Featuring ‘Irresistible India’

Recently I was on board an Austrian Airlines flight. I was pleasantly surprised to see the in-flight magazine featuring ‘Irresistible India’ as their cover story. Moreover, the main focus of the feature was Delhi and I immediately grabbed it to read up. It is so true when the article talks about how tourists somehow bypass Delhi as the main terminus before moving on to the more popular delights in neighboring Rajasthan, Agra or the northern hill stations. The author lists the top six reasons why they believe Delhi is definitely a destination to reckon with.

Old Delhi: The Delhi of the Mughals

Of course, this one had to be the top choice. You all know how much Date with Delhi loves the city of the Mughals! Old Delhi is all about a magical world that continues to live on today. Be it the mosques and monuments or the several modern-day eateries with seeds embedded way back in the times of the Mughal royal courts. There are stories intertwining with love, hatred, envy and war, each character no less intense than the other. I often wonder how it might have been to be born in those times. But alas, I was born in more modern times, closer to the article’s second best reason to visit Delhi.

New Delhi: The Delhi of the British

The New Delhi built  by the British was the new face of a nation on the brink of freedom, democracy and development. So the buildings, roads, avenues and monuments in a modern Delhi had to match up to this newness. Read all about what Wanderfool has to say about the Delhi of the British, more commonly known as Lutyen’s Delhi.

An oasis of calm: Hauz Khas Village

Next our article points out another favourite hang-out of ours – Hauz Khas. Haven’t been there? Then you definitely must! Hauz Khas is one of those urban localities that has a bohemian feel to it. You can find the most fashion forward clothes boutiques, quaint cafes, handicraft stores, and even the one-off antique seller. It is the go-to place for the eclectic sorts, and a place to draw energy from. The Village has a lovely deer park that is a meeting point where musicians come together every other weekend to celebrate music and dance. But for me the cherry is the Hauz Khas Madrasa right at the end of the road, the beautifully tranquil lake surrounded by ruins of an old university complex built in the Tughlaq era. You can find more posts about Hauz Khas Village on Date with Delhi.

A hotel with a history: The Imperial Hotel

Now, this was one that I had never come across, so of course, it fueled my curiosity and I had to find out more. Turns out that the hotel was designed by an associate of Edward Lutyen around the same time that the latter was designing New Delhi. The hotel is in the heart of the capital, near the famous Janpath. Wikipedia tells us that this was the hotel where Nehru, Gandhi, Jinnah and Mountbatten discussed the fateful Partition of India and creation of Pakistan. The hotel has since been given a face lift and has hosted many a celebrity that visited Delhi.

Update: Came across this article that talks about the hotel & its historical significance.

Latest art from India

Unfortunately the snap is hazy, but I was flying, remember? In any case, the building featured here is the Delhi Art Gallery which in the last two decades has become a highly acclaimed platform for leading artists from all over India. The gallery hosts several exhibitions and is a sort of museum that highlights art originating in all parts of the country, preserved over the years. Of course, there is so much more to the art and culture scene in Delhi, be it the numerous other art and photography galleries that host exhibitions throughout the year, theater and dance showcases that promote new artists, handicrafts fairs that provide new platforms to artists from across the states or street art workshops that help develop new avenues of expression. In Delhi, art feels like part of everyday life and there is so much variety to choose from.

An excursion to Agra and the Taj Mahal

And finally, our article talks about Delhi being the gateway leading to Agra and the Taj Mahal, which is probably the biggest tourist magnet in India. I was thrilled to hear that there is now a new freeway connecting Delhi with Agra which cuts down the travel time by nearly half of what it took earlier. Have you been on that road yet? This will surely help promote travel towards Agra and Fatehpur Sikri, which were important cities during the Mughal rule. I do hope however, that tourists who flock to Agra would take a pause in Delhi and give the capital the due time to explore some of the great things that we so love.

So those were the Austrian Airlines’ top reasons for stopping by Delhi, and what will be yours?



 [en-doo ruh ns, –dyoo r-]
1. the fact or power of enduring or bearing pain, hardships, etc.
2. the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue,stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina.
3. lasting quality; duration.
These definitions are fitting for the Bada Gumbad, or Big Dome, at the Lodi Gardens in Delhi, which date back to the Lodi period around the 15th century…

 Read some more about the Lodi Gardens.

Colors of Durga Puja

A month away from the auspicious Durga Puja celebrations calls for a re-blog of this post for the Daily Post‘s Weekly Photo Challenge.
Fray : The Goddess goes to battle against the Asura, Good prooves victorious over Evil, Peace is restored to the world…

A beautiful Durga idol: awarded the "Best Prize in East Zone"

A beautiful Durga idol: awarded the “Best Prize in East Zone”

Durga Puja at Gurgaon, Delhi

Durga Puja at Gurgaon, Delhi

Durga Puja at Gurgaon, Delhi

Durga Puja at Gurgaon, Delhi

Durga Puja on Chittaranjan Park, Delhi

Durga Puja on Chittaranjan Park, Delhi

Durga Puja on Chittaranjan Park, Delhi

Durga Puja on Chittaranjan Park, Delhi

Durga Puja at Chittaranjan Park, Delhi

Durga Puja at Chittaranjan Park, Delhi

Durga Puja at Chittaranjan Park, Delhi

Durga Puja at Chittaranjan Park, Delhi

Durga Puja at Chittaranjan Park, Delhi

Durga Puja at Chittaranjan Park, Delhi

A Date With Delhi

If you’re lucky enough to be in India at this time of the year, you are in for a season of festivities. Navrata, Durga Puja, and Dussehra just passed by our lives and filled Delhi with a spirit of celebration. While Durga Puja is typically the main festival of Bengalis and is celebrated with much fervor in Bengal, particularly Kolkata, Delhi is not to be left far behind! In a little pocket of Delhi called Chittaranjan Park, lies a mini-Bengal itself. And last week, the place was abuzz with colorful “Pandals“, gorgeous idols of the Goddess and queues and queues of people trying to get a glimpse of her. And of course, the street food was mind boggling in its sheer variety!

Here are some pictures of the idols from in and around Delhi.  Hope you enjoy them!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit

The Daily Post invites bloggers to participate in weekly photo challenges by prompting ideas with a single word or thought. This week’s challenge is ‘habit‘. Something that becomes customary, an everyday something which might appear mundane but sometimes behind that act, there might lie a lot of meaning and depth.

At the Dargah of the Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi, pilgrims have made it a habit to tie prayer-strings to the trellis surrounding the tombs of the holy men buried there. You can read more about the Dargah here, here and here. The word ‘habit’ invoked in me the memory of the innumerable prayer-threads I have noticed on my visits. A regular custom, but one of deep devotion, of hope that prayers will be answered, of faith that someone is listening…




A Pilgrimage of Sorts

The tomb of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya

The tomb of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya

If you have been to Delhi but not visited the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin, you have missed something! Even if you are not a particularly devout follower of Sufism, this shrine would still give you a spectacle of how faith can indeed move mountains. But let’s begin at the beginning….. So the other day, together with a few of my friends, we ventured into the Nizamuddin area of Delhi. Some of the others in the group had already visited the dargah on prior occasions, and having heard so much about it and having watched it grow popular in travel shows and Bollywood movies, the rest of us consented it was time we earned ourselves some first-hand experience.  Continue reading

Traffic jam!

I have to share something crazy that happened the other day. I was driving around with a friend in Dwarka and if you have been to that part of the city, you’d not expect the kind of traffic even remotely close to what the neighbouring area of Gurgaon faces.  So we happily took a turn believing we’d just cruise along, but lo and behold! What do we see! There is a traffic jam, but of a different nature… Continue reading

Dusk at the Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid, Delhi

The Jama Masjid

A year ago around this time, on a sudden impulse, wanderfool and I hopped onto the yellow line of Delhi Metro one afternoon, and went to Chandni Chowk. At first we got caught up in the alleyways and just hopped from shop to shop, not buying anything, just taking in the hustle-bustle of the vendors, the fragrance of sweet and fresh ‘jalebis’, the sight of glitzy garments, faux stone-cut jewellery, and ribbons and shoes and bags and what-not! It was crazy frenzy all around and I’m sure it’s the same the whole year through!

Soon enough both of us were overwhelmed by the place and my friend suggested we visit the Jama Masjid close by. I had never been there, so I agreed at once! As we made our way towards the Masjid, we realised something was going on… wanderfool told me she had never seen so many stalls along this way, selling fresh and dry fruits, water bottles, ‘chaadars’, incense…and then it dawned on both of us at the same time – we had unwittingly chosen a fantastic time to visit the Jama Masjid – it was the month of ‘Ramadan‘ and pious Muslims from all over the city would congregate at the cardinal mosque of Old Delhi, say their evening prayers at dusk and break their day-long fast by partaking in the ‘iftar’. Continue reading