If there is one word to describe Delhi, it’s “unexpected”. You can never get enough of this state. When you are a foreigner to this place, I want to ensure that you can get a glimpse of everything because Delhi is not just about its British architecture or centuries old monuments but also about all the local and historical places you will find among its shabby lanes. So if you cannot get enough of this place like me and you have the travel bug within you, read on.
1. Hauz Khas Village
This place is so beautiful and fascinating that you will be obsessed with it. It’s the perfect combination of everything that India is famous for – diverse culture, mysticism, architecture and beauty.
Situated in South Delhi, it is not a village but a small area filled with narrow lanes, small shops, traditional antique shops and handcrafted clothes. It will immediately transport you to the centuries old India. This place boasts some of the best cafes and restaurants in Delhi.
Hauz Khas village is situated near the large Deer Park that has ruined castles, a large pond, lots of deer, peacocks and rabbits and even a huge portion entirely dedicated to flowers of various colours and sizes! You are destined to love it.
2. Cha Bar
No matter wherever you travel in the world, you always need a book or two with you. And if you are a book lover like me, Cha Bar is the place for you. Situated in the heart of Connaught Place market in Central Delhi, it is a haven hidden within the Oxford Bookstore. “Cha” in Hindi means tea and the Cha Bar provides you with varieties of traditional Indian teas along with some sweet delicacies from their amazing bakery.
The bookstore is filled with books from top to bottom, and you can get a book, sit on a chair, drink some tasty chai and get lost in your own world shut off from the constant traffic of the city outside. Also, as if all of this was not enough to fascinate you, the breathtaking interiors would definitely steal your heart. It could be your next Instagram post. #ChaBar.
3. Agrasen Ki Baoli
It is a large step-well monument situated on Hailey Road near Jantar Mantar. The strange thing about this place is that it is so near the markets that you would not expect it to be there.
No one knows who built it or when, they can only assume. It was declared as a Protected Monument by the Indian Government. The place is very enchanting with its many passages and steps.
Also, did I mention it’s haunted? See now it has become more fascinating. But you don’t have to worry because the monument is never devoid of people. Many people come here every day and sit until or after sunset. There are also yummy street food stalls just across the streets that you don’t want to miss out on!
4. The Northern Ridge
Not many people know about this place, and that is exactly why it is on this list. This was the place that encountered the first Sepoy Mutiny of India or the first mass action of Indian people against the British. I was taken on an excursion here from my college for a project, and we were accompanied by a biologist.
You will be amazed to know that this entire Ridge dates back to the age of dinosaurs! Yes, you read right! It is a divine feeling to know that the place you are looking at has existed here for more than 2 million years! If you are a nature lover and specifically a bird-watcher, you will never regret going on an adventurous trip here. It’s worth all your time.
On a personal note, go there early in the morning because many old local people go there to collect leaves from the trees known to have Ayurvedic properties. Talk to them, and they will tell you all about the place and the forests. You can find people doing yoga under trees. There are also things like Khooni Jheel (Bloody Lake) and Flagstaff Tower to see here.
The nearest metro stations are only 10 minutes away, and the nearest restaurants and street food stalls are just within walking distance. It’s a must-visit.
5. Sarojini Nagar Market
Sarojini Nagar Market is in South Delhi, and it is very near to Green Park. It’s the ultimate paradise for shopaholics like me. There are hundreds of small shops and stalls here where you can get anything to everything, especially clothes.
The vendors here get the clothes from wholesale markets by kilogrammes, and if you try to find it, you might even get to see clothes from some known brands for as low a price as Rs. 100. ($2 USD). I once bought an H&M top from Sarojini that I got for Rs. 150!
From crop tops to tees, skirts to jeans, scarves, kurtas, leggings, cardigans, chunky accessories, traditional Indian clothes and don’t get me started on what else you can get here. The clothes are in perfect condition, and the market is usually packed with young people and adults every single day.
All you need is a large bag and some brilliant bargaining skills, and you can go home with a new closet altogether!