As it says in my About page, I live in Bombay but if anybody asks me the hoary old question of, “Bombay or Delhi?” I will answer Delhi every single time. Now before you start picketing my house and sending me mean comments like, “Well if you like Delhi so much you should stay there!”, hear me out. I never said I hate Bombay, I have my bestie here, (the very talented Priyanka Chowdhury, who runs The Purplenista which you should totally check out for your beauty needs!) I love the easy availability of local transport, electricity and water, I love sitting on Marine Drive, I love a lot of things but I cannot bring myself to love Bombay the way I love Delhi. Bombay is like the kind, sweet and really nice guy you really want to love but can’t and Delhi is like the bad boy you cannot help but love. I miss having seasons which are not just monsoon and sweating your bodily fluids out, I miss the broad, tree-lined roads, the chaats, the houses which are not little pigeon holes and most of all I miss the juxtaposition of ancient monuments against modern buildings. What I do not miss are of course the shitty autowalas (I am very thankful that Bombay ones follow the meter), the terrible public transport system and ensuing traffic chaos and the erratic electricity and water supply.
Moving on, since this was never meant to be a post comparing the two cities, I just came back from an amazing weekend in Delhi and joy oh joy, have two more visits lined up! *touchwood* When Mr. D and I realised that we would be spending quite a lot of time in Delhi, we quickly made up a list of all the things we wanted to do there, most of them involved food #sorrynotsorry. So without further ado, I present to you, my favourite things to do in Delhi.*
- Visit Select Citywalk: Now I know that a lot of other great malls have opened up in Delhi, some of them maybe even better than Select City, but Select Citywalk was my favourite hangout in my Delhi days. We used to love sitting by the fountains in the winter and watching the crowds flow by. In summers and every other season, the movie theaters were where we would spend our time. We’d shop so frequently at the Pantaloons there that the sales people knew us after some time. As for the food, we had the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, this amazing shawarma joint which I hope is still open, Cocoberry and Chicago Pizza.
- Visit Chittaranjan Park: CR Park is like a little slice of Calcutta. The fish market, the Bengali signages, the Kali bari all feel like home. I want to go back and sample all the Bengali street foods that were my staple diet when I was there. Calcutta nostalgia in Delhi win win!!
- EAT MOMOS!!!!: This last visit to Delhi, there came this time when we were ravenously hungry and were thinking of what to eat, when someone suggested momos. “YES!” came the unanimous cry from all of us. In Delhi, momos are cheap and plentiful. They can serve as your starter, main course and snack, and trust me we’ve all done that at some point of our lives. Where to find the best momos will incite a riot faster than you can say, “Tu janta hai mera baap kaun hai?”, but according to me, the best momos I’ve had were at Sarojini Market and Lajpat Nagar. Big, chunky momos with the chilli garlic sauce, my mouth waters at the very thought.
- Visit Old Delhi: For the food, just for the food and nothing but the food because food in Old Delhi is AMAZING! And Bombay, please stop saying you have good chaat because you don’t, I’ve had chaat at Chowpatty and every single must have chaat place and Delhi is killing it in the chaat category, Old Delhi especially. If you go in the winters, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE for all that is good in the world have Daulat ki Chaat. It is an out of the world experience with milk foam, khoya and powdered sugar. The makers get up in the wee hours of the morning to churn milk and remove the foam to be sold later in the day. This treat is only found in winters.
- Shop till I drop at Sarojini, Lajpat and Janpath: The secret to the Delhi fashionista’s killer appearance? Sarojini, Lajpat and Janpath. Export rejects, designer copies, you name it you have it. Bargain, threaten to never come back and always pay half or even less than to get the best deals. Someday I will get the Sabyasachi lehenga of my dreams at one of the shops in Old Delhi, first copy that is. 😉
- Hang out at the many monuments: Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Humayun’s Tomb, Agrasen’s Baoli, Qutub Minar, the Red Fort, Lodhi Gardens and the India Gate. Mmmm.. Sitting on the grass, soaking in the winter sunshine with the smell of oranges all around, where can you do that in Bombay?
- Enjoy a drive in Lutyens’ Delhi and Chanakyapuri: Those lovely straight roads, surrounded by greenery, Lutyens’ Delhi is a haven. This is especially true during summer months when the roads are carpeted with those glorious yellow Amaltas blossoms.
- Enjoy the
smogfog and the winter chill: Last December I remember returning home covered in sweat after running some errands. IN DECEMBER! It was 30 degrees plus. Bombay just misses the memo on the season change, except when it comes to monsoons. Delhi on the other hand is covered in fog, the sun is barely visible and the cold seeps into your bones and that kids is what winter should feel like. There is something so magical about waking up on a Saturday morning to find fog enveloping the world outside, nothing beyond your window can be seen. And the cold! Oh the cold! Sharp and piercing through to your bones, the Delhi winter makes it worth your while to wear those smart coats, snazzy jackets and sweaters.
That’s it. This is my list of things I always want to do in Delhi. Next up Kolkata!
*Things that I like to do, your list may differ. 🙂