Lady of Rosary and the ruins of St Augustine, are known for their history and architecture. During the restoration of some of them, an art form called Sgraffito—which is similar to the Kaavi art form but executed differently—was found underneath the wall paint. In Kaavi, murals are painted with a red laterite pigment against etched white walls. In Sgraffito, the pigment is applied all over white walls, and then etched out. Varun Hegde, founder of Soul Travelling, says, “The Portuguese liked Kaavi so much that they tried to replicate it." Sgraffito was used extensively after Portuguese missionaries arrived to spread their faith. “The walk traces Portuguese influence on Goan culture through art, archaeology and religion," says Hegde.
SoulTravelling.in; ₹499 per person
MUMBAI STREET WALK, BOMBAYWALLA HISTORICAL WORKS | MUMBAI
Bombaywalla helps you listen to the voice of the people from its everyday spaces, such as launderettes, barber shops and photo studios. Founder and curator Simin Patel says, “These form the heart of the city." The inclusion of such overlooked establishments—such as Kalbadevi’s blacksmiths K.N. Ajani—in the tour helps them earn publicity. Participants are encouraged to interact with the owners of these establishments. Bombaywalla.org; ₹900 per person
DJINN TALES WALK, DELHIWALKS | Delhi
The areas of Mehrauli and Feroz Shah Kotla—the former has 16th century Sufi mausoleums and the latter was a citadel during the reign of the 14th century Tughlaq dynasty—are known as places where djinns reside. Delhi Walks’ chief explorer Sachin Bansal says: “Despite the advent of sprawling malls and swanky roads, Delhi remains a land rooted in folklores and legends, with haunted corners and unfinished tales. We let you discover these with passion and respect for the culture they are a part of."
DelhiWalks.in; ₹3,000 per person
FIRST PUBLISHED13.07.2019 | 10:15 AM IST