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India heritage walks: From the Sufi trail in Srinagar to stories about the Begums of Bhopal

Walking tours aren't just for tourists, they also help residents to rediscover and reconnect with their city - its culture, history and hidden gems. This article is part of a series on India heritage tours.

May 15, 2022 / 10:59 AM IST
INTACH Kashmir organises walking tours that focus on the medieval and colonial histories, arts and crafts, and culture of Srinagar. (Photo courtesy: INTACH Kashmir)

INTACH Kashmir organises walking tours that focus on the medieval and colonial histories, arts and crafts, and culture of Srinagar. (Photo courtesy: INTACH Kashmir)

SRINAGAR

Medieval Heritage Trail

Walk through the interconnected passages of the Old City - a historic hub of Kashmir’s political, economic and cultural activity. See the past and the present coming together, with remnants of more than 600 years of Kashmiri heritage. Duration: 2.5 hours

Mughal Heritage Trail

Visit the medieval gateways that guarded the city’s entrances, shrines and mosques built inside the enchanting almond orchard and the colossal fort that looks over Srinagar. Duration: 2.5 hours

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Sufi Heritage Trail

A walk through Srinagar’s spiritual landscape. Duration: 2.5 hours

Colonial Heritage Walk

Palaces, royal courts, colonial administrative buildings, religious structures, graveyards and banks, this walk takes you through some of the focal points of 19th and 20th century Srinagar. Duration: 2.5 hours

Textiles, Arts and Crafts Heritage Trail

Explore the living tradition of walnut wood carving, Pashmina Shawl Weaving, Kashmiri Embroidery, Khatamband and, Wood crafts, Papier Mâché. Duration: 3 hours

Jhelum Riverfront Heritage Trail

A boat ride that covers the traditional riverfront of Jhelum, stretching along both banks of the river, from Zero bridge up to Safa Kadal. Duration: 3 hours

Conducted by: INTACH Kashmir

Cost: INR 1,000 per person (group of 4)

Booking: Call 8377961516; Email: intachkmr.heritagewalks@gmail.com.

OLD DELHI

Old Delhi Tour

The half-day Old Delhi Tour on foot and by rickshaw includes local culture, hidden heritage treasures, a walk through the local bazaar and the region’s oldest spice market (Khari Baoli), street food and interactions with business owners who have worked here for several generations. The tour ends with a traditional home-cooked meal in a haveli.

Conducted by: Dhruv Gupta of Masterji Kee Haveli (Masterjikeehaveli.com)

Duration: 3.5 to 4 hours

Cost: Group Tour (8-10 people): INR 3,750 per person. Private tour also available.

Mehrauli Archaeological Park Heritage Walk

Explore the historically significant monuments spread over 200 acres, the only area in Delhi known for 1,000 years of continuous habitation. Walk amongst the architectural relics of glorious Delhi Sultanate, Mughal Empire and the British Raj. Locations covered: Balban's Tomb, Jamali Kamali, Metcalfe's Folly and bridge, Quli Khan's Tomb, Rajon ki Baoli.

Conducted by: India City Walks (indiacitywalks.com)

Duration: 3 hours

Booking: Call 9899692790; Email: info@indiacitywalks.com

The Old Delhi half-day tour ends with a meal in Masterjee kee Haveli. (Photo courtesy: Dhruv Gupta, Masterjee Kee Haveli) The Old Delhi half-day tour. (Photo courtesy: Dhruv Gupta, Masterjee Kee Haveli)

MUMBAI

Apollo Gate and The Front Bay Walk

Go back in time almost 350 years when there was no Mumbai, just one small island of Bombay. Duration: 3 hours.

Church Gate and The Heritage Mile Walk

Takes you into the heart of the old ‘Fort’. Explore the ‘White Town’ or the European half of the old town that existed within the Fort walls. Duration: 3 hours.

Also read: India heritage tours | Unusual things to do in Mumbai

Bandra, The Queen of Suburbs Walk

Walk begins in the bylanes of Chimbai village, meanders through St Andrews Church, abode of the Ranwar village community, Saint Stephen’s Church and culminates in Bandra Fort. Duration: 3 hours.

Malabar Hill, The Mayfair of Mumbai Walk

On this walk, go to Chowpatty beach, visit Jain temple at ‘teen batti’, find out the etymology of the name Walkeshwar and at the Kamla Nehru Park and Hanging Gardens get an aerial view of the Marine Drive. Duration: 2 hours.

Mumbai in the Indian Independence Struggle tour

On this car-cum-walk tour, visit several spots in Mumbai that played a role in the Indian freedom struggle. Duration: 4 hours.

Conducted by: Raconteur Walks (mumbaiwalkingtours.com)

Cost: Between INR 750 and 2,000 per person (depending on the walk)

To book, Whatsapp: +91 9769187580, Email: mumbai@raconteurtours.com

(Photo credit: Raconteur Tours Mumbai) (Photo credit: Raconteur Tours Mumbai)

KOLKATA

In the footsteps of the Raj / White Town Walk

It is the perfect introduction to British Calcutta, and gives you a sneak peek into what went into the making of the Colonial Capital of India. Walk through Dalhousie Square, now known as Benoy-Badal-Dinesh Bagh, one of South Asia’s few surviving colonial centres.

Conducted by: Calcutta Walks (calcuttawalks.com)

Timings: 7-10 am (April-September) 8-11 am (October-March).

Cost: INR 2,000 per person.

(Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons) (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

GOA

Latin Quarter Walk in Panjim

Walk through Fontainhas, also called the Latin Quarters of Panjim. The tour uncovers the 'Making of Panaji’. Listen to stories about the most prominent monuments of the area; visit a local house and one of the oldest bakeries of the city and try out some local delicacies.

Conducted by: Soul Travelling (soultravelling.in)

Timings: Starts at 8 am. Duration: 2.5-3 hours.

Cost: INR 599 per person.

(Photo: Azulejo Art by Orlando Noronha) (Photo: Azulejo Art by Orlando Noronha)

CHENNAI

The Mylapore Walk

The village of Mylapore pre-dates Chennai. Visit the temple, walk through small lanes with old-style homes, through silk shops, stores selling music and religious memorablia, ‘kutcheri’ auditoriums, etc. The tour ends at the popular Saravana Bhavan for snacks and coffee.

Conducted by: Chennai Magic (chennaimagic.com)

Duration: 2 hours. All days of the week.

Cost: INR 1,050 per person for 7-10 persons; INR 2,150 per person for 2 persons, INR 3,750 for a solo traveller

Also read: India heritage walks | Chennai: George Town history, Mylapore culture, Sowcarpet food trail

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons) (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

LUCKNOW

Wajid Ali Shah Walk

Kaiserbagh Palace Complex was the most well-planned works of grandeur by Wajid Ali Shah, the last ruler of Awadh. This walking tour covers Kaiserbagh, reconstructing it virtually and understanding the personality of the ruler.

Conducted by: Tornos India (tornosindia.com)

Duration: 2 hours. Starts at 3 pm. Does not operate on Sundays.

Cost: INR 3,850 per person (Minimum 2 guests required)

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons) (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

HYDERABAD

The City of Pearls Tour

Covers two of the best preserved monuments from the Qutb Shahi period – the Charminar and the nearby Mecca mosque, followed by the Asaf Jahi highlight of Chowmahalla Palace. Duration: 4 hours

Old Hyderabad Food Walk

Visit some of the best eateries serving Hyderabadi food. From the local take on the famous paya to melt-in-the-mouth kebabs, from different types of chai to the famous Osmania biscuit – taste at least 10 different dishes on the walk. Duration: 3 hours

Conducted by: The Hyderabad Walking Company (www.thwc.in)

Cost: INR 3,000 per person (group of 4 & above); Rs 5,000 for 1 person

(Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons) (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

BHOPAL

Begums of Bhopal Walk

This walk covers stories about Rani Kamlapati and Nawab Sultan Jahan Begum, among other. Places covered – Kamlapati Palace, Gauhar Mahal, Moti Mahal, Shaukat Mahal, Sadar Manzil, Iqbal Maidan, Moti Masjid.

Shahjahanbad Walk

This walk covers the beautiful city of Shahjahanabad in Old Bhopal. Places covered: Taj-ul-Masajid, Gol Ghar, Pari Bazaar, Bab-e-Ali Stadium, Tomb of Dost Mohammad Khan.

Conducted by: Bhopal Walks (bhopalwalks.co.in)

Duration: 2 hours

Cost: INR 300 per person

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons) (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Heritage Walks by India City Walks

India City Walks, a three-time National Tourism Award winner and a Hall of Fame award winner from the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, conducts heritage walks in several cities across India. The per person cost is between INR 1,500 and INR 4,500 (depending on the walk experience). For more details, visit: indiacitywalks.com.



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Preeti Verma Lal is a Goa-based freelance writer/photographer.
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