Vibrant and colourful, the bustling capital city is the heart of India in more ways than one. While Lutyens’ Delhi or New Delhi beautifully captures the young pulse of the city, Old Delhi takes you back in time when the Mughals established their base here. Delhi has been a part of expansive empires and powerful kingdoms—the testimony lies in the numerous heritage structures, such as Qutab Minar, Jama Masjid, Jantar Mantar, etc. The landscape changes as one explores Lutyens’ Delhi (named after the British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens who designed it). This part of the city is home to the country’s most powerful institutions, such as Rashtrapati Bhawan and the Parliament house. Whichever part you choose to explore, rest assured, Delhi is bound to leave a lasting impression on you. So, here’s our take on what all to explore when you arrive this time in the city of glory. By Pallavi Mehra
New Delhi’s architectural splendour, busy street bazaars, and thriving nightlife appeal to the different palates of the modern traveller.
Shahpur Jat is built near the ruins of the Siri Fort monument, and is an emerging neighbourhood of luxury fashion and lifestyle boutiques. The artistic vibe of the place has attracted local designers, weavers, and artisans over the years to launch boutique labels. While fashion studios, such as Ogaan and Kanelle (011-41070919) appeal to modern travellers, street frescos, created by the St+art India Foundation, lend a rustic charm to the place.
Tapping Into The Pulse
Old Delhi, founded by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, was the capital of the Mughal empire. In its present state, the place holds impressive architecture in the form of heritage structures such as Jama Masjid; tempting street food in the narrow alleys of Chandni Chowk; and an old-world charm that transports one to pre-modern times. Take a history walk with Delhi Karavan to discover the stories behind monuments such as Humayun’s Tomb, Qutab Minar, Red Fort, Lodhi Tomb, Purana Qila, and India Gate.
Located in the Civil Lines neighbourhood of North Delhi, Majnu ka Tila is a quaint neighbourhood housing Tibetan refugees. Referred to as Little Tibet, the place is a vibrant destination to shop jewellery crafted with semi-precious stones, silver, and other metals. As dusk falls, locals gather around the monastery to host talks, and sing folk songs. While you’re here, do not forget to munch on thenthukhere and momos at Dolma House (+91 9873275902) or Tee Dee (011-23939414).
The art scene in Delhi has grown drastically in the past decade. Delhi Magic offers art trails through the various museums and galleries in the city, such as National Gallery of Modern Art, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Dhoomimal Gallery, Delhi Art Gallery, and Exhibit 320.
DINE & DRINK
The food scene in Delhi is inspired by its past and new culinary innovations.
Celebrity chef Manish Mehrotra of Indian Accent is among the pioneers of modern Indian cuisine. His is the only Indian restaurant in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Here, expect Indian dishes with a contemporary spin, such as duck khurchan in a cone, and galautis stuffed with foie gras. Starts from INR 5,000 for two.
Olive Bar & Kitchen serves a refreshing Mediterranean cuisine in a rustic ambience. The setting, especially the outdoor seating, is elegant, classy, and dreamy. Its Sunday Brunch is an entity in itself and has many takers among the city’s well-heeled crowd. Craft cocktails and dewy interiors will be your big takeaway. Starts from INR 4,000 for two.
The Electric Room at The Lodhi is a swanky lounge popular among the city party-goers to dance the night away after a busy day of work. Over the weekend, the bar becomes a nightclub with revellers dancing into the wee hours of the night. Get a fancy cocktail, and let your hair down! Starts from INR 5,000 for two.
Food With A View
A contemporary Thai restaurant-bar, Bo Tai offers unobstructed views of the Qutab Minar from its twin terraces as you sip on a cocktail like bourbon-shiraz cinnamon concotion in a setting that harmoniously combines Italian design, and Thai colours. Lab kai in crispy wonton shells, crispy lamb, and kabocha custard are the best-sellers. Starts from INR 3,500 for two.
From street markets to chic boutiques, the capital has plenty to offer for shopaholics.
Connaught Place in central Delhi is home to state emporiums, where artisans from all over the country sell everything, from saris to paintings and jewellery. Drop by the Pragjyotika Assam Emporium to shop for the traditional mekhala sari or pick up bandhani shawls at the nearby Garvi Gurjari shop.
FabIndia was one of the first brands to provide sustained employment to rural Indian craftsmen. Its stores are sprinkled across New Delhi. Expect to find merchandise that is characteristically Indian, such as textiles, handmade soaps, and home wares.