10. DLF Emporio in Vasant Kunj
Delhi is a shopper’s paradise but tourists tend to pay far more attention to the city’s labyrinthine, feverish marketplaces. Justifiably so, perhaps, but there’s something undeniably fascinating about the DLF Emporio mall in Vasant Kunj. The luxury brand mall, arguably the swankiest in all of India, caters to Delhi’s moneyed upper crust (and, higher up on the food chain, the occasional billionaire’s daughter or mistress). In an ironic twist, visitors have to cruise through the slums before they hit up Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton et al. Concierges at upscale hotels in New Delhi will know precisely how to get there.
9. Central Market, Lajpat Nagar
A suitable counterpunch to DLF Emporio’s unabashed affluence is Lajpat Nagar’s Central Market, where travellers can swap out their jeans and trainers for affordable, well-made, authentic Indian clothes.
8. International Dolls Museum
Delhi’s International Dolls Museum was established by Kerala native and famed political cartoonist K. Shankar Pillai in 1965. Housed on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg in the Children’s Book Trust building, the museum displays tens of thousands of dolls gifted to, and subsequently donated by, the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, the Queen of Thailand and dignitaries from all over the world.
7. Nalli Silk Sarees, Connaught Place
Connaught Place is ground zero for tourists and locals alike but Nalli Silk Sarees is largely overlooked by the former. This Shangri-la of sarees has four floors chockablock with material – and overzealous aunties too.
6. Central Cottage Industries Emporium
Emporium is right. Central Cottage Industries’ chief haunt procures products from every corner of India. Tourists looking for cut-rate goods may want to give it a wide berth but quality-wise the range is superb in the silverware, jewellery, pottery, textile and beauty product departments.
5. Lalli Motorbike Exports
Loyal adherents of Royal Enfield, makers of iconic and maddeningly tempermental motorcycles, flock to this shop/museum in Karol Bagh for repairs, tutelage, tips and, quite honestly, simply to gape in amazement.
4. Chandni Chowk Bird Hospital
Delhi’s Jains make up only 1% of the megalopolis’ population but the community renders some valuable services; most notably in the form of the avian veterinary hospital in Digambar Jain Lal Mandir temple.
Lhasa’s a tough go for many tourists – altitude, special permits from the People’s Republic of China and all – but Delhi’s Majnu-ka-tilla neighbourhood brings some aspects of authentic Tibetan culture to life. The city’s Tibetan colony, as it’s called, was established in 1960 and contains myriad Buddhist temples, handicrafts shops and restaurants.
2. Kitab Bazaar, Daryaganj on Sundays
Delhi’s biennial book fair is Asia’s biggest but those who can’t make it to the main event can avail themselves of a busy and eclectic book bazaar held every Sunday in Daryaganj.
1. National Railroad Museum, Chanakyapuri
The story of modern India parallels, in a sense, the trajectory of the country’s railroad development. From the UNESCO World Heritage Mountain Railways of the Himalayas and Western Ghats to the early Monorail Trainways system, the museum’s a phenomenal education.
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