Locomotoring

Seven continents, seven seas, seven billion people and seven thousand good eats …

Archive for the ‘Delhi’ Category

Red Fort and a food walk in Old Delhi neighborhood

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My fondest childhood memory of visiting Delhi includes the Sound and Light show at Red Fort. Visiting Red Fort as an adult is a bit of emotional roller coaster ride for me. Looking at the damage caused by years of artillery practice during British Army’s residence here can be depressing. On the other hand, it is an exhilarating place to watch visitors from small towns of India, their excitement very palpable and uplifting. Away from the congestion of Old Delhi, vast spaces such as Red Fort make your imagination soar. While it is practically impossible to imagine Yamuna flowing next to the fort, it is relatively easy, thanks to Bollywood, to imagine the beautiful Moghul women in their flimsy silk sarees walking by Yamuna fed Nahr-i-Behisht in Rang Mahal. In any case, Red Fort is still a place that awes, particularly if you live in Delhi. For this photo series from summer of 2009, click here.

Red Fort Red Fort
Red Fort Red Fort

While navigating Old Delhi is never easy, some of the food shops here have been serving generations of loyal customers. For a walk with a group of foodies this summer that includes Jalebi, Kheer, Stuffed naans and parathas click here.

Written by Som

August 1, 2011 at 5:45 am

Posted in Delhi, India

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Photo tour of Hauz Khas Complex in Delhi

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For slideshow of Hauz Khas Complex, please click here.

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Written by locomotoring

June 27, 2011 at 6:25 am

Posted in Delhi, India

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A Foggy Day (in London Town Delhi)

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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.

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Written by Som

March 13, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Posted in Delhi, India

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Day trip to Neemrana Fort Palace

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Neemrana Fort Palace

Neemrana Fort Palace

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.

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Written by Som

January 9, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Afternoon at Triveni Kala Sangam

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Lunch at Triveni Kala Sangam

Lunch at Triveni Kala Sangam

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.

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Written by Som

January 9, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Oh! Calcutta, My Calcutta

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Mocha: Banana flower

Mocha: Banana flower

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.

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Written by Som

January 9, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Biodiversity park in Delhi

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Yamuna Biodiversity Park

Yamuna Biodiversity Park

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.

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Written by locomotoring

August 18, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Heritage walk – Chandni Chowk, Delhi

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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….

Written by locomotoring

August 12, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Coffee and Chocolate – Chokola, New Delhi

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Chocolate cake at Choko la

Chocolate cake at Choko la

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.

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Written by Sachin

August 10, 2009 at 9:54 pm

A walk down Delhi’s ancient quarters.

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Rajon ki Baoli Mosque at Jamali Kamali Behind Dilkhusha

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.

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A splatter of paint in Delhi

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Sculpture at NGMA

Sculpture at NGMA

Sculpture at NGMA

Sculpture at NGMA

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.

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Written by Som

August 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Late night crepes in Delhi – at Yellow Brick Road

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Yellow Brick Road, Hotel Ambassador, Delhi

Yellow Brick Road, Hotel Ambassador, Delhi

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.

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Written by Som

August 1, 2009 at 8:51 pm

In search of sun – solar eclipse in Delhi

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Partial solar eclipse of 2009 in Delhi

Partial solar eclipse of 2009 in Delhi

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.

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Written by Som

July 29, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Posted in Delhi, India

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Kakori kababs at Salim’s – roasting at Khan Market

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Salim Kabab at Khan Market

Salim Kabab at Khan Market

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.

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Written by Som

July 28, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Holy walk on hot asphalt – from Haridwar to Delhi

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Kavadi-bearer near Connaught Place

Kavadi-bearer near Connaught Place

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.

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Written by Som

July 27, 2009 at 10:27 am

Restaurant Pindi, beating Delhi heat with food from Pind

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Taka-tak aloo at Pindi restaurant

Taka-tak aloo at Pindi restaurant

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.

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Written by Som

July 26, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Showing a purple tongue to Delhi heat

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Jamuns, a seasonal purple berry

Jamuns, a seasonal purple berry

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.

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Written by Som

July 26, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Posted in Delhi, India

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Baking in Delhi, waiting for the rains

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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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Written by Som

July 20, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Posted in Delhi, India

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Who moved my wife? – Ramlila in New Delhi.

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Ramlila Effigy Ramlila Effigy Ramlila Effigy

In 300 BCE, it is said, lived a thief, a kind of a highway robber called Valmiki. One day he tried to rob a sadhu, a wandering holy man, who had nothing to offer him so he gave him a mantra ‘Mara’. When Valmiki , in his distracted moments chanted it, he realised he was not saying mara-mara-mara but rama-rama-rama and that’s when he decided to write down the story of Lord Rama into an epic called Ramayana.

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Eating a starfruit from a roadside vendor

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Delhi vendor selling starfruit and roasted sweet potatotes

Delhi vendor selling starfruit and roasted sweet potatotes

From a Delhi roadside vendor.

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Written by Som

March 25, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Coronation Park, a story of indifference

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Coronation Park

Coronation Park

When the decision to shift the nation’s capital from Kolkata to Delhi took place, this spot was proclaimed to be the site for viceroy’s residence. George V’s coronation as the emperor of India was commemorated here. Then the story of neglect began. The site was deemed unsuitable and the residence of Viceroy was eventually built at the site of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The park reminds me of my school park – large, open, not very shaded, spottily grassy. But that is where the similarity ends. At dawn, no groups of people gather about for a yoga class or a laughing club session. At dusk, young lovers don’t come here in search of intimacy.  Grandpas don’t come here for their evening constitutionals. There is no chaiwala or any one else selling snacks. Really, nothing is happening here. There appears to be a single caretaker who lives with his family, he may very well be self proclaimed one. He doesn’t seem to be doing anything either.

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Written by Som

January 13, 2009 at 1:53 am

Why did I think that Khan Chacha’s was better than Dum Pukht

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Khan Chacha at Delhis Khan market

Khan Chacha at Delhi's Khan market

Dum Pukht, Maurya Sheraton is one of Delhi’s finest. Khan Chacha’s at Khan Market is a tiny shop where you queue up and eat out of a paper plate. Dinner for one at Dum Pukht is easy $150. And a meal at Khan Chacha’s is $1.50. The only thing common to them is their reputation for exceptional kababs. So, of course, I had to try both.

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Memories of a train ride

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Local Train in Kolkata

Local Train in Kolkata

The year was probably 1978-79. Time of the year – the summer holidays. Our family – mother, father, my younger sibling and myself – visited my grandparents whenever father could afford a short break during the summers. I think it was Kalka, going from Delhi to Kolkata. Could have been Shatabdi too. The ride typically was two days or more, depending on when and where the train got stuck. Rajdhani express, the first revolutionary train that traversed the same distance in seventeen hours, with its air conditioned carriages and Kwality Cassata for dessert would happen later during my teenage years.

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Written by Som

October 23, 2008 at 12:05 am

Not on the map, part IV, Abhaneri – 8th century stepwell

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Stepwell with its emareld green pool

Stepwell with its emerald green pool

On our Delhi-Jaipur road trip, we had spent the night before at Sariska and started the day’s adventures with Bhangarh, the 17th century ghost town. Now we were on our way to Abhaneri, the site of 8th century stepwell.

It was afternoon and we were quite thirsty. At Bhangarh, couple of village women were serving water the old fashioned way – using a long handled copper pitcher out of a bucket, presumably the water was drawn from a nearby well. We had dared not drink it. We had run out of water and hadn’t found bottled water on these off-the-map roads. We stopped for tea at a local temple. I don’t recall much except a large cauldron of bubbling milky tea and a hyperactive group of adorable little baby monkeys. After nearly twenty five years, I had tea out of an earthen cup.

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Not on the map, part III, Bhangarh – a ghost town

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On our way from Sariska to Bhangarh

On our way from Sariska to Bhangarh

On our Delhi-Jaipur road trip, we had spent the night in Sariska and were on our way to Bhangarh that morning, a 17th century ghost town.

Our road was narrow and unpaved. A landscape of spring time fields full of fresh green shoots, village women in their bright chunris, wrinkly old men herding goats, buffaloes and children bathing at the same water hole, blue sky above, and georgette like veil of clouds. Dotting this landscape were ruins of old forts and chattaris, cenotaphs and occasionally, ads for mobile phones.

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