City Hangout – Barahpulla Flyover, Central Delhi
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This flyover has something unique: one always hopes for a traffic jam while one is on it.
Why? Because of the view.
And such traffic jam there is, one recent evening on Baba Banda Singh Bahadur flyover (also known as Barahpulla) in central Delhi. The stunning view is available to most commuters stranded there at the rush hour. Towards the left (if you are facing the direction of Noida), you’ll easily spot a monument whose dome is partly layered with white marble—looking like half-eaten icing on a cake (see photo). And behind it, slightly towards the right, stands another monument, which is a tad more graceful in its appearance. The first is poet Rahim’s tomb, and the other is Emperor Humayun’s tomb.
A handful of terraces in upscale Nizamuddin East are said to have breathtaking views of Humayun’s tomb. The same neighbourhood also has a few residences facing Rahim’s tomb. A very few houses in the locality offer a view of both the monuments. But even those cannot rival with the panoramic view of Humayun and Rahim as seen from this flyover, freely accessible to every citizen.
And the flyover goes beyond these two Mughal-era edifices. It reaches so high up into the air, that a commuter might as well be perched on a low-flying drone. As the climb starts from Zakir Husain Marg, it passes by a drain that overlooks the rear of Nizamuddin Basti, whose brick walls and balconies are painted in shades of green, blue, pink and orange. The sight is so picturesque that it has been instagrammed to death, and even graces the cover of a book (Delhi Metropolitan, by Ranjana Sengupta). A careful gaze will discern that the colourful spectacle is crisscrossed with small balconies and smaller windows, indicating that this is a locality of cramped housing. As your vehicle inches forward, you may note how subtly the zigzagging claustrophobic architecture of the Basti evolves into the sleek tree-lined bungalows of Nizamuddin West. This brief drive gives a most vivid understanding on the disparity of city life, rivalling respectable scholarly works on this topic.
This evening, alas, the traffic jam on the flyover has eased in no time, and one wishes there had been more time to take in the views.
A view from the jam