November 2018


The Charm of New Delhi
November 2018




Enjoy watching the spectacular sunsets from the President's Residence – Rashtrapati Bhavan

India's capital city is a buzzing metropolis, located between the Aravalli hills and the Yamuna River, and has on offer a variety of historic sights, museums, parks, shops, bars and restaurants. From modern New Delhi with its Parliament buildings to Gurgaon with its glitzy malls and old Delhi with its teeming markets, it is a city of colonial charm and contemporary trends.


Words: Kalpana Sunder


Start your day walking in Lodi Gardens - an oasis of tranquility with verdant lawns, fountains, gargantuan trees with parrots and squirrels, and dotted with beautiful 15th-century tombs, watchtowers and mosques of the Afghan Lodi dynasty besides a bridge built during Akbar's time. Spread over 90 acres this park has residents walking, jogging, with even yoga classes and laughter clubs.


Monumental tale

Head to the perfectly proportioned Humayun's Tomb, a UNESCO Heritage site, on the banks of the Yamuna River, which has emerged from six years of restoration. It is said to have inspired the Taj Mahal. Constructed for the Emperor by his Persian born wife, and made from marble and red sandstone this imposing edifice combines Persian and Mughal design motifs and elements as well as the Char Bagh garden style.


Travel back in time

Explore Chandni Chowk the pulsating heart of old Delhi. Designed by Jahanara, the Emperor Shah Jahan's favourite daughter, Chandni Chowk was one of the main thoroughfares of the capital city. Today this area with its labyrinth of streets and narrow alleys is a glimpse into the past. Start your walk at the Digambar Jain temple, popularly called the ‘Lal Mandir' because of its red stone, which has been in the area since 1526. Stop at the oldest sweet shop in Delhi called Ghantewala, dating back to 1790, where Mughal emperors and their elephants would stop, and taste their special Sohan halwa. Your next stop is the narrow alley called Paratheywali Galli where a slew of greasy parathas with unusual stuffing like almonds, cashew, bitter gourd and Khurchan or caramelized milk are deep fried in real ghee (clarified butter).Top it off with a glass of creamy lassi.

Start your walk at the Digambar Jain temple, popularly called the ‘Lal Mandir’ because of its red stone, which has been in the area since 1526..


Next, walk through the colourful Kinari Bazaar, the market for trims (kinari means edging or borders). Step into a tiny lane called Naughara lined by a row of nine traditional Jain homes with potted plants and painted façades. Many visit to capture photographs infront of the beautiful doorways.

Delhi is a paradise for shoppers – from street shopping to high-end shops.


End your walk at the magnificent Jama Masjid dating back to the 17th Century and commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan, Asia's largest mosque was built of red sandstone as well as black marble between 1644 and 1658 by 5,000 labourers.

Discover a secret in the heart of Delhi

The ancient multi-storied Agrasen ki Baoli or step well (Hailey Road, off K G Marg. Open daily, sunrise to sunset) is flanked by high-rise buildings in Central Delhi, near Connaught Place. A step well is where the water is reached by descending a set of steps. This step well is said to have been constructed by King Agrasen during the Mahabharata period, and later rebuilt by the Agrawal community. Now though there is no water, you can climb down the 100 steps to the bottom and immerse in the beautiful views.


Shop

Delhi is a paradise for shoppers - from street shopping to high-end shops. A new shopping hub is Shahpur Jat, which was built on the remains of an old fort - the Siri Fort, which was established by the Khilji dynasty in the early 14th century. Today the neighborhood has designer boutiques, cafes and shops nestled in its narrow streets. Shahpur Jat also has colourful street murals on its buildings. If you want a quick look at India's crafts, from different states including textiles, brassware, jewellery and rugs visit the excellent state emporiums.


If you are looking for bargains, head to the flea market stalls on Janpath and in Sarojini Nagar. For crafts of India, go to Dilli Haat for a fill of souvenir shopping. Another great place to shop is laid back Khan Market with bookshops, boutiques and other shops.


Delhi is full of exciting eating options - from street food to fine dining. Visit the capital of India, New Delhi to experience the exuberance of the country.

 

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    Lodi Gardens with verdant lawns houses the tomb of Muhammad Shah Sayyid, third king of Sayyid dynasty

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    The majestic Humayun’s Tomb, built of marble and redstone reflects Mughal architecture

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    Lal Mandir is one of the oldest Jain temples in New Delhi

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    The oldest sweet shop – Ghantewala
    ©Kalpana Sunder

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    Visit Chandni Chowk to shop for everything and the rickshaws will navigate sneakly through the narrow streets

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    Naughara is an alley of nine traditional Jain houses with colourful doorways
    ©Kalpana Sunder

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    Shop for all festive occasions at Kinari Bazaar

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    Descend down the 100 steps at Agrasen ki Baoli or Step well and enjoy the striking architecture

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    Visit the bustling open-air bazaar, Dilli Haat to purchase souvenirs

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