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The Many Charms of Delhi Winters

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The misty mornings, India Gate sneaking from behind a layer of fog, the green embrace of trees, bitter cold breeze brushing the body, wide roads with open spaces and the gush of steam from the tea kettles of roadside chaiwallas. These are the many charms of Delhi winters.

Falling in love with Delhi during winter is as easy and memorable as love at first sight. Delhi winters are so iconic that there is even a Bollywood number dedicated to it —Pyaar tera Dilli ki sardi

“I totally love Delhi winters. I have personally been fond of them. Unfortunately, in Mumbai we don’t get to feel winters so we miss it too much. The sight of fog, the warm clothes, staying in the blanket, cozying inside and eating yummy hot Punjabi food make Delhi winters super special,” says Nach Baliye 7 and Wajah Tum Ho fame actor Himmanshoo Ashok Malhotra, who was born and bred in Delhi.

Here is the best of what Delhi has to offer during the winter, when you can chuck the trip to airconditioned malls for these bountiful street experiences.

The Uncommon

One of lesser known and must-see historical places is Agrasen ki Baoli. You can admire the construction and preciseness of this Step Well with 103 steps only when the scorching sun is not beating down on you. It is believed to have been originally built in the 12th century by Maharaja Agrasen and restored in the 15th century. 

Location: Hailey Road, Connaught Place (CP)

Metro Station: Barakhamba

Timings: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Entry Fee: Free

Hauz Khas

Hauz Khas is a beautiful assembly of ruins that look resplendent even in their wreckage. The ruins are a common hangout for youth longing for serenity and peace. Click pictures with your partners against the bright shining walls of the remains, reflecting sunlight and live your Aandhi moment. Hum the song Tere bina zindagi se koi shikwa toh nahin, remembering your old crush or lost love.

Hauz Khas is home to the most happening night clubs, eating joints and bars. It is also the shopping district for foreign tourists. If you are looking for the “it” place in Delhi, this is it!

Location: Hauz Khas Village

Metro Station: Green Park

Timings: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm(Best)

Entry Fee: Free

 

Green Delights 

A garden is the best place to laze around soaking in the sun during the winter months. Lodhi Gardens are spread across 90 acres and feature several incredible monuments, such as Sheesh Gumbad, Bada Gumbad, Bada Gumbad Mosque, Sikandar Tomb and Mohammed Shah Tomb, as well as a lake. 

Location: Main Lodi Road, Beside India International Centre

Metro Station: Jawaharlal Nehru

Timings: 6.00 am to 7.30 pm

Entry Fee: Free

 

Garden of Five Senses 

Another place to enjoy the winter sun and take leisurely strolls is the Garden of Five Senses, spread over 20 acres. The garden has several striking features, such as metal birds, stone elephants, peppered seating arrangements, food courts, and distinctly styled Khas Bagh and Neel Bagh, a pool of water lilies. 

Location: Said-ul-Ajaib, M.B. Road, South of Saket

Metro Station: Saket

Timings: 9.00 am to 6.00

Entry Fee: Rs 10-30

 


All That’s Mughalai 

India’s marble and sandstone magnum opus mosque Jama Masjid is a sight to behold in the winter. Its 40-meter-tall minarets and vast courtyard that can accommodate 25,000 devotees are tributes to Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan’s architectural passion. He also built the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Red Fort, which is opposite the mosque. The Jama Masjid is India’s largest mosque. 

Location: Near ISBT Kashmere Gate,1 Km from Old Delhi Railway Station

Metro Station: Chawri Bazaar

Timings: Between Sunrise to Sunset

Entry Fee: Free

 

Nizamuddin Dargah

Experience live Sufi music in Nizamuddin Dargah. Feel something as spine-chilling as the Delhi winter chill itself. Popularized by Bollywood in many songs, the Nizamuddin Dargah teems with devotees throughout the year. Listen to the high-pitched qawalli. On Sunday and Thursday the Dargah serves free food to devotees. Explore the shrine of Amir Khusro, the father of qawalli and one of the country’s most iconic cultural figures. Enjoy some of the best kababs in the neighborhood restaurants. 

Location: 1.5 Km from Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station

Metro Station: Jawahar Lal Nehru

Timings: Anytime (Best is Thursday evening during prayer time)

Entry Fee: Free

 

 

Corridors of Power

Sansad Bhavan is the most nostalgic building in Delhi, which you have seen scores of times on Doordarshan. Standing tall and shining bright under the winter sun, Parliament House is an enduring monument to Indian democracy.

Location: Sansad Marg (Parliament Street), North of Rajpath

Metro Station: Udyog Bhawan

Timings: 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM (Closed Sunday & Monday)

Entry Fee: Rs 10 for Adults,

Children-Free

 

Rashtrapati Bhavan

Location: Raisina Hills

Metro Station: Central Secretariat

Timings: Only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm

Entry Fee: Rs 25 registration charges

 

 

 

 

 

For the Bohemian

Bahai Lotus Temple is a mesmerizing lotus shaped structure made of pure white marble, standing amidst lush green landscape. It is surrounded by nine pools of water and blooming petals, which look picturesque with full blooms during the winters. The Guinnes Book of World Records lists it as the most visited religious building in the world.

Location: Lotus Temple Rd, Shambhu Dayal Bagh, Bahapur

Metro Station: Kalkaji Mandir

Timings: 9.00 am to 7.00 pm (closed Monday)

Entry Fee: Free

 

Majnu-Ka-Tila 

Popular as Majnu-Ka-Tila, this Tibetan refugee colony is the Little Tibet of Delhi, popular for Tibetan markets and Tibetan food. Shop for colorful tees, jeans, flip flops, shoes and bags. Collect posters of Tibetan deities, figures of the Dalai Lama, or Tibetan pendants. You can also enrich your Chinese and Korean film CDs and DVDs.

Location: New Aruna Nagar

Metro Station: Vidhan Sabha

Timings: 11:00 AM - 7:30 PM

Entry Fee: Free

 

The National Zoological Park

The National Zoological Park is a surprise package in Delhi. Situated in the heart of the city, the zoo has recreated an ambience of the natural habitat. The zoo is home to 1,350 animals from around the world, including the rare white tiger.

Location: Near Purana Qila on Mathura Road

Metro Station: Pragati Maidan

Timings: 9.00 AM to 4.00/4.30 PM (Closed Friday)

Entry Fee: Rs 10 – Rs 200


 

 

For The Foodies

If you love old world charm, Chandni Chowk is the place for you. Its narrow bylanes are dedicated to individual business sectors or industries. Famous for inexpensive clothing, raw material, jewelry, fabric and electronic items, Chandni Chowk is teeming with shoppers. You can spot everything from a bullock cart to a Mercedes here. Chandni Chowk is also famous for its rich and spicy street food. From Paratha Wali Gali, Hazari Lal Jain Khurchan Wale, Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala, Lotan Chole Wala, Chawri Bazaar, Karim’s, to Daulat ki Chaat, Old Famous Jalebi Wala, Natraj Dahi Bhalla and non-veg outlets around Jama Masjid, you can sample some of the best street food in India. Some of these famous eateries have served Mughal emperors and Indian ministers. Now you can drool on them too. Other famous spots in this area are Dariba, Kinari Bazaar and Daryaganj.

Location: Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi

Metro Station: Chandni Chowk

Timings: 9:30 AM - 8:00 PM (Closed on Sundays)

Entry Fee: Free

 

 

 

All That’s Handicraft

Dilli Haat has handicraft shops representing almost every Indian state, set up flea market style. Dilli Haat is an initiative to encourage local artists. You can buy keepsakes and giveaways for your family and friends here. Gujarati embroidery bags, beaded purse, mirror umbrellas, wooden idols, colorful paintings, jewels, bamboo and jute products…. 

Location: Opposite INA Market, Sri Aurobindo Marg

Metro Station: INA

Timings: 10.00 AM - 10:00 PM

Entry Fee: Nominal Charges

 

Dastkar Winter Mela 

If you cherish Indian arts and crafts, the Dastkar Winter Mela in Chattarpur, South Delhi, is the highlight of the Christmas season. The mela features herbal and organic products, winter textiles, cultural performances, and Christmas food. 

Location: Nature Bazaar Venue, Andheria Mod, Chhatarpur

Metro Station: Chhatarpur

Timings: 11.00 AM - 7:00 PM

Entry Fee: Nominal Charges

 

 

Surajkund International Crafts Mela

The big daddy of art and craft festivals is the Surajkund International Crafts Mela, held in February every year in Faridabad. It showcases the richness and diversity of Indian handicrafts, handlooms and fabrics and draws an estimated million visitors. An artificial lake constructed against the backdrop of the Aravalli Hills gives the festival its name “Surajkund.”

Enjoy the performances of folk artists from around the world at open-air theaters, amazing spots of adventure and amusements. Visit hundreds of stalls of elite crafts and the multi-cuisine food courts featuring traditional foods from across India. “If you wish to experience the diverse cultural heritage of India in the form of fun, frolic and happiness this Winter Mela is your destination,” says Olivia Robert, a tourist from Sweden who visited the festival last year.

Location: Surajkund, Faridabad Surajkund is a 35 minute drive from the Indira Gandhi International airport and 25 kms from Palam airport

Timings: 10.30 AM - 8:30 PM

 Entry Fee: Rs 80 (weekdays) and Rs 120 (weekends)

 

 

The Fiesta

If it’s the past that glorifies Delhi then it’s the present that keeps it alive. Winter is the time when many colleges hold their College Fests. “Delhi, acts as the perfect winter host. Local flavors blend well with global musicians and performers. The celebrations are laced with exciting fun activities,” says Sakshi Tanwar, a former Delhi University student who has now moved to London. Bask in the warm sun while absorbing foot tapping live performances at one of these fests.

You also cannot miss the Christmasy feel, luxurious locales, layering of wintery clothes and high end shopping at the DLF Promenade. You can spot the rich and famous from Delhi shopping for their Prada, Gucci, Dior, Versace and Armani needs here. The mall provides you the experience of a lifetime as you marvel at just how much India has changed since you left the country.

Location: 3, Nelson Mandela Marg, Vasant Kunj Malls,

Metro Station: Chhatarpur

Timings: 10.00 AM - 10:00 PM

Entry Fee: Free



 

 

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Arts & Entertainment | Life | February 2017

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