Nowhere is the distinction between the old and the new more apparent than in Hauz Khas Village. This trendy and artistic neighbourhood rose over the ruins of Siri, the fortress city established by Sultan Alauddin Khilji.
Hauz Khas, which surrounds the enormous water tank that formerly fed Medieval Siri, is the greatest location to observe young Delhiites shedding the bonds of tradition and forming a new, global identity.
THINGS TO DO AT HAUZ KHAS:
• Come here early in the morning for a good purpose: The streets are mostly empty before breakfast, and an eerie morning mist hangs over the remains of the madrasa and the onion-domed roofs of a dozen dispersed mausoleums. Visit the little park by Firoz Shah's Tomb in the centre of the neighbourhood and purchase a cup of sweet chai from the roadside stall. Then, relax while observing Hauz Khas come to life. • Investigate Firoz Shah's historic city: Prepare to take on the remains of Firoz Shah's mediaeval city. Just to the east, abutting the urban settlement of Shahpur Jat and the Hauz Khas Forest, is where the Delhi Sultanate's principal fortification is located (well worth exploring in its own right). As you descend through the ruins to the lakeside, the walking and running pathways wind through the lush Hauz Khas Village Park under the shade of the trees. Enter Deer Park by following the path along the southern coast. Here, spotted deer amble contemplatively among the trees, and peacocks scrounge for food from nearby chaat (snack) vendors. Continue the round along the north shore, passing other Sultanate-era tombs in ruins. • Eat lunch in a hip restaurant: Hauz Khas is home to numerous hip cafés where you can get a balanced, healthy meal that includes everything from deli sandwiches to contemporary Indian fusion dishes. Coast Cafe, located on the second and third floors above the stylish OGAAN shop, offers views of the parklands while you dine on a global menu of tacos, satays, salads, and gourmet burgers (with or without meat). Set up shop on the balcony covered in vegetation if all you want is a cup of coffee. • A selection of clothing and accessories are available: From elaborately brocaded kurta shirts and salwar kameezes to vintage Indian movie posters and reclaimed wood sculptures, Hauz Khas is teeming with quaint boutiques, antique shops, gift shops, and outlets for local artists and designers. Try All Arts, which is close to the eatery Naivedyam, for movie memorabilia and other vintage trinkets. Visit Ricco for lehenga skirts and dresses with elaborate embroidery appropriate for a Bollywood wedding. Bring a sizable budget to OGAAN if you wish to leave wearing clothing with the name of a well-known Indian designer. • Dance at the Hauz Khas Social to round up the evening: Young Delhiites congregate at this loft-like urban venue to let their hair down and dance to DJs and live bands.
New Delhi, Delhi, India