Photo essay: Of mini-adventures in Delhi

Best plans happen in a spur-of-the-moment. They are spontaneous and they are always cool.

If not for that spontaneity, most of my plans would have never been exciting and there would be no stories to tell. There would be no 8 o’clock visit to the centuries-old Qutub Minar, no fun traversing the empty lanes of Hauz Khas village in search for a hearty breakfast and hopping from one station to another just for the euphoria.

These are my mini-adventures and for them, I never dwell on second thoughts. All I do is go out and not hold myself back.

The first leg of this adventure: Qutub Minar

It all happened a week ago. A conversation hatched the entire plan. The idea of waking up early and visiting at 7 in the morning sounded absolutely doable. We needed to do that and we wanted to do that.

Excitement and anticipation. I just couldn’t wait for the weekend to arrive!

So it happened as we planned. Woke up at 7, boarded the metro at 7:45 and reached our first destination at 8. Everything seemed ceaseless. I could already spot the enchanting old tower standing tall as I crossed the Chattarpur station. Like a child who cannot hold her excitement to meet her favorite aunt, I shared the same eagerness.

Built many centuries ago under the regime of Delhi Sultanate, Qutub Minar is certainly tall. But, it’s the strength of this grandeur that I am really amazed at. So many centuries have passed by, but these remnants have stood the test of time.

At this hour, the sun was not strong and people were a handful. And that made our walk quite pleasant. We found few Japanese and Vietnamese in their signature hats, clicking pictures, taking down notes. If not crowded, they made the spot quite touristy.

But, it is always great to see people from different ethnicity. Certainly, a place like this is the melting pot of diverse cultures. And, here is the interesting part, at least to me it is. You always get to learn a thing or two.

The arches reflect the touch of Turkish architecture

There was one thing that we certainly did right. If you want to avoid a crazy crowd, do some photography and take a stroll, this is the time. Start early and admire the tranquil moment. You will notice a lot of things that you often tend to miss in a crowd. You will be able to appreciate the beauty and the sheer brilliance of those Turks.

Had it not been for these craftsmen who greatly influenced the cultural development in India, we never would have had the privilege of witnessing these beautiful pieces of work.

After spending an hour here, it was time for us to travel to our next destination. Breakfast at Hauz Khas village. This village is somewhat like a concoction of Bohemia mixed with the congested lanes of a posh South-Delhi locality.

Breakfast at L’opera, Hauz Khas Village

The lanes are buzzing with cafes and most of them are expensive, doesn’t always promise the quality and quantity. So, make a safe bet following TripAdvisor reviews or if your friend just Instagram’d that risotto, you might just want to ask her.

The sprawling restaurants and the crowded bars pretty much reminded me of Thamel in Kathmandu (Nepal) albeit this is a mini version. So, here we are finding ourselves in the empty lanes of HKV. I see people cleaning the streets, shops aren’t open yet. Ah, it’s still 9 a.m. A few coffee shops have just opened and luckily we could spot one patisserie L’Opera serving their customers. We thought of giving it a try.

Cappuccino, cold sandwich with cheese and lettuce & their signature pastry

Cappuccino tasted just like another cup of cappuccino, the cold sandwich was fine, but I liked their signature pastry. Only if you would like to try.

Lanes of Hauz Khas Village (HKV)

Hauz Khas Village is one of the most happening hangouts in Delhi. For now, the alley looked empty, but, come someday in the evening. The place bustles with loud music, the smell of hookah lingering in the air and the ultra chic college going kids who would make you feel like a left out generation, if not older.

Apart from the tattered roads and tangled electric wires, this place nowhere resembles a village. Along with designer boutiques, we could see some interesting stores where you can buy collectibles, souvenirs, and antique items too. Went to this store called Letternote. Saw “Do Epic Shit” collectibles of all kinds. From notebooks, coffee mugs to tote bags, they have a nice colorful collection.

Letternote store

 

Hauz Khas fort that lies adjacent to this area had nothing much to offer. This place is a part of Heritage walk sites, so for first timers, this might be an interesting add to the itinerary.

Clay, Wood & Food : Crafts Museum & Cafe Lota, the third destination of this day

One of the things that I love about Dilli (fondly called) is the greenery and the wide roads. After Hauz Khas, we took the metro to Central Secretariat and from there, we took an auto to Pragati Maidan. Crafts Museum is located here.

This place houses Cafe Lota which is quite popular, a textile museum and a library. I liked the serenity of this place. You can take a book, sit under the shade of the tree and spend all day long here.

Terracotta items
The ambiance of Crafts museum, a serene place much aided by the dense canopy of the trees

At 42 degrees outside, this place made a perfect halt. There were handcrafted items from different regions of India. Pretty similar to Dilli Haat (if you haven’t been there yet, I ask you to visit). Display of terracotta items, Rathava paintings from Gujrat and Mithila art from Bihar made this place so much appealing.

Since photography wasn’t allowed inside the museum, the Ikat sarees couldn’t be captured. I loved the myriad patterns of Phulkari from Punjab, those Jamdani sarees, and Brocade ones and not to forget the intricately patterned handkerchiefs from Chamba, Himachal Pradesh.

What an artistry!

Painting from Patiala
Handcrafted stole
The artisan
And his creations…

Art can be so inspiring and healing. The imagination and the creative minds that go behind in building such pieces of work are truly remarkable. This place offered me tranquility from the chaotic world outside. And, if you are looking for any such place in Delhi, you know where to go now. Just for a change.

Workshop going in the meantime
Inside the Crafts Museum

Next, we headed to Cafe Lota. A glass of Nimbu paani (Lemonade) was a respite from the heat, Khatta-meetha dhokla was little different, the cottage cheese made all the difference. Of all, Palak Patta Chaat was a clear winner.

 Spotted Purana Quila which was opposite to this place. But, we couldn’t afford to walk under the blazing sun. Dropped the idea and went straight to Connaught Place. Spent some time at Palika Bazaar and walked around Connaught Place. By this time, we were exhausted. It was a wise move to have started early.

The best part of the day was we could avoid the crowd and the heat.

Although, we wanted to spend the evening exploring the Janpath market. We suddenly realized how much we did in so little time! We didn’t regret, we were content. We happily boarded our ride back home. All this time, there was a sense of fulfillment within me. And, those 7 hours weren’t done in a haste.

When we start doing things, live the life the way we want to, even in fragments, we absolutely feel in control and life kind of looks awesome to us. We want to do more and we actually end up doing more.

All you need to do is go out and not hold yourself back!


 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s