Posts Tagged ‘Delhi’
After nearly a decade, I had the chance to be in Delhi during winters. Delhi’s winters have changed so much over my lifetime – as a child I remember foggy mornings and clear afternoons of the late seventies. On weekdays the mornings used to be a torture – the brick houses would be practically as cold inside as it would be outside, sometimes as cold as 3-5C. I showered and shivered, then huddled in the cold school bus as it careened through the fog, and folded into myself during morning school assembly in the cold open fields. But the afternoons were clear and warm and lunchtime typically meant sitting out in the sun with friends sharing our packed lunches. Weekend afternoons would often be spent eating oranges or roasted peanuts while sunning oneself on the porch or balcony. I remember the nineties winters as a dirtier version of my childhood – the fog became smog, the afternoon sunny sky was grayish brown with sun never quite managing to poke through the smog screen.
Many of the old palaces in Rajasthan and other states have been converted to hotels. Neemrana, now on Delhi-Jaipur highway, is one such 15th century fort-palace. While it is only a 100 kms from Delhi Airport, it is half way to Jaipur and can take 3-4 hours from Delhi depending on where in Delhi you start from.
Triveni Kala Sangam hosts classes in art, photography, music and dance. Lunch here is popular among students and people of artistic temperament. Well known for its parathas, it is possibly the only proper restaurant in Delhi that serves home style north Indian food.
When I land in India, my first port is usually Delhi. And if I am craving for Calcutta food, my only option is to head out to Oh! Calcutta.
This time, for lunch at Oh! Calcutta – here is what I ate.
Any green space in the naturally arid Delhi is always welcome. The Biodiversity park is an artificial wetland created to attract and study migrating birds. It is spread over an area of approximately 450 acres near Wazirabad village in North Delhi.
Park authorities are still learning to cope with visitors and may not necessarily be too helpful. But most scientists love to talk about their work. So if you find one of the field researchers, ask him or her about their work, and enjoy a guided tour.
Here is a recent article on a heritage walk down Chawri Bazaar and Chandni Chowk. The walk focuses on the old havelis – palatial homes of the rich from hundreds of years ago. Contact information of the guide is provided in the article.
Chandni Chowk is steeped in history and chaos. For visitors to Delhi, Chandni Chowk metro station has been the port of easy access to Red Fort and the spice market. Here, once you step out of the cool and modern station, you drown in human activities. From beggars to 200 year old sweet shops to an assortment of temples – Hindu, Jain, Gurudwara and mosque, to modern day internet coffee shops, it is all here. And behind the shops, crowds and the tangles of overhead wires are these havelis. Some look like a collection of loosely arranged bricks – one push and they all come tumbling down….
We continue our occasional series about Chocolate and Coffee with a cafe in New Delhi called Chokola.
The place is done up in chocolate-y colors, the menu is the size of a small book with overwrought foodie descriptions of cocoa, single origin chocolates, and truffles, followed by the standard cafe fare of sandwiches, pizzas, etc.
You are a conscientious visitor to Delhi. You have read your Lonely Planet India, done some web searches, and know that Delhi is an ancient city, the site of seven capitals over millenia. The Red Fort is on your list, as is Humayun’s tomb, and perhaps the Qutab Minar. And then you make your way to the Taj in Agra.
But surely Delhi must have accumulated a few more ruins than what India’s lackadaisical tourism industry would have you believe. Here are just four examples, all of which can be reached on foot from Qutab Minar.
In the midst of being stir fried in Delhi heat, I decided to cool off at NGMA – National Gallery of Modern Art. For a museum that is by no means a world class facility, it houses a handful of world’s finest art pieces. So I found out this trip when I chanced upon a special exposition on Nandlal Bose’s artwork.
I am visiting Delhi for two weeks. I shouldn’t be hankering for crepes in the midst of this heat and mangoes and parathas and samosas and the kababs. But I am. So, I am at Yellow Brick Road, a cute little cafe at Hotel Ambassador near Khan Market. It is painted bright and cheerful with a touch of toy-store feel about it. Judging by the clientele, it is popular with all – eastern and western, young and old, men and women.
It was the eclipse of the century – the longest full eclipse lasting more than six minutes. During the days preceding the eclipse, media’s handling of it was like watching a schizophrenic – one moment all scientific with graphic visualization of solar and lunar orbits and astrophysics the other moment a discussion on fasting and soul cleansing and astrology.
Even in blazing summers, a visit to Delhi is incomplete without a taste of its famous kababs. We had already tried satisfying this craving by eating some sheesh-kababs in the cool comfort of the regal Curzon room in Oberoi Maidens Hotel. Their sheesh was competent, but it had failed to hit the spot.
We were planning a visit to Khan Chacha when we happened to read about Salim’s, yet another tiny kabab corner in Khan market, at “Eating Out in Delhi” blog. It is a rare happenstance to find a foodie proclaim a kabab corner as good as chacha’s, so we were intrigued. On author’s suggestion, we decided to seek out Salim’s kakori kabab and are glad we did.
This is an ultramarathon of a different type. Every year in July, come Monsoons or not, hundreds of thousands of Kavadi (or Kaavadi) bearers walk from Haridwar to their respective Shiva temples. They carry the holy water of Ganges in pitchers mounted on shoulder slung bamboo carriers. A vast majority of them are young men between the ages of 20-30 from small villages or slums.
It is Sunday, the day of rest. Rest from the kitchen, that is. I am at Pindi, a popular establishment in Delhi frequented by visitors and locals alike. It is devilishly hot outside. I can smell grilled meat a good hundred feet from Pindi. It is late for lunch but the joint is crowded. People are tearing apart tandoori chicken with gusto and hungrily sopping up creamy curries with naans. All accompanied by cheerful faces, animated conversations, and sounds of laughter. Very Punjabi indeed.
This monsoon season in Delhi, I tasted jamuns after nearly two decades. As a child, picking ripe jamuns used to be a pleasant way of killing time. It often involved sneaking into a neighbor’s yard when the elders were dozing off in the summer heat. It also meant getting up on precarious fences or branches to reach up the tree for a handful of jamuns. I saw some street urchins doing the same the other day; the girl appeared to be as old as I was then.
Humidity and heat give mangoes a sweeter flesh and a heady aroma. The same dose makes my brain feel fried and served on a platter – all shapeless and gooey. Monsoons should smell of earth and mangoes but it hasn’t started raining yet. Air is so thick with humidity that I am practically breathing in water. Or is it soup? A soup spiced with exhaust fumes, and body odors.
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