Central New Delhi
To feel Delhi you need a lifetime, but when it comes to seeing Delhi, you can manage fairly a lot in a single day. This post focuses on giving a flavour of Central New Delhi with a time window of Dawn to Dusk.
- Say 6:00 AM – Start your day with a by the clock setting of hitting Vijay Chowk, Rajpath at the exact time of sunrise. Your day begins. Park your car and walk up as close to Jaipur Star/ Rashtrapati Bhawan gates as the security guards allow you to. Usually they do allow everyone to walk till the main gates beyond North Block & South Block. If you love what your camera can do and what you can do with your camera, your delight begins. A monkey saying Good Morning is mapped perfectly well with a para-military commando enjoying his yawn and waiting for his time for the day to end. I am told, technically you can be stopped from shooting there, but if you look harmless they don’t object. They haven’t objected me ever. Enjoying North Block – South Block and Rashtrapati Bhawan structures from outside takes a minimum of 60 minutes.
- Say 7:00 AM – Start walking down from the Raisina Hill towards India Gate. This road is called Rajpath, known as King’s Way during the time of the British Raj. It is interesting to see how Lutyens’ designs unfold as you start walking towards India Gate always looking at your left, right and behind you. Yes behind you is where the marvel of design unfolds, it is interesting to see how the complex changes, looking very different than what you saw just a few minutes back. Parliament House/ Sansad Bhawan and the lawns just around Vijay Chowk are beautiful sites, so is the fountain and the unfolding road network. Try to complete your walk till India Gate in about 30 minutes, it can be tough though. It is important to see India Gate from all the eight angles: North; North East; East; South East; South; South West; West and North West. For best sites, choose a spot and turn 360 degrees slowly to savour the marvel of urban architecture. It can easily take you 60 minutes to make the best out of this place. Remember to come back here after sunset and try to do the same sequence as in point 1 and 2. The experience would be very different but equally exciting.
- Say 8:30 AM – Time to get back to your car and head for breakfast, Sarvana Bhawan, Cafe Coffee Day and McDonald’s are some of the choices in Connaught Place (CP/ Rajiv Chowk) area. I would recommend Sarvana Bhawan at Janpath. Sarvana Bhawan is a South Indian restaurant offering some of the best Idlis, Upma and Dosas in the city.
- Say 9:30 AM – Take a walk down Janpath, first towards Meridian Hotel and proceed towards Rafi Marg, do look out for Eastern Court and Western Court Buildings. Walk till the back of the Parliament House and take Parliament Street/ Sansad Marg and start walking towards Connaught Place. After crossing Parliament Street Police Station you’ll pass the All India Radio (AIR) building and then walking down the same street you will reach Jantar Mantar Observatory, now better known for protests and agitations. You need about 30 minutes to see Jantar Mantar.
- Say 11:00 AM – Walk into the Imperial Hotel (150 meters away) and have a cup of tea/coffee. You would suddenly get transported to textbook India of 1940s. Consider the charge you pay as an entry fee for a date with the history and a small price for your feet and legs to relax they have another 4-5 hours of hard walk/work to do.
- Say 12:00 Noon – Lookout for the Tibetan Market and the Janpath Flea Market near Indian Oil Building. It is a good one hour of roaming around this area and hunting for bargains. A kind of place where no bargain is impossible.
- Say 1:00 PM – Now you walk past Janpath market and enter the Connaught Place. It takes time to soak in history of the place and get one with the commercial setbacks the place has been facing for more than a decade. You need to take full inner circle round and, must stop place for recharging yourself is the Wenger’s – Delhi’s original bakery. Wenger’s brought the concept of the pastry shop to India in 1926. The shop is one of the few institutions to continuously run from the same location in the city of Delhi for over 80 years. As good as Wenger’s was a phrase used by every single bakery established in Delhi till the eighties. If you are hungry or you want to relax take a break at any of the inner circle restaurants, most are good. Khadi Garam Udyog on Barkhamaba Road and inner circle is a good last stop in Connaught Place area.
- Say 3:30 PM – On the side of Khadi Gramydyog is Hanuman Mandir, a complex Mandirs with stream of devotees stopping by for a quick “darshan”. State Emporium Complex is on the opposite side. If you wish to get a feel of handicrafts and local art of different states of India or do some serious shopping, you can plan to spend a few hours hopping from one building to another. End of the State Emporium Buildings gets you close to Sacred Heart Cathedral, one of the oldest church buildings in New Delhi, constructed in 1930s. Bang opposite the cathedral is Sri Bangla Sahib Gurdwara, one of the most visited places of worship in the city of Delhi on daily basis. It is said that no time is a bad time to visit the Gurdwara complex. It is essentially a Sikh place of worship, its central location and its open doors to people from all walks of life have made IT a central part of Delhi’s day to day life. At any given point of time, you would find people from very diverse cultural, economic and religious backgrounds sitting or walking around.
- Say 5:30 PM – Best would be to get your car to pick you up from Bangla Sahib Gurdwara and take you to your next halt at Bengali Sweets at Bengali Market off Tansen Road. Your place for evening tea/ coffee and Indian snacks.
- Say 7:00 PM – This is time to look at what has happened to India Gate, it is party time and you would find hundreds of street vendors and ice-cream carts. A good time to call it a day.
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