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#8 Celebrating Religious Diversity in Old Delhi (Old Delhi Series)

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Old Delhi is a microcosm of India’s religious pluralism. Numerous places of worship belonging to different faiths dot the old city. This co-existence of sacred sites reflects Delhi’s long tradition of religious tolerance.

Historic Temples of Old Delhi

Do you know Old Delhi has ancient temples dating back to the 10th century? Some of the most iconic are Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, Gauri Shankar Temple, and Kalkaji Temple.

You will be amazed to know that the Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, built in 1656, is made entirely of red sandstone. Its bird and animal motifs represent the Jain philosophy of peace. 

Not only that, the ancient Gauri Shankar Temple was built in 800 AD and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located near the massive Red Fort, this temple is an oasis of peace amidst the chaos.

Furthermore, the Kalkaji temple honors the Hindu goddess Kali and draws thousands during the Navratri festival. Built in 1764, it exemplifies architecture from the Maratha reign.

Magnificent Mosques of Old Delhi 

Old Delhi is home to the 17th-century Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque, built by Mughal ruler Shah Jahan. 

Do you know it can accommodate 25,000 worshippers? You will be awed by its grandeur, with towering minarets, red sandstone and marble sections, and a wide courtyard.

You will also be impressed by the architectural brilliance of the Fatehpuri Masjid, built by Fatehpuri Begum in 1650. It features lavish jali work, marble inlays, and domed towers. 

Not only that, but the little-known Arabic Mosque, also called the Quwwat-ul-Islam is the oldest in Delhi, dating from 1198. Its imposing gateway reveals early Islamic construction.

Gurdwaras – Sikh Shrines of Significance

Some of the most significant Sikh Gurdwaras are found in Old Delhi. Gurdwara Sis Ganj honors the martyrdom site of the ninth guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur.

Do you know where Gurdwara Rakab Ganj stands, where his body was cremated? It is an important pilgrimage spot, housing sacred relics.

You will also be amazed by the sheer scale of the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara, which feeds 35,000 daily through its community kitchen. Its shimmering golden dome and sarovar make it an oasis of peace.

Not only that, Gurdwara Damdama Sahib was the residence of the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh, while in Delhi. It commemorates his profound spiritual legacy.

Historic Churches of Old Delhi

St. James Church, built in 1836, is the city’s oldest church, located within Kashmir Gate. British officials, soldiers, and their families prayed here during colonial rule. 

Do you know the Cathedral Church of Redemption is the largest church in Delhi? Built in 1935, its soaring dome, bell tower, and arched porches are architecturally brilliant.

You will admire the unique blend of Eastern and Western architectural styles of St. Stephen’s Church, constructed in 1860. Its tranquil vibe makes it perfect for introspection.

From ancient shrines to elegant mosques and gurdwaras, Old Delhi’s sacred sites give you a chance to experience India’s religious harmony first-hand.

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