Delhi

A MEMORABLE WALK THROUGH THE STREETS OF OLD DELHI

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I love the streets of Old Delhi as the colorful markets, mouthwatering food and monuments just transport me into another world, where everything is so captivating and beautiful. I know I may sound foolish when I say that because many people get apprehensive over the thought of visiting there, saying it’s too crowded and noisy, but for me, it holds a charm that remains engraved in my heart. Searching through the pictures of Old Delhi for some project work ignited emotions and memories of my childhood days. I immediately decided to relive the magic of Old Delhi with my family members.

It was a foggy Sunday, around 7 AM in the morning and nearly all the roads leading to the famous Chandni Chowk market wore a deserted look. I was quite surprised and began to wonder where have all the people gone? The cows sitting in the middle of a road and blocking your path and no near-deafening traffic noise? It was so quiet. Before I could figure out the reasons, the Red Fort was to my right, magnificent and enveloped by a thick blanket of fog.

Red Fort, Delhi

The gates of the Fort were not open yet so I decided to wait for some time and shared fun-filled moments with my family members sitting on the steps leading to the Fort. After a few hours, the sun touched the sky and I could feel the rays giving the much-needed warmth to the body. I could see the Chandni Chowk coming back to life with the shopkeepers beginning to set up their shops along the road and people moving fast here and there through the narrow lanes.

After spending an unforgettable time in the Red Fort and clicking lots of pictures, we all began to feel tired and hungry. We had skipped breakfast and were famished. So, without wasting any time, we marched towards the popular ‘Paranthe Wali Gali’ to satiate our hunger. 

Parathe Wali Gali, Old Delhi-foodie trail

After meandering like a snake through the narrow lanes, we reached through the Pt. Kanhaiyalal Durga Prasad Paranthe Wale's shop. Different kinds of lip-smacking Parantha, Indian bread made of wheat flour and can be stuffed with several different things ) options listed on the menu only increased our hunger. I was quite amazed by the photographs on the wall that showed famous personalities like Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Shrimati Indira Gandhi or Amitabh Bachchan dining at the shop.

My short trip to Old Delhi was completely magical that just can’t be expressed in words but only felt and experienced. Hey! WAIT! More coming up in Part 2 about the architectural charms of Old Delhi. Stay tuned… you thought that the magnetizing charm of the place could be penned down in just one post?


Manish Pandey is filled with passion for travelling different places and sharing experiences through his blogs. A blogger for the past four years, he dreams to explore length and breadth of the country and publish his own travel stories book someday. When he is not traveling, Manish likes to fulfill his love of photography and read lifestyle blogs.


DELHI'S FINEST RESTAURANTS

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New Delhi is fast turning into a gourmet travelers paradise, with excellent restaurants and eateries. Of course Delhi is home to well known Indian Restaurants like the Bukhara and the Warq, but, in addition, Delhi offers a multitude of fine dining and casual restaurants with other global cuisines as well. For special occasions, there is the Orient Express fine dining French Restaurant, and for casual Bistro style Italian cuisine, there is the Diva Café. The list below has our selection of the Best Dining experiences that the city has to offer.

Indian Cuisine

Bukhara, Delhi

1. Bukhara: Located at the ITC Maurya Hotel, is perhaps Delhi's (or rather India's) best known Indian restaurant. World-famous for its North-West Frontier cuisine, Bukhara brings alive the rustic flavours of North-West Frontier cuisine traditionally prepared in a clay oven (tandoor). The ambiance is decidedly rugged and you can even watch your meal being prepared through the open display kitchen, visual treat not to be missed. Rated amongst the top 50 restaurants in the world and the finest restaurant in Asia by "Restaurants" magazine. Expensive, but not to be missed.

Masala Art

2. Masala Art: Located at the Taj Palace Hotel, is a modern, contemporary Indian restaurant. For all those who think that light, healthy Indian food is an oxymoron, Masala Art is the answer. A show kitchen, contemporary décor, and a superb menu is the recipe that makes Masala Art a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

North India Restaurant

Punjabi by Nature, Delhi

3. Punjabi by Nature: Located in the Ambience Mall in Vasant Kunj, this is an excellent choice for authentic North Indian cuisine. Good value for money.

Veda, Delhi

4. Veda: Located in Connaught Place, right in the heart of town, is a recent addition to Delhi's list of fine dining Indian restaurants. Designed by the famous fashion designer, Rohit Bal, this stylish bar and restaurant, serves excellent north Indian food, and has interesting tasting menu options.

Varq, Delhi

5. Varq: Located at the Taj Mahal Hotel, Varq is the capital’s newest restaurant offering a modern Indian gourmet dining experience with the authenticity of taste and artistic presentation created by celebrity Chef Hemant Oberoi. Varq retains the Indian traditional way of cooking while using exotic ingredients like sea bass, diver’s scallops, goose liver, halibut, sand crab and Karachi prawns.

The Great Kabab Factory

6. The Great Kabab Factory: With 2 convenient locations, one of which is at the Radisson Marina hotel in Connaught Circus, and the second at the DLF Mall, Saket, the Great Kabab Factory offers a unique and fun-filled dining experience. They have a fixed menu dinner, comprising of over half a dozen kebabs, followed by Biryani's, lentils, etc, culminating with at least four different Indian desserts, all served to you at your table.

Swagat, Delhi

7. Swagat: Located in the Defence Colony Market in South Delhi, Swagat is an informal family dining Restaurant. Swagat serves authentic Mangalorean seafood specialties and Chettinad cuisine, both cuisine styles from Southern India, known for their rather spicy dishes. Good value for money.

Dhaba

8. Dhaba: Located at the Claridges hotel in New Delhi, the name Dhaba stands for a roadside eatery popular amongst truckers travelling on highway routes. The restaurant has an authentic Indian Dhaba design and good Indian food.

Other cuisines

Diva, Delhi

1. Diva (Italian): Located in the M Block, Greater Kailash (II) market in South Delhi, Diva is a fine dining Italian restaurant managed lovingly by owner cum chef Ritu Dalmia. Diva boasts of authentic Italian food and has a great wine list as well.

Orient Express

2. Orient Express (French): Located at the Taj Palace Hotel, the Orient Express is a posh replica of a Pullman Orient Express train carriage, and is regarded as the city's most stylish and expensive European restaurant, and has won the best European restaurant award for five years in succession. The four-course journey is inspired by the countries through which the Orient Express passes on its Paris-to-Istanbul run, and is likely to include items such as Camembert soufflé with paprika sauce, pan-seared reef cod with raw papaya salad, and the extremely popular oven-roasted New Zealand rack of lamb, encrusted with herbs and almonds and served with lamb jus. Well worth a visit.

Spice Route, Delhi

3. Spice Route (Pan Asian): Located at the stylish Imperial Hotel in New Delhi, the Spice Route was voted one of the top 10 restaurants in the world by Condé Nast Traveler, and it certainly lives up to its promise with a vast menu that makes the mouth water at the variety of flavors and ingredients. The decor alone is worth a visit -- every nook and cranny is hand-painted by temple artists flown in from Kerala, and antique beams, pillars, and ceilings are all imbued with meaning. As indicated by the name, the menu takes you on a complex culinary journey, from the Malabar Coast to Sri Lanka, Malaysia to Indonesia, Thailand to Vietnam. Service is superb -- smart, discreet, and helpful.

House of Ming, Delhi

4. House of Ming (Chinese): Located at the Taj Mahal hotel, is arguably the premier Chinese restaurant in Delhi. The House of Ming serves both, Schezuan and Cantonese style Chinese cuisine and enjoys the patronage of the hauté and happening in the city.

Flavours, Delhi

5. Flavours (Italian): Located in Defence Colony, just off the Ring Road in South Delhi, known for its genuine home-style Italian cooking. Very good value for money.

Setz, Delhi

6. Setz: The latest addition to Delhi's list of chic, modern eateries, Setz is located in the DLF Emporio designer mall in Vasant Kunj, South Delhi. A huge restaurant with no less than 320 covers and seven different kitchens, Zest offers Indian, Arab, Italian, Thai, Chinese and Japanese cuisine.

Lodi- Garden Restaurant

7. Lodi-The Garden Restaurant: Set in the beautiful Lodhi Gardens in Central Delhi, the Lodi Restaurant, offers Mediterranean and European cuisine. A great place for alfresco dining,  both for Lunch or Dinner.

Olive at the Qutab

8. Olive at the Qutab (Italian): A fine dining Italian restaurant, very close to the Qutab Minar in South Delhi, Olive offers excellent Italian food in an Alfresco setting.

The author, Kapil Goswamy is the CEO of Trans India Holidays, New Delhi.


WHAT’S NEARBY – YOUR GUIDE TO THE AREAS AROUND DELHI’S MAJOR HOTELS

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1. The Connaught

Bordering the city center, Connaught Place, and is only a 3-minute walk away from the outer circle of Connaught Circus. Connaught Place is an old-style low rise shopping area, with plenty to offer by way of shopping, bars, and restaurants. As far as food and drinks are concerned, in Connaught Place, one would find everything from fine dining Indian restaurants like Veda, to fast food outlets like Saravana Bhawan (serving well priced Indian fast food), Mc Donalds, Costa Coffee, etc.

Bordering Connaught Place to the south, is Janpath, which is about a 10-minute walk from the Connaught hotel. It has small shops selling everything from artifacts, costume jewelry, silk, leather garments, and souvenirs. Janpath is a great place for tourists to test their bargaining skills too. Also, located on Janpath, is the Cottage Industries Emporium, a government-run departmental store style shopping complex, spread over 3 floors, with a good selection of Brassware, Handicrafts, Furniture, etc – and with an added attraction of having fixed sticker prices for everything.

A 5 minute walk away from the Connaught hotel is Baba Kharak Singh Marg, which houses a complete row of State Government Emporiums, which are also great places to shop, with fair and fixed prices.

For those seeking to do a bit of sightseeing on their own, India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan, as well as the National Museum are only about 3-4 kms away from The Connaught hotel.

2. The Park

Bordering the city center, Connaught Place, and is only a 2-minute walk away from the outer circle of Connaught Circus. Connaught Place is an old-style low rise shopping area, with plenty to offer by way of shopping, bars, and restaurants. As far as food and drink are concerned, in Connaught Place, one would find everything from fine dining Indian restaurants like Veda, to fast food outlets like Saravana Bhawan (serving well priced Indian fast food), Mc Donalds, Costa Coffee, etc.

Bordering Connaught Place to the south is Janpath, which is a less than a 10-minute walk from the Park hotel. It has small shops selling everything from artifacts, costume jewelry, silk, and leather garments and souvenirs. Janpath is a great place for tourists to test their bargaining skills too. Also, located on Janpath, is the Cottage Industries Emporium, a government-run departmental store style shopping complex, spread over 3 floors, with a good selection of Brassware, Handicrafts, Furniture, etc – and with an added attraction of having fixed sticker prices for everything.

5 minute walk away from the Park hotel is Baba Kharak Singh Marg, which houses a complete row of State Government Emporiums, which are also great places to shop, with fair and fixed prices. For those seeking to do a bit of sightseeing on their own, India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan, as well as the National Museum are only about 3-4 kms away from The Park hotel.

3. The Shangri La & the Lalit

Both these hotels are just off the city center, Connaught Place, which is about a 10-minute walk away. Connaught Place is an old-style low rise shopping area, with plenty to offer by way of shopping, bars, and restaurants. As far as food and drinks are concerned, in Connaught Place, one would find everything from fine dining Indian restaurants like Veda, to fast food outlets like Saravana Bhawan (serving well priced Indian fast food), Mc Donalds, Costa Coffee, etc.

Bordering Connaught Place to the south is Janpath, which is about a 10-minute walk from these hotels. It has small shops selling everything from artifacts, costume jewelry, silk, and leather garments and souvenirs. Janpath is a great place for tourists to test their bargaining skills too. Also, located on Janpath, is the Cottage Industries Emporium, a government-run departmental store style shopping complex, spread over 3 floors, with a good selection of Brassware, Handicrafts, Furniture, etc – and with an added attraction of having fixed sticker prices for everything.

For those seeking to do a bit of sightseeing on their own, India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan, as well as the National Museum are less than 2 kms away from The Shangri La hotel, and less than 3-4 kms from the Lalit hotel.

4. The Imperial

Perhaps the best located amongst all of New Delhi’s hotels. It is located on Janpath, bordering the city center, Connaught Place, which is a less than a 5-minute walk away. Connaught Place is an old-style low rise shopping area, with plenty to offer by way of shopping, bars, and restaurants. As far as food and drink are concerned, in Connaught Place, one would find everything from fine dining Indian restaurants like Veda, to fast food outlets like Saravana Bhawan (serving well priced Indian fast food), Mc Donalds, Costa Coffee, etc.

The Imperial is located right next to the small stores on Janpath, which sell everything from artifacts, costume jewelry, silk, and leather garments and souvenirs. Janpath is a great place for tourists to test their bargaining skills too. Right across the road from The Imperial hotel, is the Cottage Industries Emporium, a government-run departmental store style shopping complex, spread over 3 floors, with a good selection of Brassware, Handicrafts, Furniture, etc – and with an added attraction of having fixed sticker prices for everything.

For those seeking to do a bit of sightseeing on their own, India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan, as well as the National Museum are less than 2 kms away from The Imperial hotel.

5. The Claridges  and The Taj Mahal Hotel

Located just south of the city center, the Claridges as well as the Taj Mahal Hotel are located only about a 10-minute walk away from Khan Market, a great place to shop, with small shops selling everything from books, to hi-fashion clothing, and everything in between. Khan Market also has a great selection of Indian and International Restaurants, as well as several bars and coffee shops. Another shopping area, that is less than 2-3 kms from both these hotels, is the Santushti Shopping Complex (opposite the Prime Minister’s residence), which is a calm green part of town, with boutiques set in beautiful surroundings.

Also, less than a 10-minute walk away from both these Hotels are the Lodi Gardens, an oasis of green in the heart of the city. Spread over about 100 acres of land, the Lodi Gardens are a great place to go for an early morning walk or a jog. The city center, Connaught Place is just a 5-minute drive away from both of these Hotels.

For those seeking to do a bit of sightseeing on their own, India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan, as well as the National Museum are less than 2 kms away from both these hotels.

6. The Oberoi, New Delhi

The Oberoi is about a 10-minute drive away from the city center, Connaught Place, and only about a 5 or 7 minutes walk away from the Sunder Nagar Market, which houses a few fashionable boutiques as well as restaurants. The Oberoi Hotel actually overlooks the Delhi Golf Club, an 18 hole Championship Course, which is less than 2 minutes' walk away.

7. The Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon

Located in the suburb of Gurgaon, just a 15-minute drive from the International Airport, The Leela Kempinski is actually connected by the walkway to one of India’s largest shopping mall, the Ambience Mall. The Mall offers excellent International and Indian branded shopping as well as over a dozen great bars and restaurants .


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