Thursday, 8 August 2013

And You thought these didn’t exist…. a Peek into the Reading Room, Jor Bagh, New Delhi

There is something mystical and fascinating about a Library. Ardent book lovers will vouch for it. You enter a revered domain which encompasses knowledge and intrigues which only a mind craving for limitless information can fathom. 

One such magnificent knowledge bank in Delhi is in the form of the Shradhanand Memorial Library & Reading Room found at the corner from the community Centre in Jor Bagh, New Delhi.  

An inspiring old structure that stands the test of time and generations, over the years. A building, that, from the outside, exudes a secret that needs to be unearthed by only those who enter it- beauty of the printed word in a hard bound cover. Once inside, there are rows and columns of books and sitting places which call out to its readers. In the four walls of this library, peace prevails.

It just strengthens our belief that the advent of technology with its army of electronic notebooks and smart phones can never replace the tranquility and printed knowledge bank of a LIBRARY.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Especially for the Girls traveling to Delhi!


TOP 5 FASHION TAKE BACKS FROM THE CITY.

If you’re in town, you gotta dress like the Delhi girls; with a huge appetite for fashion, they go all out as far as color, designs & accessories go. Here are 5 fashion take backs from the city.
      1. Get a traditional outfit. The most obvious one. The outfits can range from a salwar kameez (loose pants & a long flowy top), saree and a lehenga choli (long skirt with a blouse). Ready-mades are available in almost every market, in numerous textures, colours & styles. The drawback is that the choices run into millions (which is not always a good thing!). 
TDW Tip. If you’re getting a saree get a ‘pre-stitched’ one so that it’s easy to drape. And if you want to go all out give it a Bollywood touch by adding some bling to it.

2.     2. Mehendi. Better known to non-Indians as ‘temporary henna tattoo on the hands’. Pick a design & see the patterns magically form on your palm.
TDW Tip. As Indian customs go, the girl gets her husband’s name written somewhere within the pattern & he needs to look for it to prove to her that he has sharp eyes & an active brain!! It’s an old ritual, so go along with it & try this on your partner.

3.     3. Accessorize. Delhi girls are all about the accessories – the bindi’s that go right in the middle of the 2 eyebrows, vibrant glass bangles that adorn the hands, the toe rings for (obviously) the toes… the list is too long.
TDW Tip. Get a clip-on nose ring just for fun & definitely silver anklets for the ankles.

4.     4. Juttis. Our favorite! Inspired from the Mughal era, the royals wore highly embellished footwear called the 'juttis'.  They are flat in nature with an M shaped front, adorned with colorful embroidered thread work.
TDW Tip. Must buy, goes with any outfit – western or Indian!

5.     5. Visit a local parlor. This is for pure leisure & relaxation. Go to a local parlor in the market of a residential colony. They are small & homely. Plenty of options available from getting a head massage to a mani- pedi to waxing, threading the list is endless. And extremely reasonable.
TDW Tip. Get an oil based head massage – it’s bliss!

Contributions to the list are most welcome.
A little about us: At The Delhi Way we offer TOURS within the city of Delhi & Agra for individuals & small groups. Our tours are a combination of sightseeing, shopping, food & great conversation. These trips can be anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days. Website: www.thedelhiway.com or email us: info@thedelhiway.com

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The birth of a republic

This is not a long post about India's freedom struggle or when & how we got our independence.
We just celebrated our Republic Day on the 26th of Jan. A lot of people (including the Indians themselves) don't really know the difference between 'independence day' & 'republic day'. So here's a tid-bit to get rid of that ignorance or confusion.
  • India was a colony, being ruled by the British, we gained our independence or freedom on August 15, 1947. 
  • However, India did not have a constitution at the time. 
  • The final (hand-written) Hindi & English versions of the constitution were signed & sealed on January 24, 1950.
  • Thereafter, India's constitution came into force on January 26, 1950. That is the day we truly became a republic.



Republic Day celebrations in Delhi. The Republic Day Parade is a grand scale celebration in the capital. It features contingents and displays from the Army, Navy, and the Air Force. The parade also includes vibrant floats from each of the Indian states, showcasing traditional dances & cultural heritage. Where. Rajpath, Delhi. When. 26th Jan, every year.


Happy Republic Day. Jai Hind.

At The Delhi Way we offer TOURS within the city of Delhi & Agra for individuals & small groups. Our tours are a combination of sightseeing, shopping, food & great conversation. These trips can be anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days. 
Website: www.thedelhiway.com

10 essential things to pack for your trip

We love the concept of a holiday - the planning, the exploring, the food you get to try, the people you get to meet, posing for the photographs, relaxing, getting to know another place's culture & lifestyle... the list can go on & on. 

The ONLY thing we dislike is the PACKING before we take off. Sitting on a flight & having that unsettling feeling that you've forgotten to pack something. 

So, here is a list of 10 things you must not forget to pack.


At The Delhi Way we offer TOURS within the city of Delhi & Agra for individuals & small groups. Our tours are a combination of sightseeing, shopping, food & great conversation. These trips can be anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days. 
Website: www.thedelhiway.com

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Delhi Way Tours: Qutub Complex

A young bunch of Bangaloreans explore Delhi.

It was a beautiful sunny day to walk through the Qutub complex. While the Minar is the most popular structure here, the complex has a host of other treasures - one of the 1st mosques that was infact made from material of hindu & jain temples, the Smith's folly that was once atop the Qutub Minar, the mysterious iron pillar that doesn't rust, the dome-less but exquisite tomb of Illtutmish, a half constructed minar close by - the Alai Minar & so much more... 

The few hours spent at the beautiful complex completely transported us to a different era. We strolled as if spellbound, took loads of photographs, were greeted by parrots perched on the old ruins, we wondered aloud how such a tall structure was constructed in the 12th century without cranes & todays hi-tech machinery, how a 6000kg iron pillar was erected here...

We ended this memorable day with a drink at one of the restaurants overlooking this wonder.

With Mohit, Kinnary & Rohit


 
 

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Bazaars & Markets of Delhi

Here we're talking about markets that are mainly street shops, and not housed within the four walls of a mall building. And therefore, we say Delhi's markets have 'character'. Each is different from the other in terms of the kinds of outlets, the products they offer, the brands & the restaurants.


DILLI HAAT.
An open-air food & craft bazaar, Dilli Haat exhibits a variety of thatched roof stalls from almost every region in India. You’ll find beautiful hand paintings from Bihar, retro sarees from Chatissgarh, bright-embroidered umbrellas from Rajasthan, brassware to Kolahpuri chappals (sandals) and Pashmina shawls from Kashmir.

Besides all the fabulous shopping, can’t miss mentioning the variety in food available here – you can get to try different cuisines from the different states of India. Mouthwatering momos from Sikkim, crisp dosas from Tamil Nadu, pao bhaji from Maharashtra to Hyderabadi biryani to name a few…

Attractions. Look out for cultural events & programs.
Entrance Fee. Rs 20/- for an adult. Rs. 10/- for children.
Where. Sri Aurobindo Marg, Opp INA Market

JANPATH & TIBETAN MARKET.
Janpath is a popular & lively area with several street shops – with both fixed & makeshift stalls. It’s a paradise for ethnic goodies like paintings, Indian artifacts, brassware & handicrafts. Besides this there are plenty of cheap jewellery shops with some fabulous pieces. The market also houses one of the largest clothes export-surplus street shops in Delhi with all international labels (ie cutoff labels) available here. Walk towards the Tibetan market & find a spread of colorful embroidered fabrics ranging from bed spreads to lamp shades to embroidered patches to match your outfits to even embroidered shoes (juttis) & umbrellas.

Tip No. 1. Use your bargaining skills to get a good price.
Tip No. 2. Try the cold coffee at D’Pauls, its delicious & a ritual with Delhi-ites.
Closed. On Sundays
Where. Janpath, off Connaught Place 

KHAN MARKET.
While it is one of the most expensive street shops in the world – but you’ll find both a street vendor selling fruits & veggies on the side of the road & a well known designer selling through his flagship store located right in the centre. Khan market is small & cozy, with loyal shoppers who ONLY come to here. Book shops have been a part of this market since ages along with tailors & dry cleaners; today it’s known for its branded stores, small designer outlets, quirky ethnic shops & cafes. You’ll also find street shops which sell sandals/ chappals to beautiful ‘junk’ jewellery at very reasonable prices.  

What to Buy. Books from Full Circle or BahriSons. Sunglasses from Dayal or Drishti. Fusion ‘cotton’ wear from Fab India or Anokhi. Home d├ęcor from Oma or Good Earth or Renovation Factory. Real Jewellery from Amrapali or Fake jewellery from the street side.
Closed. On Sundays
Where. Off Lodi Colony, Opp Golf Links 

CHANDNI CHOWK.
One of the oldest shopping districts which was built in the 17th century and was part of the Mughal city of Shahjahanabad. Walking through the narrow winding alleys can be quite an adventure! Chandni Chowk bazaar has several lanes each designated to a specific product. Bhagirath Palace is a haven for electronics. Fabrics rule the Katra Neel lane. Dariba Kalan is known for its silverware & silver jewellery. If you’re getting married then you need to head towards Kinari Bazaar for all the wedding gear & Nai Sarak for wedding cards. And our favourite place - Khari Baoli, has spices and is one of Asia’s largest spice markets.
Lastly, if you’re daring enough- try the street food here, a variety available at every corner.

Warning. It’s not for the weak, as its quite crowded & the alleys are very narrow.
Closed. On Sundays
Where. Old Delhi 

LAJPAT NAGAR.
Name it and you get it here. Though it’s primarily known for material for Indian outfits, so whether you’re a fashion designer or making an outfit for yourself – this is the place to go to for fabric & other embellishments. And as mentioned earlier you will still manage to get everything here from jewellery to upholstery to readymade & reasonably priced Indian wear (salwaar kameez, lehengas etc) to food items to electronics to household appliances… the list can go on & on.

Tip No. 1. Use your bargaining skills whether in the stalls or the showrooms.
Tip No. 2. Get mehendi applied on your hands & have a bite of the momos from the popular Tibetan carts.
Closed. On Mondays
Where: Near Ashram Chowk, Opp Defence Colony 

SANTUSHTI SHOPPING COMPLEX.
Elegant, sophisticated, tasteful. Santushti has over a few dozen boutiques spread across an open area that is interspersed with green laws & stoned pathways. The stores can be best described as lovely little bungalows or huts. The boutiques range from silk scarves & bags at Christina’s, pashmina shawls at K, cigars at Kastro's, block printed fusion wear at Anokhi, bright cushions & other accessories at Nur & many more. An oasis amongst the crowded Delhi markets.

Warning. Photography & haggling strictly not allowed.
Food. The only restaurant, the famous Basil & Thymes tucked away in the corner.
Closed. On Sundays
Where. Heart of Lutyens, Opp Hotel Ashoka 

HAUZ KHAS VILLAGE.

Located amidst 14th century heritage structures, which include tombs, a madrasa & the breathtaking royal tank. Today’s urban village is home to several eclectic young designers exhibiting their passion through innovative products made of re-usable paper, fashion that breaks the conventional norm, art that explodes your imagination, vintage posters that bring life into the old, jewellery that makes a statement – in short this market oozes creativity, talent & innovation.

Tip No. 1. It’s a maze, so walk around ‘bindaas’ & you’ll discover something in every corner.
Tip No. 2. Take a stroll around the Deer Park & the lake.
Food. Not only shopping, but a haven for food lovers – Yeti for Tibetan cuisine, Naivedyam for South Indian, Boheme & Amour for its exquisite view (& ofcourse its delicious food) and plenty of cafes & bakeries.
Closed. On Sundays
Where. Hauz Khas 

SAROJINI NAGAR MARKET.
One of the city’s most popular export-surplus markets, where you can buy ‘branded’ clothes at unbelievable prices. The area is packed with makeshift street shops, selling a range of fashion wear – jumpsuits, dresses, tops, skirts, linen shirts, cargoes… An absolute paradise for the budget shopper.

Tip. You can have a successful shopping trip only if you bargain with all your might.
Closed. On Mondays
Where. Near INA 

CONNAUGHT PLACE.
The commercial & financial hub of the city often referred to as CP. The Victorian style structure was completed in 1931 and was named after the Duke of Connaught. Today, it has been renamed as Rajeev Chowk (after the late Prime Minister). CP is in the form of rings comprising of inner and outer circle. Besides offices & headquarters of leading firms, CP is also a popular shopping destination with stores that house international brands, restaurants, pubs and cinema halls. The Central Cottage Industries Emporium off CP is famous for its handicrafts. Also there are state-run emporiums at Baba Kharak Singh Marg that offer state specific products.

Tip. One of the oldest eateries – Wengers, very popular amongst Delhi-ites.
Closed. On Sundays
Where. Central Delhi

SO HAPPY SHOPPING!!





Thursday, 6 September 2012

Delhi’s Rapid Development – The Rapid Transit System – Metro



I am in my car with an American friend who is vising Delhi from the USA. While he is excitedly devouring the sites of Dilli in the moving car, the discussion went on to how Delhi maintains the magnificent balance between a progressive developed city and an enriched historical core. One such example that he alluded was that of the omnipresent Metro line that ran along the length of our journey.
Yes, the Delhi Metro. A cornerstone of development symbolized by the brilliantly elevated and underground rail lines, vigorously zigzagging through the landscape of Delhi, somewhere touching the blue hues of the sky and somewhere, deep inside the earth, infusing life from 6 am to 11 pm every day. It’s been a historical journey since 2002 to make this milestone leap towards modernization of the transportation system of Delhi which has put us on the International map as having one of the most technologically advanced Mass Rapid Transit System’s in the world.
It’s cheap, it’s convenient and it’s safe! An average Delhite who fought traffic hurdles with limited and over-crowded public transport buses, and sometimes waited for hours to get a transport ride back home or to his work place, today, pays anything between Rs. 8 to Rs 30, to reach his destination in the shortest possible time. The trains travel at an average of 80km/hour with each train’s average frequency being three minutes! There is special ladies compartment which is unheard of anywhere in the world!! There are ‘pink’ signs on the platform to indicte the ladies compartment which is either at the start of the finish of the platform. The ladies compartment saves  you from the hustle bustle of the other compartments.
In terms of area coverage, it is forecasted that the Delhi Metro will be bigger than the London Underground by 2021, the year of completion of the last phase of the project. In terms of ridership, it’s growing every day. While Tokyo subway system has the maximum passenger rides of 3.1 billion in a year, followed by Moscow Metro, NYC subway system and London Underground, the Delhi metro is close to their heels with 459 million passenger rides in year 2010-11.
We as citizens of this modern metropolis, today, have a choice to use the most advanced and reliable form of public transport thanks to the Delhi Metro. You may be enjoying a morning stroll in Hauz Khas market, pouring over the artefacts, or Connaught place eating at your favourite restaurant or in Chandi Chowk market, buying spices; one thing is for sure, you will not be thinking of how you will get home/hotel, reliving the fear of over-priced taxis and over-crowded buses. You will walk down to the nearest Metro station, and be greeted by smiling attendants.
Delhi’s advancement in public transport has arrived and it will soon overtake the world. A Case study we will be proud to tell and re-tell for years to come!!
Some useful links, if you are planning to travel by the metro in the future:
For Info (coverage/fares/passenger): http://www.delhimetrorail.com/commuters_guide.aspx















Insights into the Delhi Metro by Sukhmani - http://sukhmanipantal.blogspot.in/