Love after Covid – Delhi couples flock to landmarks, from Sunder’s nursery to Qutub Minar

Couple hang out at Sunder Nursery | Photo: Manisha World | The imprint

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MMonuments have always been intimate to Delhi and to lovers of the city. For a year, all most friends, lovers, couples knew about were WhatsApp messages, video calls between work from home, online lessons and chupke-chupke calls on terraces or balconies. Covid had forced us all inside, some with little to no privacy. But online privacy can’t equal walking through the Sunder Nursery holding hands or lazing around the Qutub Minar complex in the winter sun.

After two confinements, the inhabitants of the capital slowly rediscover the intimacy in these monuments, and come back to reclaim their spaces of love. Families, couples and lovers are once again sitting in the sun at these historic sites as pandemic restrictions relax.

At the tomb of Safdarjung, a couple walks past the monument |  Photo: Manisha World |  The imprint
At the tomb of Safdarjung, a couple walks past the monument | Photo: Manisha World | The imprint

Love is an integral part of every monument in India – it always has been. These monuments were built in memory of people and their loved ones. And now are lived spaces. A young married couple from the United States, who were exploring the Mughal architecture of Humayun’s Tomb, found it amusing that the monuments were filled with couples hanging out. It was the third monument they had visited since their arrival in the capital.

At Humayun's Tomb, a Couple Sits in Front of the Monumnet |  Photo: Manisha World |  The imprint
At Humayun’s Tomb, a Couple Sits in Front of the Monumnet | Photo: Manisha World | The imprint

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The modern lover also leaves his mark on these monuments by scribbling or vandalizing them. So, Kavita and her lover may not be together anymore, or she may not have accepted his love, but he chose to declare it on the walls of Muhammad Shah Sayyid’s tomb in Lodhi Gardens.

On the walls of, outside the tomb, lovers wrote their names |  Photo: Manisha World |  The imprint
Names scribbled on the walls | Photo: Manisha World | The imprint

Delhi lovers mainly come here from Monday to Friday. On weekends, families and groups of friends take their spaces to corners, under trees and inside monuments.

On the walls of the tomb of Muhammad Shah Sayyid in Lodhi Garden, names written |  Photo: Manisha World |  The imprint
names written on the walls of the tomb of Muhammad Shah Sayyid in the garden of Lodhi | Photo: Manisha World | The imprint

Two bank workers came to Sunder Nursery with office bags, but they did not have office documents or laptops – the bags contained sheets and food. They spread a flowery sheet on the freshly cut grass of the Sunder Nursery and lay down in the Delhi winter sun. Their families did not know this blossomed love that was formed at office conferences. They said, “We were exhausted from work during the pandemic months. Life was just the office and home, and we couldn’t meet because of the pressure of work. It was tiring. Their friends recommended Sunder Nursery to them. One Wednesday morning, they decided to lie down and enjoy their afternoon together.

Under the Shady Trees at Sunder Nursery |  Photo: Manisha World |  The imprint
Under the Trees at Sunder Nursery | Photo: Manisha World | The imprint

For young lovers, the monuments of Delhi have been a sanctuary. Affordable ticket prices, clean and open spaces, birds chirping and hot sunshine. But because of Covid, there was a feeling of emptiness.

We spoke to another couple. A student visiting Safdarjung’s grave with her boyfriend. It was their first time together in Delhi, and the first time they had visited a monument. They were in a long-distance relationship that has survived the wrath of the covid and the online world. They dated for three years and met almost after a year. “I was irritated by the video calls, I wanted to meet him so badly, but he was in Kerala and I was in Delhi. Some days it was even difficult to look at the screen, I missed holding my hand.

Au Jardin Lodhi |  Photo: Manisha World |  The imprint
Au Jardin Lodhi | Photo: Manisha World | The imprint

Read also : The Sunder Nursery is not just the new Khan market. This is Delhi’s paradise in the event of a pandemic


The confinement has also taken a toll on mental health. There was growing frustration with the limitations on where we could go. The intimacy and happiness that a physical encounter brings were no longer available.

A couple from Rajouri Garden also brought the man’s brother to Humayun’s tomb. The man said the distance from his lover made him anxious, which affected other areas of his life and made it difficult for him to concentrate at work. They met after three months, when the lockdown was relaxed. “Inki ankhein dekhkar pata lag jata hai inke dil mein kya chal raha hai, by locking ke wajah se inki maan ki baat bhi nahi samajh pa rahe le,” he said.

At Lodhi Garden, a couple walks holding each other |  Photo: Manisha World |  The imprint
At Lodhi Garden, a couple walks holding each other | Photo: Manisha World | The imprint

Jawaharlal Sharma has been a tour guide in Delhi for over 20 years now. He noticed that the Qutub Minar was seeing more couples than usual. “Since the lockdown was lifted, we see a lot of couples, especially young people wandering around the monument complex,” Sharma said.

At Lodhi Garden, a couple sits on a bench at night |  Photo: Manisha World |  The imprint
At Lodhi Garden, a couple sits on a bench at night | Photo: Manisha World | The imprint

A documentary filmmaker, who came to Safdarjung’s tomb with his friend, said couples love the great outdoors. “Monuments are breaths for lovers.

A few clicks on a selfie at Humayun's grave |  Photo: Manisha World |  The imprint
Couple Click Selfie at Humayun’s Tomb | Photo: Manisha World | The imprint

(Edited by Neera Majumdar)

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