21 Sep Kashmiri Gate
The Gates that changed the course of India’s history
Against the wall was a simple stone-carved plaque that commemorates the day September 14th 1857, and listed those killed and mortally wounded. The original letters have faded over time, prompting the ASI to erect a steel replica on the side, lest these poignant words are lost forever. It’s a moving reminder of the day the British force stormed Delhi and decisively tilted the fortunes of the 1857 Uprising. The plaque reads ‘…it was after sunrise on that day that the under mentioned party advancing from Ludlow Castle in the face of a heavy fire…lodged power bags against and blew in the right leaf of this gate thus opening a way for the assaulting column.’ The names of the eleven mortally wounded or killed included Lieutenants, Sergeants, Corporals as well as “Soobedar”, “Jemadar”, “Havildar” ; both British names and Indian.
Attached to Kashmiri Gate was a small section of the original city walls which are still intact. This is not generally open to the public, so I approached the small ASI office (Archaeological Society of India) tucked to the right of the complex for approval to climb to the top of Kashmiri Gate. I met a young and pleasant ASI officer, who readily agreed to my request and also volunteered to accompany me for the short climb to the roof. We together ascended a narrow winding staircase one behind the other to emerge on the top of Kashmiri Gate, with sections of the walled ramparts stretching to our left and right. As I stood above these historic arches, looking down on to the busy thoroughfare below, I could sense what the sepoys must have felt on that misty September morning in 1857, peering in to the morning haze for signs of the fearsome John Nicholson and his invading British forces…
The Legend of Nikal Seyn
How to get here:
- Closest metro: Kashmiri Gate
- Open from sunrise to sunset.
- Toilet facilities available.
- Parking is available at the metro station car park.
- L.J Trotter, “The Life of John Nicholson” (London; John Murray, Albermarle Street, 1897)
- William Dalrymple, “The Last Mughal, The fall of a Dynasty, Delhi 1857” (New Delhi; Penguin Books India 2006)
- Sir J.W. Kaye, “Lives of Indian Officers Vol II” (published by JJ Keliher & Co Ltd, 1904)
- Archaeological Survey of India, “Monuments of Delhi” (Delhi, ASI, 2010)