Town & Places - Gor Khatri

Gor Khatri is an open space in the old city surrounded by houses several storeys high. It was once a holy place where Hindu pilgrims repaired and shaved their heads in a religious ritual. A reference to it occurs in Emperor Babur's memoirs,Babur-namah. During Emperor Jahangir's reign, a row of buildings were constructed as resting chambers for travellers on the orders of his queen, Nur Mahal. It also remained the residence of Avitabile, who built a mud wall around the old city. Alexander Burnes observed wryly:

The active mind of Monsieur A vitabJe has done much to improve the town and tranquillize the neighbour hood: he was building Fine bazaars and widening streets; nay, that most conclusive proof of civilization, the erection of a gallows, proved how much he had done towards bringing this wild neighbourhood under subjection.

Under the British, Gor Khatri became a tehsil / "revenue office" and also housed the town's first fire-brigade established at the turn of the twentieth century. Two vintage fire engines, complete with working accessories, are still garaged there. Now it has been converted into a public place. The structures from several eras are being conserved or renovated. Through the gateway, above which a white marble slab commemorates Avitabile's stay, a path leads into the Mohalla Sethian / "Precinct of the Sethis".

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