Delhi - The city of seven cities
January 1, 1970
by Abhilasha Mehta
How many people who are from Delhi or have been there knew this about the city; that Delhi actually once was divided into 7 separate cities?
Qila Rai Pithora, Mehrauli, Siri, Tughlakabad, Firozabad, Shergarh and Shahjahanabad. My favourite one being Shahjahanabad. These were the seven cities which later contributed to make the capital of the colourful and full of culture country, India.
I have grown up in this city, quite familiar with the nooks and corners of the place. I find it so amusing that just by turning to a new corner, one can find themself pulled into a completely different and vibrant place. Delhi is a city which marries perfectly the thousands of year old history to the modernity.
Start at Chandni Chowk
The city is filled with monuments, from Qutub Minar to Red fort and Humayun’s Tomb but for anyone one coming to Delhi for the first time, the best place to start the ‘Delhi darshan’ or Delhi’s sightseeing has to be from Chandni Chowk. In the streets of Chandni Chowk, busy is the normal. The narrow streets are filled with people. Shop owners trying to get to their shops, laborers carrying sacks of goods on their heads, cats, dogs, labourers pulling rickshaws and what not! But then again that’s my India! Also, take the photographer in you to a heavenly trip by going to Khari Bawoli, India’s biggest spice market. Just full of colours and life.
Being in Chandni Chowk one HAS to go and have a meal at the ‘paranthe wali gali’ this lane is world famous for making stuffed rotis or breads.
Delhi is a place for foodies, and to truly enjoy the city, you have to be open to try out new food and those who do not like too much spice beware! Do not forget to tell the waiters beforehand to add as less chillies as possible.!
Transportation around Delhi
A ride through the busy lanes of Delhi can be daunting but one of the most economical ways to travel around the city is through the Metro. Get a metro card; it will help you by saving some time that will be wasted by standing in the queues to get a metro token. But metros can be very crowded sometimes, so another option can be using Ola or Uber apps that have the sharing category which help in saying up some extra bucks. Plus you might meet some interesting people on the way! One other healthier option is renting bicycles from the nearest metro station and then returning it on the next station while seeing the neighbouring localities.
Head to Jama Masjid next
Jama Masjid (Great Mosque), India largest mosque is another place you can visit. You will experience the great architecture and peace here.
The next stop can be Connaught Place. Popularly called CP, this is also the centre of Delhi, built by the Britishers; this place still has its old British charm though now the place is filled with retail outlets and 100s of cafes. This place is also great for some street shopping and don’t forget to bargain! And definitely hit this place on the weekends for amazing pubs and fantastic food.
In CP is Bangla Sahib I would highly recommend to have ‘langar’ here, or any other gurudwara for that matter. A langar is a meal people have in the gurudwara (holy place for the Sikh community) where everyone rich or poor sits together on the
floor and have food in one big hall and it’s free of cost. It’s truly an unique experience for one to have and the food is delicious!
Street Shopping around Delhi
Near CP is Janpath it is known for its handicraft shops; you will definitely find souvenirs and artifacts here to take back a Mini India with you. Plus the Janpath market also has knock off clothes and accessories many of them in great condition and a small price tag.
Now for the ladies! Do visit Sarojni Nagar market once. This place can be every girls shopping paradise though might seem very chaotic at first but has stylish merchandise at almost 1/4th of the original prices. Even if you are on a budget, shopping here will definitely help you in saving up some extra bucks while looking stylish. This place is great even for accessory and shoe shopping.
What and Where to eat when in Delhi on a budget
Haus Khas Village is great for people who like to party on weekends or those who just want to enjoy a nice brunch on a Sunday.
Delhi is all about street shopping and cafes. Now that we had the shopping covered, moving on to food, I would recommend the best budget friendly cafes to try out are those near the university areas. The most famous area being the north campus’s Hudson Lane. This place (just like the other student hangouts like the South Campus’s Satya Niketan ) offer a variety of fast food and north Indian cuisine ranging maximum from ₹500- ₹700/- A must visit is Big Yellow Door for its BOM Burger, tandoori chicken pasta and cheesy fries with a good milkshake.
Famous Street Food Joints
But when you are in Delhi do not miss out the opportunity of having street food. Some of my all-time favourite street food joints are –
- Natraj, Chandni Chowk for its Dahi Bhallas
- Karims, Jama Masjid for its famous non veg especially Seekh Kababs (if you love non veg this place will take you to heaven)
- Old and Famous Jalebi Wala, Chandni Chowk for the jalebis (a mouth-watering Indian sweet)
- Gianis, Chandni Chowk for the rabdi faluda. This is the first shop they opened and now have Ice Cream Parlours all over Delhi. But you know what they say… old is gold!
- Bille Di Hattti, Kamla Nagar for Chole Puri being a foodie I have to tell you guys, I grew up eating this!
- Keventers, Cannaught Place for milkshakes
- Shukla Paan Wala, Cannaught Place for an ice paan (Indian mouth freshner). This is a new experience all together. Just let other people try it out in front of you before actually having it for the first time!
Being a foodie, I have been to a lot of places which serve the most amazing dishes. But my ALL TIME FAVOURITE has to be this fast food joint called Nirulas. It has an outlet in CP as well (CP has everything a person might need and sometimes you do find the most interesting people out there!) If you do stumble in there, try the Onion – Capsicum Pizza and then a scoop of 21 Love ice creams or you can also create your own shakes there!
Okay so the last food joint that I would recommend is Haldirams. India is full of different cultures and from those cultures, we get different cuisines. But if you don’t have enough time to visit each state, and try the cuisine out, just go here! From South Indian to North Indian to Mumbai’s famous pav bhaji, they have everything here and it also tastes good. Plus being a proper food joint, this place is more sanitary than the street food.
So I hope this article helps you whenever you come to Delhi! Have a great time!
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