Thursday, January 12, 2012

Delhi, India

Executive Summary By Darmansjah

Why Go
India’s capital is in places a city of medieval mayhem-crowded, polluted and intense. But it’s also the maiden aunt of late-British colonial rule and showcase of a modern republic. Like a subcontinental Rome, ti brims with ruins and monuments.

When To Go
Delhi is a city of extreme temperatures, with the mercury rising to 45 degree celcius in summer and dropping to 5 degree celcius in winter. The best time to visit is February to March, and post-monsoon mid-September to the end November.

How To Go
Air India (airindia.ind), Jet Airways (, and SQ ( fly direct from Singapore to Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport 16 km southwest of the city. From KL, fly direct with AirAsia X ( or MAS (


Best For History; The vast Red Fort is a sandstone carcass of its former self but is still the best place to imagine the Mughal City’s splendour. It dates from the 17th century, a time of eunuchs, ceremonial elephants and an interior clad in precious stones (Lahore Gate; 9am-6pm Tue-Sun).

Best For Views; India’s largest moque, Jama Masjid, was built in the 17th century by emperor Shah Jahan and can hold 25,000 worshippers. Climb the southern minaret (women must be accompanied by a man) for superb city views (non-Muslims 8.30am-12.30pm and 2pm-4.30pm).

Best For Architecture; A stunning marriage of Persian landscaping and 16th-century Mughal architecture, Humayun’s Tomb was the first building to combine white marble and red sandstone. The gardens are a magical place to wander at sunset(of Mathura Road; dawn-dusk).

Best For Strolling; From Raisina Hill, the cremonial Rajpath (Kings Way) leads through architect Edwin Lutyens’ palza to the sandstone arch of India Gate. Lined with water features and lawan it takes in the President’s House (larger than Versailles), the North and South Secretariat and the Mughal Gardens.

Best For Shopping; Connaught Place is home to the outdoor janpath Market and the covered Palika Bazaar. Find good-value silverware, pottery, fabrics and handicrafts from all over india from the Aladdin’s cave of Central Cottage Industries Emporium (Janpath; 10am-7pm).

Eat And Drink
In Chandni Chowk market you will find foodstall-lined Paratha Wali Gali, Delhi's most famous food street.
Potato, almond or white radish-stuffed parathas (flat breads) come fresh off the hotplate and are served with tangy pickles (Chandni Chowk;Mon-Sat).

A hole-in-the-wall joint in Khan Market, Khan Cahchas’s kebabs and rolls are so popular that you’ll probably have to queue. Try roti-wrapped mutton seekh or paneer tikka, which are well worth the waith (Flat 50, Middle lane, Khan Market; 12-11pm Mon-Sun).

Over the six decades, Moti Mahal has become an institution renowned for Mughlai cuisine. Faded interior need updating but the food is still top quality. Try the buttered chicken with a dhal makhani – slow – cooked , spiced lentils (00 91 11 2327 3661; 3704 Netaji Subhash Marg, Daryganj; lucnh and dinner).

Swagath serves brilliant Mangalorian and Chettinad cuisine, notable yseafood dishes. Favourites at the smart, six-floor restaurant are its dal-e-Swagat (lentil curry) and coconut chicken curry (00 91 11 2433 7538;; 14 Defense Colony; lunch and dinner).

Bukhara is considered Delhi’s best restaurant, serving tandoori cuisine of the northwest. Its kebabs, tandoor and dhai are particulary feted. Booking is essential (00 91 11 2611 2233; ITC maurya, Sadar Patel Marg; lunch and dinner).
Getting Around

Essentials; Find Your Way; tikects for Delhi’s Metro are sold at stations (one or three day pass; Try cycle-rickshaws, the best way to get around Old Delhi or order an autorickshaw from pre-paid booths at New Delhi train station and palika Bazaar Gate No.2


A find in leafy suburb, Delhi Bed and Breakfast is run by the helpful Pervez and Lubna. Its three rooms have individual touches, traditional furnishings, plus there’s a roof terrace. Book ahead (00 91 98 1105 7103;; A-6 Friends Colony East).

Thikana is the home of Atul and Sheetal, who are passionate about sharing their knowledge of Delhi and tis arts and music. The eight rooms have indian artefacts, rugs and paintings, all by local artists and craftsmen, creating a luxurious homestay that’s worth every rupee (00 91 11 4604 1569;; A-7 Gumohar Park).

Secluded and in Nizamuddin East, with views over Humayun’s Tomb from the roof, B nineteen shows an architect’s touch. Rooms are spacious and cool, decorated in contemporary ethnic style and with mosaic-tiled bathrooms. There’s also a shared kitchen on each floor (00 91 11 4182 5500; B-19 Nizamuddin East).

For a more intimate alternative to Delhi’s five-star hotels, try The Manor set amid manicured lawns. The bungalow offers luxury with elegance. Rooms have modern bathrooms, king-sized beds and silk coverlets (00 91 11 2692 5151’ tje,amprde;jo/cp,’ 77 Friends Colony West).

The Raj-era Imperial marries Victorian classicism with gilded art deco. It houses a fine collection of 17th-and 18th-century paintings, and has hosted princesses and pop stars. Rooms have large beds with Fench linens and opulent marble bathroomss (00 91 11 2334 1234;; Janpath).
Your Recommendations

Lotus Temple

The Bahai House of Worship is a unsual attraction because the majority its visitors are from India not overseas. Built in the 1980s, it resembles a full-circle Sydney Opera House or an opening lotus flower. Outside you can savour the architecture of the temple and its gardens. Inside is a peaceful and relaxing space where you can’t help but collect your thoughts. There is also an isightful museum providing a fascinating introduction to the Bahai faith (Kalkaji; closed Mon).

Lunch in The Park

Lodi Restaurant, within Lodi Gardens, is a serene setting for lunch break. The afresco seating is superbly relaxing, especially if you are able to grab one of the four-poster booths, and the constant honking of the city seems miles away. A varied (although slightly pricey) menu is offered, with an extensive list of salad and pasta dishes (11am-11.30pm).

Memories In Stone
Away from the crowds, the palm tree-lined path beyond the arched gateway to Safdarjung’s Tomb transport you into a world of serene and leisurely solitude. Inside the Mughal-style gardens, visualise the bustle in this once lived-in sandstone and marble mausoleum. Contemplate the fortunes of the powerful Mughal minister Safdarjung, or simply stroll around in the idyllic setting (aurobindo Marg).


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