History is more than just what meets the eye and the Northern Ridge, in the heart of North Campus, proves this right. Beneath the hustle bustle of the campus and its ever changing environment lies the Ridge or as we call it, Bonta. What is now a prime spot for love stories, and activities that we probably shouldn’t mention, has seen more of our history than we ever would.
The area is an extension of the ancient Aravalli Range and covers a distance of almost 35 kilometers in Delhi and has been into existence for as long as we know, in fact, this is where the British established their base to carry out a siege over Delhi during the Revolt of 1857. The Flagstaff Tower which continues to exist in the Ridge area was used as a signal tower and is where the mutineers put up a last fight before retreating into the city and facing defeat.
The Northern Ridge, however, is only the smallest segment of the actual ridge which is divided into four parts – The Northern Ridge, The Central Ridge from Sadar Bazaar to Dhaula Kuan, The South-Central Ridge near JNU and Vasant Kunj and The Southern Ridge near Tughlaqabad and Bhatti mines.
Despite being a small segment, the Ridge encloses some major historical values. There is an Ashokan Pillar here brought to Delhi from Meerut by Firoz Shah Tughlaq in 1356 and a Mutiny Memorial which is again a tower commemorating the battle between the British and the Indians, back in 1857. Another important and intriguing part of the Northern Ridge is the “Khooni Lake”, named so because during the revolt of 1857, the lake, which was used as a water source, turned red with the blood of the wounded. It’s hard to find this lake in the first place as it is located deep in the ridge and even if you do find it, all you will see is overgrown wild trees and bushes with an overflowing army of monkeys.
Even if you plan to just sit there and imbibe the serenity of the lake (That is, if you manage to get a spot without painfully romantic couples hogging every little space), you will not come across any signs of history, due to the absence of any sign boards. Instead of enthralling you with remnants of one of the most significant struggles in Indian History, the littered lake might just leave you disappointed.