Kashmere Gate: The start and end of the most prominent eras for India

 Kashmere Gate: The start and end of the most prominent eras for India

Dated from the time and era of Shahjahan, Kashmere Gate stands in the North of Delhi. It is the mark reflecting the transition of power from the Mughal Empire to the British Raj. It indeed plays a major role in the Indian Mutiny against the British on 14th September, 1857. The Kashmere Gate or the Kashmiri Gate is named so because it leads to a route towards Kashmir. This monument not only beholds and reminds of the Indian history but also runs a cathartic series from anecdotes of the 1800s and the British invasion of India.

When Shahjahan decided to change base from Agra to Delhi, he had built fourteen gates to enter Delhi, which was then known as Shajahanabad. One of these gates was the Kashmiri gate. One side of the gate led to Kashmir and the other led to the Red Fort. The architectural plan and structure of the gate was strategically and intelligently placed. Within the wide section between the entry and the exit, there is a quarter for soldiers to store their arms and ammunitions. The inside portion of the gate, was the meeting point for the King and the soldiers to discuss and plan about the battles coming their way.

The broken parts and the niches created on the walls are not because of the age of the construction, but are the marks made by the cannons launched by the Britishers to enter India. Those niches are still kept intact to reflect the plights the old constructions have been through for standing tall and protecting our country. There used to be a wooden door at the entrance of the gate that fell open into a thirty feet pond right in front of the entrance, though, the pond now has been covered up with a patch of land. The door would be kept shut all night and no one would be allowed to enter. An iron gate at the back of the construction would be opened to let people in after verification. The internal structure is beautifully carved in a circular manner for sound clarity during wars and battles.

When the British came in 1803, they found the walls of Shahajanabad lacking repairs. They reinforced the City Walls. After the Indian mutiny in 1857, the Britishers settled around the area of Kashmere Gate and built the St. James Church which is one of the oldest churches in Delhi. The Lothian Cemetery was also constructed by the Britishers where the bodies of the British soldiers would be buried. The cemetery consists of bodies of the British soldiers’ families too.

There also lies a mysterious and spooky story in this area. Since ages, the area of the Kashmere Gate and the Lothian Cemetery has been known for its haunted stories. Some locals seem to dismiss those stories, whereas some seem to confirm that they are true.

As the stories go, some people have seen a white woman at the gate of the Lothian Cemetery smoking a cigarette. Apparently, she has even spoken to some of the locals and disappeared. The other story goes about a British Soldier who was in love with an Indian woman. As per the locals, Tina was the name of the woman. Tina’s family had gotten her married to someone else, for which the British soldier shot himself in the head. The spirit of the British soldier still lives in the cemetery. The locals have heard crying voices in the name of the Indian woman in the cemetery.

The Kashmere Gate might definitely be one those monuments that are neglected and not paid much heed to, but holds many significant stories as remembrance. Though it is not a famous monument in India, the Kashmere Gate has become a protected monument for the ASI, may be hence, remains unscathed from public interference and ruins.

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