NEWSLINE ANCHOR: Losing Old City without a map

Prarthana Gahilote
New Delhi, December 28:

IT'S literally a maze. That too without documentation. Despite all the talk
about heritage and conservation, there's no map to guide you through Walled

The Old City of Shahjahanabad does not have a detailed documented map or
inventory of its bylanes to help visitors. What is available though is a
two-page section in Eicher City Map. But even this doesn't have names of the
gullies and kuchas.


The only other information available is a set prepared by two Germans -
Elehlers and Kraft - now available at a shop in Old Delhi. This map called
Shahjahanabad/Old Delhi is a reproduction of a water colour done in 1842.

Another set of maps with exhaustive details on Shahjahanabad has been lost.
The Wilson Survey - a 100-sheet detailed map of the Old City done in 1909 -
was kept at the School of Planning and Architecture. Its only copy with SPA
went missing. Historian Narayani Gupta said this was the last detailed map
of Old City.

The Wilson Survey was apparently also used as a Fire Map for the area. Now,
Old Delhi does not have a Fire Map, which is used by the Fire department in

Gupta said: ''Many interesting places in Old Delhi are not in any map.
Eicher should bring out a little guide on the area.''

According to conservation architect Ratish Nanda, ''There is no count of the
number of buildings and roads in Old Delhi so far. A thorough documentation
is the basic to any development there. Even though the MCD works in Old
Delhi, the results are handicapped because of lack of information.''