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Don’t Leave Delhi Without Trying This List of 7 Must Do’s
Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
by Sudha Mathew

With its Mughal history playing hide and seek through the contemporary landcape, Delhi is one of my all-time favourite cities. True, there is no dearth of reasons for a woman to be alarmed when she hears Delhi and the fear has been aggravated recently with a series of incidents being reported. Nonetheless, I stick to my words that Delhi is fabulous but yes, you would do well to be careful and adhere to security measures to ensure that you are safe. I found this list to be practical and useful for women travellers in India.

Having fallen in love with Delhi over and over again, I give you my list of 7 must do’s in Delhi once you step out of the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Though the many heritage sites should be your top agenda, this list goes beyond the usual itinerary. So fellow travellers, make sure you land here with some time in hand.

1. A walk through the winding lanes of Chandni Chowk, you’ll get the feel of real Delhi right there, a Delhi without the cloak of modern sophistication.

Grande Mosque
The Grandeur Of Delhi 6

Chandni Chowk meaning moonlit square, the name had entranced me even before my first visit. But when I had reached the place in person, the experience was overwhelming. The narrow lanes were filled with the voices bargaining over commodities, vendors calling out for buyers, and the mouth-watering aroma coming from the Parantha wale Gali and the kebab wali gali. Chandni Chowk throbs with a sense of bustle, always. Every day it is like a battle of existence for the businesses here, some of whom have been in this part of the city since Akbar the Great ‘s time. I suggest you don’t visit Chandni Chowk alone as it can be too much to cope with for a first timer.

2. An evening at Delhi Haat, something for everyone.

Colors of Delhi Haat

Ethnic Flavour @ Delhi Haat

In sharp contrast to the hustle and bustle of the old streets, Delhi Haat is a well organised mecca for handicraft items in the capital city. Craftsmen with indigenous items from different corners of the country have assembled here to showcase their ingenuity. And the  cherry on the icing is the variety of regional food here. You could choose between a Bengali Thali, pork raja mirchi from Nagaland, momos from Sikkim and the typical Marwari moong daal ki halwa from Rajasthan. The stalls have small outdoor seating areas and are well maintained and clean.

3. Street food in Delhi is to die for. If your tummy can handle it, try it atleast once; you might develop a lifetime passion for street food.

Street Food in Delhi

Parantha wali Gali

 To explore new cuisines has always been on top of my agenda while travelling. And Delhi has never disappointed. I have already mentioned the Parantha wali galli and the kebab wali gali. Likewise, Delhi is flooded with stalls or small shops by the road making the city famous for its street foods. Starting from parantha, a stuffed flat bread to a spicy chickpea curry; from samosas (stuffed triangles of spiced potato), chaats (quick savoury snack), deep fried pakodas made from different vegetables coated in batter to delicately flavoured meaty biriyani. The street food of Delhi is mouth-watering and savoury. One dish that you must try is the Kulle chaat. I had never anticipated that vegetables and fruits, amalgamated with spices, lime juice and pomegranate seeds could taste so wonderful. This is one of the first things that I do the moment I step into Delhi.

4. Shop at Connaught Place

Connaught Place

The Better Known CP

A blend of modern and old school style, Connaught Place is a major landmark of the city. Within the main Connaught Place shopping arcade, you can get most Indian and international brands. For cheap and ethnic trinkets, Janpath, Palikabazar and Paharganj are the places to go. Fortify yourself after the shopping with a strawberry tart at Wengers and cold coffee at Keventers, both popular old bakery-cafes in the area.

5. Check out art, food and fashion at Hauz Khas Village 

Hauz Khas Village

Hauz Khas Village

Hauz Khas Village is a quaint combination of narrow sometimes unpaved lanes, pricey boutiques and chic restaurants. This urban village flaunts food for thought for every type of connoisseur, be it art, cuisine or fashion and décor. Spend some time at the Kunzum Travel Café & savouring delicacies at the Yeti, both representative of the cosmopolitan nature of the area. And don’t forget a visit to the curio shops.  Whether you buy or not is irrelevant, what is a must do is a stroll through them to see old black and white photos, old fashioned instruments and antique wooden artefacts. The Hauz Khas village also holds heritage interest with the 13th century ruins of an old Islamic seminary, a royal tomb and a picturesque reservoir at one end of the village. If you fall in love with this village, then why not stay at the lovely Amarya Haveli in Hauz Khas for easy access.

6. The real Delhi Darshan, take a walking tour of the heritage sites.

It is said “To know a city, you must walk the length and breadth of it”. I strongly agree. INTACH organizes guided walking tours to explore different historic sites in Delhi. There are also themed walks like Lodi Garden walks, food walks in Old Delhi or visit to a historic multi generation home in Old Delhi conducted by Delhi Heritage Walks and others.

7. If you have a ear for music, Qawwali, a group music performance should be a treat.

Being musically inclined, I made it a point to visit the Dargah at Nizamuddin Auliya only to be able to listen to the Qawwalis. After the sun sets, the mesmerising voice and tune of the songs enthrals one and all. You should go to experience a certain kind of bliss.
Sher Shah's Fort
Purana Quilla

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If you would like to stay close to the Nizamudding Dargah and Humayun’s Tomb but in much nicer surroundings, we have two gorgeous B&Bs in Nizamuddin.

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Cheers

Sudha

Picture Courtesy:

Jama Masjid, Panoramas

Delhi Haat, Anshul

Street Food, Souvik 

Connaught Place, Prato

Hauz Khas Village, Jhonson


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Posted by Sudha at 11:16 pm
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Plan to travel to an Indian holiday destination?

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About me

The wise man travels to discover himself - JR Lowell

 

My name is Sudha Mathew. I'm an ex-banker who quit the rat race after a decade to follow my passion for travel and to combine it with my experience in understanding client requirements and exceeding their expectations.

 

While our content is mostly about the holiday experience, the accommodation and services, there's so much more to a journey. I have discovered a whole new me through travel. So I've reserved this corner of the website to share the unexpected aspects of travel. This space is also to hear from you about your journeys and discoveries. Bon Voyage!

 
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