Say hello to the neighbourhoods that define the true character of the Capital of India. An affluent neighbourhood and diplomatic enclave, Chanakyapuri is lined up with numerous parks and open spaces while is the must sought after address in town with official residences of the top Indian politicians and civil servants. Drive along this gorgeous part of the capital that is a part of the Lutyens’ Delhi, as it gives you glimpses of the lives of not just the rich and famous , but even the biggest government and political institutions at work all across the lanes surrounding the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Sansad Bhawan and India Gate. Head to the State Bhavans for authentic regional food at great prices – the meals here are true representatives of their respective state’s local food and hospitality.
This densely populated neighbourhood of Old Delhi is more than three centuries old and is a prized treasure trove, home to diverse Indian communities is most popular for its heritage havelis, old bazaars and places of worship. Explore the everyday life of the locals as you walk into the spice, jewellery, dry fruits, wedding markets and build up an appetite for the Indian street food, including stuffed parathas & jalebis and Mughlai food at Karims. Head to the magnificient Jama Masjid for stunning views of Delhi 6, with the iconic symbol of India in the backdrop – Red Fort. The diversity of Old Delhi demands an entire day to truly enjoy all the treasures hidden in this culturally rich part of the city.
Connaught Place, the heart of New Delhi, is one of the largest commercial, financial and business centers in the Capital. The sprawling horseshoe-shaped circular heritage market is a white dot in the green city, filled with shops, art & handloom emporiums, fashion boutiques, an underground market, cinemas, a range of vintage and new restaurants & bars lined along the inner and Outer Circle. In the midst of all the hustle, CP is great for chilled out evening strolls and people watching, introducing the beauty and rhythm of the city. The ambience gets more colorful as you stroll along Janpath and the Central Cottage Industries Emporium, considered among Delhi’s best shopping areas.
From being India’s largest integrated business district that is a modern workspace to an array of homegrown & global companies, DLF Cyber City has grown to become one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Gurugram. And the credit for this facelift goes to Cyber Hub, home to a whole bunch of new and most popular bars & restaurants, indie designer stores, a stand-up venue and even a little gourmet grocery store. While the mood here during the day is laidback and chill, as the evening progresses, visitors can trust Cyber Hub with its most vibrant nightlife. And on weekends, hop across to Ambience Mall, the biggest mall in Gurugram for a healthy doze of shopping.
One of the wealthiest residential neighbourhoods, Greater Kailash is a home to well-known business families, art & theatre celebrity figures and popular media personalities. While GK 1 is very popular for the M Block chirpy street shopping & N Block for its upmarket shopping at designer stores, GK 2 is more residential with local markets and the Jahanpanah City Forest, popular for morning & evening runs and walks or just a stroll enjoying the calm of the nature within the city. Drive down to Delhi’s most renowned tourist attraction – Lotus Temple, the Baha’i House of Worship at Nehru Place. This temple is built in the shape of a lotus flower and is the last of seven Major Bahai’s temples built around the world.
Known as ‘The National Capital of Ethnic Chic’, the hip and trendy Hauz Khas Village is a beautiful urban village nestled in a corner among the ruins of domed tombs of Muslim royalty from the 14th to 16th centuries, that merge into the modern day Deer Park. Old homes here have been converted into fashion boutiques & chic homestays, art galleries, jewellery shops, book and antique stores, multi-cuisine restaurants, bars and nightclubs. HKV might be full of arterial narrow lanes but it is the epicenter of Delhi’s most vibrant social life. In the spring and winter evenings, visitors can stroll along the lake, watch the beautiful sunset from the ruins of the fort or sip a cocktail at one of the many rooftop bars and restaurants overlooking it.
The large, well-established expat, diplomat community in the Capital and the who’s who of the upmarket Delhi society are spread across a plethora of beautiful neighbourhoods, however Khan Market is their most favourite place to shop and chill. A popular U-shaped shopping destination, this chirpy neighbourhood is a storehouse of the city’s most prestigious book shops, opticians, grocers, tailors, home décor stores, peppered with a range of cafes, restaurants, bakeries and street- food corners including Big Chill and Khan Chacha. Not too far away from this busy market is Lodhi Garden – one of Delhi’s most beautiful heritage parks, which is a favourite picnic spot of the locals.
Home to the most beautiful step wells in the country, Jamali Kamali Mosque and a 200 acre park with facets of heritage peeping at you from every nook and cranny, Mehrauli is one of those treasure houses where the stories of the past can go on for years. Visitors need a whole day at the Mehrauli Archaeological Park to truly enjoy the opulent 1000-year old legacy of this neighbourhood. A great spot for picnics, this giant heritage park with Qutub Minar in the backdrop, has become a popular cricket playground among the local youngsters. Mehrauli has a number of artistic gems that have been converted into stunning art galleries & rooftop restaurants popular for a grand view of the Qutub Minar and large part of South Delhi.
Another popular upmarket residential neighbourhood of Delhi with many small parks and home to expats, Nizamuddin is most famous for the Sufi shrine, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah. It’s a beautiful confluence of faith, heritage and contemporary Delhi. The busy streets leading to the dargah offer a rich cultural and culinary taste of Delhi, especially on Thursday evenings when the area comes alive with soulful Sufi music and qawwalis at the shrine. As you walk along the colourful street markets selling flowers and knick-knacks, the road ahead further leads to the majestic Humayun’s Tomb, a significant historical landmark and one of Delhi’s best attractions.
An upmarket residential colony located in South Delhi, Saket is the mall central of Delhi. Home to the first multiplex in India, this chirpy neighbourhood part of most nostalgic stories of the locals, has today transformed into a hotbed for retail & entertainment therapy with a multitude of major malls on the Press Enclave Marg, where many journalists from media organisations around the country and the world live. From luxury and high-street shopping to exploring the best of cafes, bistros, restaurants, bars and multiplexes in town, Saket with its location in the middle of the hustle bustle of the city, offers luxury with convenience to all visitors.
Visits to the capital demand an extra bag for all the shopping from Sarojini Nagar. Delhi’s trendiest fashion market is a favourite among locals to designers who are often found strolling down the lanes to check what’s in vogue. From export gallis housing rejected surplus in all its glory to fifty-rupee piles of basics, from leather export shops to street vintage wear at throw away prices, this busy market that can feel like a maze is a must visit, provided you are in a mood to unleash your superpower of amazing bargaining skills. Though residential, but this popular neighbourhood that is close to Dilli Haat and INA Market – the prestigious food bazaar of Delhi, is the trendiest check-in for all shoppers in the city.
A laidback urban village in South Delhi, Shahpur Jat which was previously inhabited by Jats from Haryana, has today grown to be one of the most hip neighbourhoods known for its designer boutiques, trendy lifestyle & shoe stores, quaint cafes, monuments clustered on the periphery and a green belt. Once upon a time highly preferred by foreign tourists & local designers, the unpainted residential buildings & old havelis and overhanging wires sitting next to shops with contemporary design have today struck a warm chord even with local visitors wanting to slow down and just chill. If you are in a mood to watch plays, film festivals, music concerts, a walk to the Siri Fort Auditorium always promises a good time.
A residential neighbourhood more popular for its shopping extravaganza at display, South Ex (as known popularly) with Lajpat Nagar joining the party within a few minutes is where the local families of Delhi shop. A hot favourite with wedding shoppers, the busy South Ex market sprinkled with cafes, restaurants and bars, is home to the best of Indian shopping suiting every style and trend, while Lajpat Nagar is a great example of a typical Indian bazaar, with a mix of roadside stalls & shops selling artwork, crockery to clothing, shoes & accessories, food kiosks (try the Tibetan momo) and mehendi sellers, applying delicate henna designs on outstretched palms. The markets remain closed on Mondays but are crowded to the hilt on other days, luring crowds with its amazing bargains.
On either side of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University Campus, are two beautiful residential neighbourhoods. While Vasant Vihar is home to many diplomat mansions, visitors can stroll along the Basant Lok Market – a trendy college student’ market (because of its proximity to the JNU Campus) that is a popular hangout with all convenient & branded stores and most well known for Priya Cinema. Vasant Kunj on the other hand is an upmarket neighbourhood sprinkled with palatial farmhouses and DDA flats, close to the airports and Gurgaon and most popular for its cluster of high end and luxury malls including DLF Emporio.