The stories told by India’s doorways

By Catherine Torbey:

“Every doorway, every intersection has a story” – Katherine Dunn.

In India, the vibrant culture and diversity of its people is everywhere to be seen. But sometimes, the most interesting and intriguing stories are behind closed doors.  It is a country of extreme diversity and contradiction, home to the wealthy as well as to the desperately poor. We may not know the personal stories of the people that live behind each one, but  the doorways of India can tell us a story all on their own.

A doorway found within Humayun’s Tomb.

A hidden doorway found at Humayun’s Tomb, the tomb of the Mughal Emporor Humayun in Delhi, India. It  was commissioned by his first wife, Bega Begum in 1569-70, and was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal.

A doorway found in the passageways of the Taj Mahal.

Found at the end of a laneway of the Taj Mahal which was filled with declarations of love scrawled all over its historical walls. A symbol of love, the Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emporer Shah Jahan for the tomb of his favourite wife. The cost estimated at the time was approximately 32 million Indian rupees and it took about 20 years to complete. With that kind of sacrifice, could this be the doorway to love?

A doorway at the India Gate, Delhi.

A doorway at the India Gate, Delhi.

This doorway is one found at the India Gate in New Delhi, a war memorial for the British Indian Army who died in World War One. The door is made up of the same red Bharatpur stone as that of the magnificent arc of the memorial. Built in 1917, the King’s message regarding the importance of the India Gate was to remember “the glorious sacrifice of the officers and men of the Indian Army who fought and fell”.

A doorway of the Kathputli Colony slum in Delhi.

A doorway within the Kathputli Colony slum, the largest slum in Delhi. A colony of puppeteers and street performers, the slum is the home to 40, 000 people.

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A doorway of the Kathputli Colony slum in Delhi.

With so many people, the Kathputli Colony slum is filled with interesting and diverse doors. Each one different from the other, just like the people that live behind them.

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A doorway of the Kathputli Colony slum in Delhi.

The paint may be peeling, but the Kathputli Colony slums are as alive and vibrant as ever.

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A doorway of the Kathputli Colony slum in Delhi.

Makeshift homes made out of scraps and rubble, the Kathputli Colony doors are often a little worse for wear. With only four functioning toilets for the entire population of 40, 000, the slum demonstrates the extreme poverty that can be found within India.

A doorway found just outside of the Kathputli Colony.

A doorway found just outside of the Kathputli Colony.

Found just outside the Kathputli Colony slum, these contradictions of wealth are evident in this doorway, with an intricately designed gate and extra security – vastly different to the broken doors with no locks.

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