Happy New Year all! How is the year going for all of you? Good, Bad, so-so? I'm Back after a long break, I know, and I have to apologize for having neglected the blog for so long. Its been a combination of a very busy X'mas, some sudden work that has cropped up and dealing with some personal difficulties. All of which have left me a little uninspired.
But things are looking up and as the saying goes-'What doesn't break you, only makes you stronger.'
So to kick things off I wanted to tell you about a little adventure I had About two weeks ago. I know I focus a lot on design & decor as well as food, but this blog also touches on travel and its been ages since I shared a travel experience with you guys. So here goes ...
Sick of sitting around doing nothing on the weekend, the three of us decided to do a walking tour of Delhi. We've been in Delhi for a while now, and we've seen most of the must see items on the tourist list- Qutab Minar, Humayun's Tomb, Purana Quilla, Red Fort, Chandni Chowk... but what I love about Delhi is that it is so steeped in history and there are so many lesser known sights to see and explore! And I really feel that travel starts by first exploring the things close by and then venturing out to explore exotic and distant shores.
The inspiration for our walk was 'Step Wells of Delhi'. I got the idea from a program I had seen on TV ages ago, that mentioned an ancient step well in the heart of Connaught Place. It looked beautiful and after some internet research, I came to know it was Agrasen ki Baoli. It was during this research that I discovered that there were more step wells like this and all close to metro stations! So for this outing we ditched the car and the hassles of traffic and parking that go with driving in Delhi, and decided to do the tour on foot, aided by the metro of course :)
The plan was made and waking up early on a Sunday morning, we packed a few sandwiches and a thermos of tea into a backpack and headed off to Huda City Centre, from where we took the metro, to Qutab Minar. At Qutab Minar Metro Station you may notice a dog that seems to guard the metro station entry- we called him 'The Gatekeeper'. He's a real character and quite a cutie, and he knows how to suss out dog lovers.
The Mehrauli Archaeological Park is about 600m, about a 5 minute walk, from the Qutab Minar Metro station. There are some really wonderful old monuments here that dot the wild landscape. And that's what I find magical about this place. Its not pristine- its a little wild and the shrubbery seems to be in constant battle with the heritage structures that are here. Best of all its quiet, with hardly any visitors and this adds to the somewhat haunted appeal. You can find a detailed description of the monuments here. (Word of warning though- I would not visit this the park alone due to the fact that there are so few visitors- better to go in a small group of three at least, just to be on the safe side)
Entrance to Balban's Tomb
Jamali Kamali Mosque
Jamali Kamali Mosque (interior)
We wound our way through the park to Rajon ki Baoli where we enjoyed our packed breakfast and warm tea. We basked in the warm sunshine and soaked in the atmosphere while happily clicking away. The step well is beautiful and still has water in it. Unfortunately visitors have decided to use it as a dumping ground so there is a lot of rubbish in the water. A sad reminder that we don't appreciate and respect our heritage structures as we should. This is a lovely place for artists to come and sketch away- the surrounding offer so much inspiration.
Rajon ki Baoli
From here we walked to Gandhak ki Baoli which is close to the Mehrauli Bus Terminus and also to Adham Khan's Tomb. This baoli is sadly unimpressive and looks more like a garbage dump than a step well and was a bit of a waste of time, but we did see Adham Khan's Tomb which was close by, and that somewhat made up for it.
After our exploration of the park, we had built up quit an appetite. We hopped on the metro and headed off to Patel Chowk from where we walked to our lunch destination- the famed Andhra Bhavan, where we were looking forward to some delicious and spicy fare. We were not disappointed. The food was great and you will really enjoy this place if you love your meat. Go on a Sunday and enjoy their delicious and generous chicken biryani. Get there before 12.30 and you will avoid the lunch crowd and you'll be sure to get your biryani before it runs out!
Happy after quite a feast!
With food in our bellies, we made our way to Hailey Road and to Agrasen ki Baoli. This is a really beautiful step well, which has sadly run dry. Its crazy that in the middle of the city, there is such an ancient structure. One gets a sense of the surreal, standing in the step well and looking up to see commercial towers in the distance. We got there by around 3pm so it was a little crowded. I'm sure it would be even more magnificent if we had got there early, before the crowds and only the pigeons for company.
Some street art just outside Agrasen ki Baoli
Agrasen ki Baoli
From here we made our way home. A great day discovering some of the lesser known sights of Delhi. A fun day walking around this city making random discoveries- an absolutely wonderful experience and something I can't recommend enough. Make the most of the weather while its still cool- forget your car and enjoy this incredible city by foot!
[All Images- Shalini Pereira]