Delhi Diaries– 1
Welcome to New Delhi– a patchwork of millions of variegated pieces, chaotic on the surface, but all united together by chords of harmony. Officially, the politically capital of India, and a proclaimed social and economic hub of the country, Delhi is popularly referred to as the “dil” or the heart of India. I moved to Delhi more than an year and a half ago to pursue a Master’s degree in English at a University here, and this place welcomed me with open arms. From being a big, intimidating, alien city, New Delhi turned into a home in just a few days.
Why Delhi clicks with almost everyone is because of its heterogeneity. New Delhi, being a melting pot of cultures is full of diversity, and thus has something on offer for everyone. It has a deep-rooted cultural heritage, and at the same time, is a paradigm of modernity. It is difficult to define New Delhi for its essence lies in diversity and change and the more you explore it, the more you fall in love with it.
I would not dare commit the folly of trying to “summarize” New Delhi in a single blog entry and ruin the beauty of it by ignoring this wonderful city’s essential details. So in every entry dedicated to this city, I’ll be writing about a few of my favorite spots here, with the hope that my readers will get tempted to at least add this city to their wishlist.
#1 Hauz Khas Village
In a nutshell, Hauz Khas Village or the Hauz Khas Complex is a place out of a colorful storybook– a quaint little market adjoining an ancient fort with a lake in it!
Hauz Khas Village scores the first place in my list because of all that it has to offer– natural beauty, history and heritage, good food and shopping. If you’re visiting the place during daytime, I suggest you begin with exploring the fort and the lake. The fort and the surrounding historical structures date back to 13th to 16th centuries and are marvelous examples of Mughal architecture. The fort complex houses a beautiful tree-lined lake. The lake is a home a number of aquatic such as ducks and storks and it is an absolute delight to take a walk around the lake on cloudy monsoon afternoons.
The fort and the lake form a picturesque backdrop for the lovely rooftop restaurants in the Hauz Khas Village Market adjacent to the fort complex. What better than to unwind with a coffee or a beer at one of the many dainty little cafe-cum-lounge places there. My personal favorite is Hauz Khas Social– a place famous for its chilled out vibe and delicious cocktails. I would also recommend Fork You– a place I like because of its “Make-your-own-Burger” menu. If you would like to try some authentic South Indian food, then Hauz Khas Village has one of the best South Indian restaurants– Naivedyam. The place promises you an authentic South Indian experience at a very modest price.
Hauz Khas Village turns into a party place at night with almost all the restaurants transforming into mini discotheques. Trippy lights, groovy music and booze flowing; Hauz Khas Village is a preferred spot for enjoying New Delhi’s nightlife. And the ladies have all the more reasons to rejoice– all most all the pubs in Hauz Khas Village organise Ladies’ Nights on different days of the week where ladies get special treatment– drinks on the house! Some pubs impose a limitation on the number of free drinks you can and some offer unlimited free drinks. Nevertheless, ladies’ nights at Hauz Khas Village are an absolute delight! For the men, there are happy hours.
Hauz Khas Village also boasts of some lovely art galleries and a number of upmarket and offbeat designer studios to give you a very exclusive shopping experience. Hauz Khas Village is definitely not a place to be missed.
#2 Jawaharlal Nehru University
A bit about home before I proceed to talking about places more foreign to me. At present, I am studying in this prestigious university and I flaunt it shamelessly. Jawaharlal Nehru University, or JNU is an educational institute par excellence, having produced many figures of national and international prominence. Students from all over the world come to study here. But apart from academia, it has other things to offer as well. First of all, the highest natural point of New Delhi is in JNU, The Parthasarthy Rocks, more commonly known as PSR, are a treat for any nature lover. You can enter the place only if accompanied by a JNU id-card holder. In the middle of a thick forest, the rocks are a perfect spot for getting away from the humdrum of the city.They provide a spectacular view of the sunset and the Qutub Minar, and watching airplanes in the sky whizz past you on clear sunny winter days is a luxury not many can afford in this busy city. One can also spot peacocks and Neelgais here, but watch out for the snakes and scorpions! PSR feels like an oasis among concrete structures.
Another thing one could in JNU is enjoy authentic Indian delicacies at dirt cheap prices at one of its many small eateries. The Mughal Durbar is one of the most famous Mughlai cuisine and tikka places in the city, and one must also have tea at the iconic Ganga Dhaba to complete the JNU experience. Last but not the least, you must go for a casual stroll on campus and check out its vibrant walls embellished with awe-inspiring graffiti.
That’s all for now. More to come in Delhi Diaries 2…