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Urban Village Walks of Delhi

Dilli, or Delhi demographically is vast and blessed with diversity of culture and sub culture. You have people from all parts of the country residing in this capital city of India. All sects of society relish the culture and taste being offered by Delhi. A heritage city with a magnificent History to boast of, Delhi is also known for the relics preserved through the labyrinthine warp of time.

Delhi is also well known world across amongst gastronomes as right from the Dhabas to the elite restaurants, you will find a plethora of cuisine being offered to mesmerize your taste buds, prepared by aficionados in the trade. Whether one visits the Old Delhi food arena or the more contemporary food hubs in New Delhi, mouthwatering and delectable dishes are offered everywhere to give you an orgasmic delight.

Traversing the soil within New Delhi, especially on foot gives an experience far unique and most delightful to be cherished for a lifetime. In short, it's simply impossible to understand the goodness of Delhi through books and magazines.

There are some popular heritage walks conducted in Delhi which include the following:

Hauz Khas Village
Hauz Khas (meaning royal reservoir), built by Allauddin Khilji, is undoubtedly a posh and happening place today in South Delhi which is a buzz with many stories to recite.

Especially during weekends it is a common sight to spot local crowd gathering at Hauz Khas village to behold an extended glimpse of history in form of Mughal-era, Dadi Poti ka Gumbad and Bara Khamba monuments. As one proceeds towards the village, Hauz Khas – or the part that you catch a glimpse of is definitely far from anything similar to a village. Apparently, Hauz Khas has shed its antique and curio shop image.

Both sides of the road have commercial billboards atop buildings displaying names of popular food spots like Imperfecto, Pizzeria Rossa, Trust, Ogaan, Thirty-Nine, Capri Village, Verve, Elf Café, Amour, Fork You, and Gelato Roma that are synonymous with some mind boggling choices. Right behind this village is the Deer Park, one of the largest green, oxygen-infusing expanses in Delhi. Several walking and serpentine jogging trails slither through the park and around the water reservoir.

Hauz Khas village is under going a gradual metamorphosis and is expected to soon emerge as Delhi's culinary heaven.

Siri Fort
Adjoining Hauz Khas is Siri Fort. The highlights of this place include the walls of Tohfe Wala Gumbad, cyclists, juice vendors, hardware stores and narrow alleyways connecting another village – Shahpur Jat (royal town of Jat rulers) dating back to the late 13th century, when the city of Siri was built by Allaudin Khilji. Unlike Hauz Khas, Shahpur Jat is still predominantly a living, breathing urban village and only selected parts of the sprawl have been converted into chic designer studios and small cafes. Anyone visiting this place today easily finds it reminiscentto what Hauz Khas village must have looked a decade back – meager and laid - back. I soon found myself next to Dada Jungi House, a lane lined with several designer studios and stores.

Right across the street from Les Parisiennes – the gorgeous boutique, home décor store and café is a bright pink corner store belonging to Aisha, the brain behind Al Artz - a recognized gift boutique. Here one can lay hands on hand painted things such as bags, trays, shoes, and coasters. Incidentally these are vividly displayed in every nook and corner of the store. Almirah, Saaj, Abjeni, Liz Paul, Abstrakt, House of Blondie, Viveza, Nirvana Land are just a few of design studios on the same street. Around the corner you chance upon yet another visual gem, The Drawing Room, which is a unique and vibrant concept café that sells apparel, jewelry, lamp shades and some lip-smacking espresso to vouch for! The walls are adorned with paintings made by kids purely defining their artistic acumen.

Meher Chand Market
After Hauz Khas and Siri Fort, the next on cards can be surely defined as a 'Rural Chic' destination. The name of this place is - The Meher Chand Market. If Hauz Khas village is all about food and drink, and Shahpur Jat is the new designer hub, Meher Chand Market is a perfect retreat for visitors at Khan Market. One can find a newly opened Cafe88, an upscale multi-cuisine restaurant that offers sumptuous Thai, Malay, Indonesian and Mexican delicacies. The interiors are truly flamboyant stylish and done with exquisite taste. The terrace is quite spacious and offers great view around.

Neatly tucked away in a basement wedged between Cafe88 and The Kirana Shop (an organic food store) is the popular Sugar Blossoms Cake Studio, which has carved a niche for itself by virtue of its excellent cupcakes and truffles. From here one can proceed towards Café Coffee Day, widely acknowledged as one of the first places to influence the new look of this area.

The other side of this market has several designer, gift and furniture stores. Some of the newly added destinations include Ekmatra designer clothes, Crazy Daisy gifts, décor and furnishings, Oomph Factory women's fashion, Ochre home store, TSG shoe collection, O Layla Fashions and Nappa Dori leather accessories.

A multitude of aspects reflecting Indian Art and culture, culinary workshops, music appreciation workshops and many more are subject to exploration during each of these walks. An exploration and celebration of Delhi, one of the most historic living cities of the world on foot is definitely a great way to tread the path back ways into the pages of history, leading you to the heart of Delhi in the most innovative and creative manner, coupled with passion…. unlimited.