Picture shows Nitika Arora and Madhavi Menon.

On your next trip to Delhi, once you have visited the prominent historical landmarks like the Red Fort and Qutub Minar, take time off to listen to some forgotten stories and visit some lesser known monuments.

You may find Yuveka Singh and Meghali Roy of Darwesh, a storytelling organisation, leading a group through medieval ruins or through narrow bylanes of Old Delhi. While heritage walks mostly concentrate on history and architecture, these sessions are more about people, first-person accounts and a living culture.

“We dig up stories hidden in the past, locked in the present and buried within ourselves. The idea is to bring together spaces, places and people in a matrix of stories that connect us with our roots,” she says.

For one of its event at the Roshanara Garden in North Delhi, Darwesh brought in two professional actors, Nitika Arora and Madhavi Menon, and the story unfolded through a dialogue between sisters Jahanara and Roshanara, two powerful women of 17th century India.

On Women’s Day, for instance, during the heritage walk-cum-storytelling session, the organisation took a group of women to the tomb of Razia Sultan where the story was retold through the use of masks.

So, the next time you visit the Old Fort or Chandni Chowk, look around and you may spot a storyteller who can take you through the labyrinth of history.


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