New Delhi In the heart of New Delhi is a two-mile-long road with lush green parks and two man- made canals. The road, Rajpath (or King’s Way, as it was called during the British time),
runs between the grand Rashtrapati Bhavan,
India’s president’s house, and India Gate, an Arc
de Triomphe – like structure dedicated to Indian
soldiers who have lost their lives in various wars.
The entire area, including the circular
Parliament House that stands to the right of the
president’s residence, was designed by British
architect Edwin Lutyens, who gave New Delhi its
wide, tree-lined roads with large bungalows, now
occupied by government officials. It’s a beautifully
planned, peaceful part of a city that’s otherwise
packed with traffic (despite an efficient underground metro) and teeming with people.
In addition to the British architectural influence,
Delhi’s most astounding parts include Old Delhi,
the congested walled city built by the Mughal
rulers, a Muslim dynasty that originally came
from Persia in the 1500s, bringing a strong dose
of Islamic culture to otherwise Hindu India.
One of the Mughal emperors, Shah Jahan,
was also a major patron of architecture and
art. He commissioned the Taj Mahal, built in
1648 in Agra (a three-hour ride from Delhi).
He also oversaw the construction of two landmark buildings that now stand in Old Delhi:
Red Fort, named for its massive red sandstone
walls, and Jama Masjid, the best-known
mosque in all of India.
New Delhi is a shopper’s paradise, but the city is
spread out, so it’s important to have a strategy.
FabIndia ( fabindia.com/company) is an organic
clothing and home furnishings chain started in
1960 by American John Bissell. Now FabIndia is
an Indian institution, offering the best options for
authentic Indian designs in garments and home
furnishings. The biggest concentration of FabIndia
stores is in Greater Kailash 1, N-Block
Market (91-11-4669-3725), a South Delhi neighborhood known for its shops and restaurants.
Also worth visiting is the Santushti
India’s capital is sprawling, busy—
BY ASEEM CHHABRA
and surprising. Wander around historical
sites and museums and savor the truly
ILLUSTRATION BY GARY HOVLAND