Delhi has been a city of mixed feelings for me earlier, with some aspects being good and some bad. But i was determined to visit the city with my darling and see it through his eyes. I expected to be delayed at Delhi airport due to fog conditions during January. But the beginning was good and we reached on time. A very helpful colleagues of my mother's office agreed to pick us up from airport and tour the city.
After being fed with "Cholle Bhature" from the famous 'HALDIRAM' of Delhi. That was some amazing the cholle bhature I had in a long long time. Along with some rather interesting conversation with the head of the office about various places to visit in and around Delhi. We left like two bubbling school kids on a picnic.
Though the roads looked familiar, it had some new essence to it. Such age old architecture right in the city surrounded by modern buildings and roads. It was sight very rare to see. We stopped by at the famous Qutub minar (Quwwat ul Islam mosque, Alai Darwaza, etc.) all in the same complex. We decided to make a quick gateway here but we ended spending almost 40 mins. Everyone was trying to capture the great qutub minar, in one shot. So did we. The artisans may have taken years to build and carve the minar but all the same we took its picture in less than a minute. here are some of our efforts.
It still fascinated me, the beauty of these buildings and the minute details of the carving and scriptures. I could visualise the artisans toiling with little hammer in hot sun. Anyway coming back to the point, there were even some fantastic benches of olden era which we took fancy too. Ofcourse nobody gave them a second glance as they were just benches to rest.
This was our last stop here and then we headed for some serious shopping. We went to "Sarojini Nagar", all shoppers beware take plenty of time and money with you. The market is huge and full of goods, just like a manish market cum Bandra linking road cum fashion street merged into one. Though if you do feel hungry there are some sophisticated stalls selling hot cocoa and coffee, corn, and other items. I just took simple corn and coffee (coffee tasted horrible). We bought few woolens for our trip ahead to Uttranchal and one really big bag for all the shopping. Leaving from there we toured the city, saw India gate from rather far as it was closed for republic day. There are rehearsals of the march for republic day held at India gate, which is open for public to see and we missed that.
I have only seen construction after construction happening in Mumbai for metro, but Delhi has a full fledged operation. We got out of the car and headed for nearest metro station. All the instructions were pretty simple with maps all over the place for people to decide which route to take. We bought our tokens and one cannot buy return tokens from one destination. For each journey that you make a new token has to be bought. We went from connought place to chandi chowk.
It was rush hour and train was crowded as per Delhi standards (not Mumbai ofcourse). It was still fun with announcements and indicators which stations arriving etc. Chandi chowk station was deserted till we came out to the street. we had to ask 4 different people the directions for "parathe wali gali" and had to roam in 4 different streets till we got the place we wanted to be. Thats what i don't like about Delhi.When directions are asked, people there would never say 'I don't know'. Instead they will point the travellers in wrong directions. In our search for parathe wali gali we stopped at a vendor who was selling my favorite gol gappe (pani puri) they were amazing they do not have the concept of mitha pani. Then we paused at 'Haldirams', the shop was amazing streaming with people and whole variety of food to hog on. We decided to keep this option as back up in case we do not get the place we want to eat.
Finally by God's grace and a sane person who gave us the right direction we landed in the gali. We thought of first doing a quick recon of the place. We found an ancient chat place with wonderful variety like the dahi bhale, aloo chaat, dahi kachori chaat etc. I thought of trying dahi kachori chaat. it was mouth watering and wonderfully fiery. Check out the picture to enhance your taste buds.Further we came across 'the paratha shop' called Pt. Gaya Prasad Shiv charan Paratha Shop, established 1872. It had the perfect setting with walls adorned with pcitures taken with all celebrities, small tables with benches and 1 waiter waiting all the tables. Two cooks making paratha orders at really amazing speed. The rule for ordering was you have to order two paratha's does not matter how many share it. We tried the following, don't gasp, we were hungry. We tried, the obvious aloo paratha, gobhi paratha, mix paratha (mixed vegetables), paneer paratha, badam paratha (almonds) and khurchan paratha (dry malai paratha) all made in ghee complemented with various chutneys and achaar (phew). Since we could not stuff ourselves anymore, we packed meva paratha and rabdi paratha along with us.
After having such hearty meal, we were unable to walk back to the metro rail station. We leaped on to cycle auto rickshaw. We reached right on time to leave for our train scheduled at 10.30pm from old Delhi station.
That was my day concluding in Delhi and I left with a variant feeling than from my previous visits here. Hope all the food lovers do visit the 'parathe wali gali" and enjoy the paratha's as we did. Enjoy!!