"Kabootars in Delhi sky" Top 5 Page for this destination New Delhi Local Custom Tip by lynnehamman

New Delhi Local Customs: 22 reviews and 22 photos

  Pigeons in Delhi
by lynnehamman

Wherever we went in Delhi- especially Old Delhi (around Paharganj) we would see these flocks of pigeons, flying in formation. Inevitably there was someone standing on some rooftop, whisteling and calling his birds back home. The sight and sound is magical, especially at sunset. The pigeons are called 'kabootars' and are well loved by mostly the Muslim population in Old Delhi.
This Kabootar racing has been a favourite pastime for centuries, in Delhi. Even the fog and smog of modern city life has thankfully not affected this wonderful sight. The cooing of the birds, and the whistling and coaxing from the master, is just entrancing. We were informed by one old gentleman that pigeon racing is a pastime that is passed on from father to son, and thus the sport has been kept alive for so many years. The birds become almost part of the family, and have given names. Even today there are races (some over very long distances-Delhi to Kolkata). In the past, Kabootars were used to convey messages.
The rooftops in Delhi are not just rooftops- they become recreation areas for families,and one can look down from taller buildings and see the life that happens here. A lovely sight was a father and son standing together, throwing grains of food into the air, where they were scooped up by the Kabootars. The Kabootars become familier with the whistles of their owners, and come back at the first whistle.
Delhi has an amazing variety of bird-life- maybe it has something to do with the many trees and parks. I hope that this never changes. Lodhi Gardens is also good for bird-watching.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 19, 2011
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Comments (1)

  • Saumz's Profile Photo
    Dec 4, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    Delhi, as all say, has lived on through the centuries as its djinns & pigeons have nvr abandoned it.....

    • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
      Dec 4, 2013 at 5:53 AM

      Have you read 'City of Djinns' by William Dalrymple? Wonderful adventures in Delhi by a great writer & historian

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