If you have lived in Delhi or have read the Lonely Planet Guide - you probably know that Delhi is a city full of ruins.
My view of ruins is that they may be great for kids to play Hide n Seek in - but they shouldn't be advertised as tourist attractions. Investigate them for their historical relevance by all means but I'd question your artistic sensibility if you saw them as a great civilizational legacy.
The context for this comment?
|Defence Colony in New Delhi|
I just flew back on an Air India flight to SFO. Over 16 hrs on a plane - so I saw three movies - including a pretty engrossing Korean detective film - and a Hindi film about a 102 year old man and his relationship with his 70 something son. Not as gripping as the Korean film - but I'd give it points for being thoughtful and original.
However, what was really annoying were these ads selling Delhi as a tourist destination. I could have just puked (OK - I exaggerate!)
But apart from all those (ugly) ruins, does Delhi have anything to sell? Of course - but first, throw away that silly Lonely Planet thing that too many Western tourists swear by.
For a start, if you have a taste for rich, flavorful and savory dishes, or sumptuous desserts, it can simply be foodie heaven. Not just for local standards like Chhole Bhature, Zeera Aaloo, Rajma (or Kadhi) Chawal - or the many variety of Kababs, Mutton curries, or Chicken dishes - but also for a delectable sampling of cuisines from all across India and its neighborhood.
For instance, few know that Delhi has an outstanding Bihari restaurant. A little research and you'll discover that you can also get very good Bengali fare, or Manipuri, or Marathi, or Marwari. If you are a little more adventurous, you might also discover Naga cuisine. There are also place to try dishes from Assam or Odisha. Feel like a Neer Dosa (Mangalorean) or a Ragi Dosa (from Uttara Kannada) apart from the ubiquitous Udupi-style ones - you got it. Whether it is delicious Malabar, or uniquely tongue-burning Chettinadu or Andhra fare, - it is all there. And almost every Chaat shop has Dhokla (or even Khandvi) these days.
Venture out a little further - and there are some fine places for Tibetan or Bhutanese food. And there is no dearth of good Thai restaurants. Even Burmese. And several pan-Asian eateries will serve an excellent Khao Shwey, or Malaysian Laksa.
Furthermore, Delhi's restaurant interiors have gone up several notches. Whether you are at a popular university area cafe or at a more upscale Indian gourmet restaurant - there is plenty of ethnic chic to go around. Even seating at any of Delhi's Cafe Coffee Day outlets is likely to be more comfortable than at Starbucks.
|Defence Colony, in New Delhi|
So if you are in Delhi - indulge your stomach - chill at a charming little cafe, browse around at trendy and luxurious boutiques, and in March - work off those extra calories at one of Delhi's many parks. On a clear and breezy spring day, you will see exuberant bursts of color in beautifully landscaped roundabouts and neighborhood gardens throughout South and Central Delhi.
Do it right and you'll go away never wanting to see another decrepit ruin in your life!!!