This tour will highlight the unique sport of Pigeon Flying which happens around walled city of Shahjehanbad, the old Mughal capital. In fact it was the Mughal rulers who were great patrons of this craft as a means of communication with people of eminence in their kingdom. Kabooter baaz, the pigeon handlers, from Turkistan and Persia (Iran), where this sport was an old pastime, were welcomed at the Mughal court and were, in fact, instrumental in raising it to a fine art for communication. The emperor Jehangir, as the young Prince Salim would spend hours learning the tricks of successful pigeon flying from the pigeon flying mentors in their employ at court. Pigeons were trained to perform complicated manoeuvres such as the wheel, (charkh) and turning somersaults (bazi). Owners of flocks of pigeons spent all year training their birds, as there were competitions held of high prestige and the winners much respected.
The emperor Akbar himself owned about 20,000 pigeons of different breeds and colour; he even gave them names. He called this pastime “Ishkbazi” or love-play. There is certainly some romance attached to the sport. In the days when a girl and boy were prohibited from meeting each other, carrier pigeons were the perfect answer for carrying the messages of love between the couple. All much before the cell-phone era! So it was not always about messages about war and strife or matters of court, that the pigeons were trained to carry.
Why you will love itA knowledgeable guide who knows about pigeon flying for companyLearning all about the craft of successful pigeon flyingDiscoveries about Old Delhi pastimes and aerial sports such as thisInteraction with the pigeons
What you will experience
In this experience you will be introduced to the art of pigeon flying by a kabootar baz (pigeon fancier). First you will explore the lanes and markets around the Jama Masjid. From there you will head on to meet our pigeon fancier. It is here, on the rooftop of his home, that you will experience a truly unique activity - the art of controlling 50 pigeons using a whistle, stick, and a bag of seeds.