Friday, 20 April 2012

Hauz-Khas Village



It was the first week of January, a cold and foggy day. Planning a day long tour of this unique village, we set out in this shivering winter morning, cosy in our over jackets and boots. 
A village! But wait a moment, this is a "City of Cities", an urban village! One doesn't visit this village to see paddy fields, huts or cattle. This village is known as the New York East Village of Delhi. But before I take you on a tour of the village, let me take you around the ancient part of the village.


The history of Hauz-Khas village is traced back to 13th century of Delhi Sultanate reign of Allauddin Khilji Dynasty. The name Hauz Khas is derived from the Urdu word 'Hauz' meaning water tank or lake and 'Khas', meaning royal. The Royal Tank.


This large reservoir was built by Khilji to supply water to the inhabitants of Siri, the second medieval city of the Delhi Sultanate.
 Taking a leisurely stroll by this lake was perhaps one of the most pleasant things I did in years, on this beautiful winter morning.  

The Madrasa overlooking the lake and the Mosque behind it.


Several buildings, like Madrasa, Mosque and Tomb were built overlooking this lake. These haunting yet alluring ruins add to the beauty and the serenity of this place.


The three pavilions inside the tomb precincts


Pavilions adjoining the courtyard


As the day proceeded, with the Sun God smiling a little the place became lively,  abuzz with activity, with people, mostly youngsters.

Remains of a part of the Madrasa.  

The tomb of Firoz Shah Tughlaq

Inside view of the tomb 




The above picture says it all ... so, visitors, do be careful and make sure you park your dear vehicles out side the village before you start your tour.


After the refreshing walk along the reservoir and the remains of the Delhi Sultanate, we now head towards the medley of old and new structures through the narrow lanes and alleys of the village.
Wandering down the crowded stoned path, haphazardly tangled wires overhead, jostling with  people from all over the world, we start exploring the expensive yet wonderful shops, art galleries and eateries in this medieval warren.


 We start our exploration of the village market with a cup (glass) of tea at Thadi.


Tucked atop a beautiful terrace, Thadi offers a fabulous view of the lake and lush greens that not only soothe the eyes but the soul as well. Thadi is a chic version of a simple road side tea stall.


Strewn all over the small space with low sofas and 'murhaas', the place is a cosy joint for lively conversations over steaming hot glasses of 'chai'. The place was crowded but lively with young people discussing animatedly and bursting out in an occasional bout of laughter every now and then.


The 'chai' (tea) at Thadi is superb. You have a choice of lemon tea or a masala one with clove, cardamom and ginger, or the one laced with honey. They also serve sandwiches, scrambled eggs on toast and a variety of pastas.


Hauz-Khas village boasts of quite a few famous art galleries in those nondescript buildings. While some of these fascinating galleries showcase the art works of big names like MF Hussain, others specialize in showcasing the art works done by young contemporary Indian artists. While serious buyers can pick up his choice of art work, others can simply enjoy viewing these galleries spending some time.


Hauz-Khas village can be termed as hub of designers and collectors.
This market with its location and ancient architectural backdrops, definitely offers a wonderful unique experience which is not found in any of the other Delhi markets.


The village is scattered with elegant homes, trendy designer buildings, furnishing outlets, fashion boutiques, curio shops and plenty of eateries. 




Fashion lovers can indulge here in the colours and fabric from all over the country ranging from block prints from Jaipur, kantha from Bengal, kashidakari from Kashmir and many more ....


A heaven for ethnic jewellery, you can splurge here and shop till you actually drop.....


 Right from sophisticated bold beach wear, to mother and child concept store, leather accessories to funky well tailored and elegant clothing, jewellery, toys, books and periodicals, music, cinema, you name it and they have it all in Hauz-Khas Village market. Big fashion names like Ritu Kumar, Kavita Bhartia (OGAAN) designs can be seen along side the upcoming designers and labels here.


A lovely time for the eyes and the heart so far, but now its time to please the stomach as well.  We look for a good food joint while walking on the alleys and trudging up the narrow staircases.



Quaint, unexpected eateries quietly tucked away in Hauz Khas Village’s arty corridors, and the vibrant staircases, have given it a brand new identity. This village has no longer remained only a fashion hotspot, but is now fast emerging as Delhi's most charming casual dining hub too. 




We decided to lunch at Lah! A cosy little place on the 2nd floor of yet another nondescript building. A warm friendly ambiance welcomed us making us feel at home instantly.




The bright red and lemon exuberant walls spoke volumes of the owner's choice of method, in cheering the guests.
The menu is an interesting one. The main course is a South East Asian noodle bowl. You are given a choice of four vegetables, out of Chinese cabbage, Black mushroom, Pak-choy, Beans peas, Zuccini and Baby corn. Two non veg, out of prawn, lamb, chicken and pork. A choice of noodle or rice and a sauce of your taste from Soy garlic cilantro, Black bean, Sichuan chilli pepper or Sweet n sour basil. 



My order of the noodle bowl was simply sumptuous with Chinese cabbage, black mushroom, pak-choy,  zuccini, lamb and prawns, spaghetti, completing it with soy-garlic cilantro sauce. The portions were quite generous, yummy. Would certainly love to come here again and I highly recommend this place. 
Although they do serve dessert, we had other plans to satisfy our sweet tooth. 




Bagel's Cafe, just the place for some 'die for' stuff to satisfy your sweet cravings. Do not go by the look (with wall paints peeling off) and the humble decor.  




Apart from their authentic 'bagel' (the round bread that has a hole in the centre), Bagel's have an extensive menu of hot meals, breakfast and scrumptious dessert. Since we were there to satisfy our sweet cravings, checked the menu for dessert.
Danish cake, chocolate and vanilla cup cakes, lemon meringue tarts and pies, carrot cakes, apple pies, peanut butter cakes ...mmmm.... the long list of mouth watering fare. 




We settled for an Apple crumble which was mmmmm ... absolutely divine.  


Adjacent to the village is a sprawling park, the Deer Park.
The Deer Park in Hauz-Khas Village is such a delight for a nature lover who loves to explore the well maintained lawns and trees. Surrounded by greenery, its just the place to spend a day out, away from the hustle and bustle of a daily city life.


The park has nicely trimmed sprawling lawns with smooth bed of grass that is dotted with trees. This lush green serene surroundings attract many morning walkers. The Deer Park along with the adjacent Rose Garden and District Park, constitute one of the largest green regions of New Delhi known as 'the lung of Delhi'.



It is called Deer Park as it actually houses a large number of spotted and other variety of deer in the park. There is a large enclosure  inside the park where the deer roam around freely, play and occasionally have a friendly fight providing entertainment to the visitors, especially the children.


Apart from deer, rabbits, guinea pigs and a variety of birds too can be seen in the Deer Park. If lucky, you might even spot a beautiful peacock.


Our next stop was at Gunpowder, the South Indian food joint for some supper. Finding the place was quite like a game of treasure hunt, thrilling too.


After trudging up a long narrow flight of stairs (and mind your head while ascending those stairs), finally we arrive at this small place called Gunpowder with a breathtakingly grand view of the lake.
After taking the challenge of finding the place and climbing all those steep stairs, its quite disappointing to see the ambiance of the in doors.


We chose to occupy the seats near the kitchen enclosure to have a good view of the cooking. By now it was really cold out side. The seats of the out door sitting area were filled already, from where the amazingly magical night view of the lake could be enjoyed. Soon the place was crowded and guests had to wait their turn to get a seat. So, make sure you reserve a table in advance if you are taking guests along.


Food at Gunpowder is generally spicy. What I loved about this place is, it is not like the usual South Indian joints that offer Dosas, Idlis and Uttapams.The menu consists of a wide variety of non vegetarian fare, mainly from Kerala. Vegetarians do not have much of a choice here. They do not have a proper menu card, as it varies every now and then. Hand written stapled pages were handed out instead. We loved their Kuttu Poratha, Egg Appam and Pandhi Curry(pork) but the Chicken Ghassala tasted little stale.
Nevertheless, we enjoyed the hearty meal.


It was quite late as we descended those steep stairs from Gunpowder after dinner. This chilled January Delhi night could not mar our spirits. The tour would not be complete without a dessert. So, 'Flipside' it was!


Lovely ambiance with sprightly interiors at Flipside Cafe. Its a small place but nice to sit and while away your time with friends over a cup of coffee.


Nothing like ending the tour with this melt in the mouth strawberry sponge cake!
No matter what, Hauz-Khas Village seems to be the funkiest place in the Capital to shop, eat, unwind or simply enjoy taking in the vibe. 

44 comments:

  1. Ruprekha,

    Though I have been to Hauz Khas many times but not so regularly since late 1950s and seen changes, this post has given me a lot more information. Beautiful photographs.

    Take care

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Jack.
      Yes, Hauz Khas village has changed a lot over the years. I've been visiting it for many years as I simply love this place.

      Delete
  2. Aunty, I love this post! Though I have been to Hauz Khas a million times before it never seemed so meaningful and beautiful. I also love the flow of your writing capturing the entire day spent there beautifully with your words and pictures. Do visit Delhi soon again we will cover a few more interesting places together!

    P.S : Thank you for crediting the pictures to me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Aayushi.
      It was a lovely time we had together, I enjoyed every moment thoroughly. Yes, sure we'll do more such tours again, may be sometime again during winter.
      Take care.

      Delete
  3. I would enjoy this tour, but would find the steep stairs rather daunting. I enjoy good food, too. There are some Indian restaurants in Hawaii, though I have tried only two of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do not worry gigihawaii, there are a few eateries without those steep stairs :)
      Thanks for taking the tour with me by visiting this site.
      Hope you are doing well, take care.

      Delete
  4. Ba, Great to read your post.Thanks for sharing.Beautiful photographs.Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much rupam. I am not even half as good as you are in photography, just trying to do my best :)
      Take care.

      Delete
  5. Sitting outside Cotton College as Sandie writes one of her unending series of tests, I took a lovely, KHAS tour of Hauz Khas! Mamanu and the deer to tweet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Geez ....
      That's what I call a real flight of the B bees :)
      Lets not stop doing this flying exercise .....

      Delete
  6. And, just today I saw a program on NDTV about Hauz-Khas and it seems that there are great eateries there.

    http://rachnaparmar.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Rachna, plenty of them. I visit a different one every time. Each one is unique, somehow that place has a magical impact on you and you tend to love it the way it is.

      Delete
  7. A great account of Hauz Khas village

    ReplyDelete
  8. i have heard SO MUCH about Hauz Khas village and you have taken me on a virtual and beautiful tour of this wonderful place

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Sujatha. So nice of you to take the tour by visiting this space.
      Take care ...

      Delete
  9. VERY VERY NICE PRESENTATION .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Arati, do keep visiting.

      Delete
  10. A lovely visual post, Ruprekha:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your kind words.

      Delete
  11. great. look forward to more such things in days to come.
    bm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you dear :)
      Will sure try to keep up to your expectation. Do keep dropping by once in a while.

      Delete
  12. I had seen this a long time back, it was not this well maintained then but now it seems so beautiful , looking forward to visiting it again, I have some old pictures somewhere of this place .. will see if i can find then and compare them with what it is now ..

    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes indeed, this place has changed so much over the years.
      Thanks for dropping by...

      Delete
  13. Great Pictures. What a charming & vibrant village. I visited this place once many years ago to dine along with friends. But that was night time & we had lovely food.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes indeed, its vibrant and a charming one.
      There are so many wonderful eateries. I try a different one in my every visit :)
      Thank you so much for visiting.

      Delete
  14. Wonderful. Though I have been to Delhi several times, I never knew that such a beautiful place existed. Thank you so much. In fact I was missing you and got the link today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much....
      I'm sure you would love visiting this place.
      Was busy with some paper works of the organization. Could neither write much nor visit your space. I missed too. Hope you are doing well.

      Delete
  15. The strawberry sponge cake looks delightful! I am sure it tastes awesome too. I can come to this place just for the masala chai and the strawberry sponge cake! So, this is not exactly a village. Its a open village styled designer mall!

    Destination Infinity

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes you are right, its an amazing village. I have been visiting this place for many years now and find a lot of change. Recently I feel more and more youngsters are getting attracted to this place.
      Thanks for dropping by.

      Delete
  16. That was informative.
    Have yet to see this place.
    Aha.... nothing like the welcome sight of the Chai :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Haddock, for dropping by.
      :) Yes, I'm sure you would love the chai.

      Delete
  17. Hi,

    i guess you misses us:
    www.facebook.com/weavers9

    next time you visit HKV, do visit us @ 30 hkv for shawls & scarves

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I do Sanjard. Thanks for reminding, will definitely take a shot and add here next time I visit HKV.

      Delete
  18. Great post Ruprekhaji...write something about Yeti too in your next post :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey thanks for dropping by Rakeshbaro. Will sure write, that will be a post only on the wonderful eateries of Hauz Khas Village.

      Delete
  19. Well written and covered. Though I have never been to this Place . Thanks for walking me thru. I ( being a FOODIE) loved the description of eating places too..

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have visited many times in Hauz Khas but never seen this beauty. Now i have decided to go there very soon.

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  21. Thanks for this blog.. been to delhi couple of months back but this blog was not in my mind.( I had read this earlier). Accidentally came across this blog again recently. Was in Delhi a week back and made it a point to visit. Took a metro from Rajiv Chowk , got down at Hauz Khas ..and no Autorickshaw / three wheelers were willing to take us. Walked further down and a humane auto driver obliged. One can alight at Green Park too. Lovely location and can spend some time there walking around the "lake" and ruins. However due to paucity of time could not explore the eating places, had to be satisfied with some yummy flavoured yogurt.. Place worth visiting. Thanks Ruprekha Mushahary

    ReplyDelete
  22. Nice post, I bookmark your blog because I found very good information on your blog, Thanks for sharing more information.I really like it.

    Best Restaurants in Gurgaon

    ReplyDelete
  23. Very nice pictures. Hauz Khas Village is uniquely charming, with sophisticated and quirky shops & cafes, lush parks & gardens and a beautiful reservoir surrounded by medieval buildings. Explore more about Hauz Khas Village.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Nice blog thanks for sharing wonderful article, these are the best vacation holiday spot for family. For Budget Hotel in Tirunelveli Visit Hotel in Tirunelveli with tariff

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  25. Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing information of Deer Park Hauz Khas . It is full of greenery and provides a calm atmosphere to the visitor.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi. Great information. I want to know what happened between the medieval India and 1980s to Hauz Khas? What happened during the Mughals and the British? Not able to find its history anywhere. Any idea?

    ReplyDelete