Chandnee Chauk
(Silver Street), Delhi

The Illustrated London News

August 8, 1857

"The principal street in modern Delhi is called Chandnee Chauk (Silver-street). On the left side of it, a little beyond a large tree are two small gilt domes, belonging to the Mosque of Roschim-ud-Dowlah, of great interest from the fact of Nadir Shah, in 1738, when he plundered Delhi, having seated himself upon the roof, and, drawing his sword, desired the massacre should continue till he sheathed it. When 100,000 of its inhabitants had been slaughtered, and the Emperor of Delhi, Mohommad Shah, threw himself at his feet, the tyrant returned his sword to his scabbard, and the carnage ceased.
"On the distant rising to the left stands the Eade-gah, where the festival of Buckrah Eade [Eid] and others are celebrated.
"It is difficult from the present appearance of modern Delhi to form an accurate idea of what it formerly was; but the splendor of some of the buildings within the town, and the extensive ruins without, lead one to imagine what it might have been; and history furnishes accounts of its former wealth. The palace was built at an expense of nearly £1,000,000 sterling. There are still remains of a throne called the Peacock Throne, which in 1635 was mounted the first time by Shah Jehan on the birth of a grandson; it had been seven years building, and the jewels alone which decorated it cost £1,250,000 sterling. The revenue of the kingdom at one time amounted to nearly £40,000,000 sterling.
"In January, 1738, Nadir Shah (or Khuli Khan) crossed the Attock into Hindostan with an army of 270,000 men, composed of Persians, Huzzlebash, and Georgians. He encountered Mohammad Shah near Kernaul, and defeated his army of 200,000 men and 5000 carriage guns with great slaughter, and on the 8th of March entered Delhi as conqueror. In May he quitted Hindostan, by Lahore, and carried with him plunder to the amount of £87,000,000 sterling, and his army took away £12,000,000 sterling more; besides which £25,000,000 sterling were paid to his army while at Delhi; making a total of £124,000,000 sterling. There were also taken away 1000 elephants, 7000 fine horses, 10,000 camels, 130 writers, 200 masons, 300 stonecutters and 200 carpenters. It is estimated that during the five months Nadir Shah and his army occupied the country they destroyed 200,000 inhabitants.
"We have to thank Lieut.-Colonel Luard for the accompanying View of Chandnee Chauk, and from his popular work, 'Views in India,' we have quoted the foregoing historical details."


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