Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of business information, museums, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with “The Welge Report for Delhi .
Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Birding Opps: Info for our birding friends. In and near Delhi you can see these species: Spot billed Duck, Spotted Sandpiper, Grey Heron, Praticole, Drongo, Asian Laughing Dove, Long Tailed Shrike, Marsh Harrier and Green Bee Eater.
Here’s a great report from Deepa Krishman (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g304551-i3482-k4399643-o10-Birding_trip_report_Sultanpur_and_Basai_Wetlands-New_Delhi_National_Capital_Territory_o.html)
This is dated but Amrita Talver (livemint.com/Leisure/i2wSh24pWW5eDs68iNuUeJ/Delhi8217s-Belly–Fly-by-light.html) has news for you.
Business Today (http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/ideal-weekend-morning-bird-watching/1/193522.html) has some tips on where to view and who to contact for permission.
Exchange Rates (http://www.x-rates.com/)
Alcoholic Beverages: Our Cousin Lov warns that alcoholic beverages may not be as labeled, especially wine. Major luxury hotels are the exception.
PublicTransportation: This is your site for public transportation (delhitourism.gov.in/delhitourism/transport/local_transport.jsp)
Business Information: Here is help in regard to your business: (http://www.wonobo.com/india)
Indian Food Glossary: For your convenience we have included the following description for popular Indian dishes and definitions for Indian ingredients.
Popular Indian Dishes
Achar: Any kind of pickle
Biryani: A fancy rice casserole, often containing meat, poultry, seafood or vegetables
Chapati/Roti: Thin bread cooked on the griddle
Dal: Any kind of legume–beans, peas, or lentils
Dosa: Crispy, crepe-like southern Indian specialty filled with potatoes or vegetables
Ghee: Clarified butter
Korma: Braised meats in a thick, mild creamy sauce
Kulcha: Tender, pita-like bread cooked in the tandoor
Lassi: A refreshing, creamy yogurt drink that can be sweet or salty
Masala: Spice blend
Naan: Flat, oval bread cooked in the tandoor
Pakora: Fritter dipped in a spicy chickpea batter; can be made with vegetables, cheese, chicken or seafood
Pappadum: Spicy lentil wafers
Paratha: Flaky bread fried on the griddle
Poori: Airy, deep-fried bread
Pulao: An aromatic rice pilaf
Raita: A yogurt-based condiment usually containing vegetables
Rasam: A thin, spicy broth
Saag: Spinach, but can also refer to other greens
Sambar: An extremely spicy broth popular in southern India
Samosa: Flaky, pyramid-shaped pastry stuffed with potatoes or ground meat; a traditional Indian snack
Tandoor: A deep, clay oven that has very high temperatures
Tandoori: Any dish cooked in a tandoor
Vindaloo: An extremely spicy curry dish that’s a regional specialty of Goa
Glossary of dishes:
Basmati rice: Basmati rice is authentic Indian long grained white rice, which has unique nutty flavor.
Chili: There are a great many species of chilies, which are the fleshy pods of shrub-like bushes of the capsicum family.
Chilies range from large to small and colors include green, white, purple, pink, and red. Chilies are the most important heat agent in Indian cooking. They vary in hotness from mild to incendiary-like potency.
Most commonly used are the small, fresh green or red chilies. Red chilies can be dried and used whole, and chili powder is made from grinding dried chilies.
Curry: To Indians, the term curry means gravy or sauce, Curries are what made Indian cuisine famous all over the world, the most famous of all is the Chicken Curry.
Residents of the rest of the world, however, have come to think of “curry” as simply a thick creamy yellow sauce or any dish seasoned with a curry-powder blend, whether it has a sauce or not.
An authentic Indian curry is an intricate combination of a stir-fried wet masala (mixture of onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes), various spices and seasonings with which meat, poultry, vegetables or fish is prepared to produce a stew-type dish.
Curry leaves: (Not to be confused with the curry spice blend) The curry leaf plant is a tropical tree of the citrus family. The long slender leaflets that look a little like bay leaves are dark green on top and paler underside. The leaves have a strong, warm curry (combination of nuts and lemons) aroma when bruised or rubbed.
Kebabs: Marinated and spiced small pieces of any meat, poultry, fish, ground meat, vegetables, skewered and grilled in a tandoor/oven or over a grill. Kebabs can also be shallow fried over a pan.
Naan: Indian flat bread made from wheat and baked in a tandoor.
Pakoras: Popular Indian crispy and spicy snack served usually hot out of the frying pot along with coriander chutney. A popular teatime snack served with Indian tea. Slices of different vegetables like potatoes, onion, chilies, spinach leaves, eggplant etc dipped in a batter made out of chickpea flour and a few dry spices and deep-fried.
Tandoor: The traditional Indian clay oven is called the “Tandoor”. A Tandoor is a clay pot usually sunken neck deep in the ground. Charcoal is put on the flat bottom of the pot.
The heat generated by the hot charcoal in and on the sides of the clay pot is used for cooking. Long iron rods, long enough to reach the bottom of the pot, are used in the cooking process.
It is probably the most versatile kitchen equipment in the Indian kitchen. Barbecues, breads, dal, gravies made in them acquire a unique taste, very different from the food cooked on the regular kitchen oven.
Tandoori Murgh: This is the bright red world famous Tandoori Chicken. Chicken marinated with spices, dried red peppers, and yogurt, cooked in a tandoor.
Vindaloo: Meat usually pork is used to make this very spicy and flavorful dish. Cooked in vinegar and typically served 2 to 3 days after it is made.
Day One: Your first stop is the Red Fort – Tu-Su: Sunrise to Sunset, Netaji Subhash Marg, Chandni Chowk, 91 11 2327 7705
The planning and design of the Red Fort represents a culmination of architectural development initiated in 1526 AD by the first Mughal Emperor and brought to a splendid refinement by Shah Jahan with a fusion of traditions: Islamic, Persian, Timurid and Hindu.
The upper storey of the Naqqar-Khana houses the Indian War Memorial Museum.
The other attractions enclosed within this monument are the hammams or the Royal Baths, the Shahi Burj, which used to be Shah Jahan’s private working area, and the Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque.
The Meena bazaar at the Chatta Chowk has shops that sell various handicrafts including jewelry, paintings, Kurtis, etc.
The India Tourism Development Corporation Limited conducts a sound and light show in the evening from February through April to recreate the historical era.
The Jama Masjid – Daily: 7:30 AM-12, 1:30-6:30, Off Netaji Subhash Marg, west of Red Fort is important to visit.
This great mosque of Old Delhi is the largest in India with a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 devotees.
It was begun in 1644 and ended up being the final architectural extravagance of Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who built the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.
The highly decorative mosque has three great gates, four towers and two 40 m-high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble.
Travelers can hire robes at the northern gate. This may be the only time you get to dress like a local without feeling like an outsider.
Lunch is at the China Kitchen – L & D: Daily, Hyatt Regency, Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi, 011 26791234
A good start is the pan fried red cabbage and bok choi dumplings or the crispy prawn spring rolls with coriander, green onions and garlic.
Don’t miss the twice fried crispy duck with Sichuan sauce.
Your wine is the ’10 Hawk’s Bay Pinot Noir. Dessert is the coconut waffle with chocolate ice cream.
A stop at the National Gallery of Modern Art – Tu_Su: 10-5, gives you a contemporary vision of Indian art from 1857 to present day.
More that 17,000 works are shown in the Jaipur House that was designed by Sir Arthur Bloomfield.
Old masters include Raja Ravi Varma, Abanindranath Tagore, as well as modernists like Amrita Sher-Gil and Rabindranath Tagore.
Some of the prominent sculptors seen here are Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhury, Ramkinkar Baij, Sankho Chaudhuri, Dhanraj Bhagat and Sarbari Roy Chowdhury.
Humayun’s Tomb - Mathura Road, Nizamuddin, 91 11 2435 5275, is a must see architectural achievement of the highest order.
The tomb of Humayun, second Mughal Emperor of India, was built by his widow, Biga Begum (Hajji Begum), in 1569-70, 14 years after his death, at a cost of 1.5 million rupees. The architect was Mirak Mirza Ghiyath.
It was later used for the burial of various members of the ruling family and contains some 150 graves. It has aptly been described as the necropolis of the Mughal dynasty.
The tomb itself is in the center of a large garden with pools joined by canals. A pavilion and a bath are located in the center of the eastern and northern walls.
The mausoleum is on a high, wide terraced platform with small arched cells along the sides.
The structure is clad in red sandstone with white and black inlaid marble borders. It is the first of a long series of dynastic tombs and innovative in a number of ways, notably by virtue of the fact that it introduced the garden tomb to the subcontinent.
Enjoy a feast at Indian Accent – B,L & D: Daily, The Manor, 77, Friends Colony, New Delhi, 011 43235151
Your starters are baked fish, chicken tikka quesadillas and baked paneer pinwheel.
Next is the chicken tikka meatballs, dal gosht, blue cheese naan and butter chicken kulcha.
The ’08 Piccini Chianti Reserve is a good wine choice. Dessert is the Mithai Cheese Cake.
Day Two: Breakfast in absolute luxury at Tamra – B,L,D: 24/7, Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel, 19, Ashoka Road, Connaught Place, New Delhi, 91 11 4119 1010
The breakfast buffet is over the top with a lot of everything including perfect service – juice, tropical fruits, eggs, sausage, hash browns and more.
Your first site today is Swaminarayan Akshardham – Tu-Sa: 9:30-6:30, National Highway 24, Near Noida Mor, 91 11 2202 6688, a Hindu temple complex.
It claims to be the World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple. The complex was inaugurated on November 6, 2005. The temple reflects the beauty and spirituality of India’s ancient art, culture and architecture.
The venues include the hall of values that express the ideals of nonviolence, honesty, family harmony, and spirituality, a giant screen film that brings to life the culture and spirituality of India’s customs, the majesty of its art and architecture and a cultural boat ride where you sail through 10,000 years of India’s heritage.
For a touch of serenity you’ll visit the Lodi Gardens – Near Khan Market, Lodi Estate Lodhi Road.
These gardens are beautiful and home to a wide variety of trees and plants. The gardens derive their name from the fact that they were laid out in 1936 around four monuments built during the Lodi dynasty.
The last Delhi Sultanate. Ibrahim Lodi was defeated by Babur at the battle of Panipat that began the Mughal rule in India.
The monuments around which the gardens are laid out are Muhammed Shah’s Tomb, Sikander Lodi’s Tomb, Sheesh Gumbad and Bara Gumbad.
The tomb of Mohammed Shah, the last of the Sayyid rulers, is the earliest of these, built in 1444 by Ala-ud-din Alam Shah to pay a tribute to Muhammed Shah.
Blue Ginger is your place for lunch today – L & D: Daily, Taj Palace Hotel, Diplomatic Enclave, Sardar Patel Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, 011 26110202.
For a starter Cousin Kim likes the baby lotus stem and chicken or the papaya with a passion fruit dressing. For a hot choice the southern Vietnamese pancakes with mushrooms and asparagus is a very good.
For your main the crispy calamari with a chili plum sauce or the stir fried lamb with fried onions and scallions are excellent.
You would enjoy the Wolf Blas Cabernet-Merlot “White Label”. Dessert is their ginger coconut caramel custard.
The Bahai (Lotus) Temple – Tu-Su: 9-7, Lotus Temple Rd, Shambhu Dayal Bagh, Bahapur, 91 11 2338 9326 is very popular and your next stop.
It’s popularity is attributed to the building’s design and its religious teachings of the Baha’I faith that embodies the principal of unity in diversity.
Baha’I law states that their House of Worship is a gathering place for people of all religions. No sermons may be delivered and no ritualistic practices are permitted.
The temple is built in the shape of a lotus flower and it is set in lush landscaped gardens.
The architect, Furiburz Sabha, covered it in white marble and chose the lotus flower as the symbol common to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam.
Try to time your visit to see it at dusk when the nine pools of water are illuminated surrounding the blooming petals.
Cousin Hamid suggests that you take a stroll around the Hauz Khas Village – it is surrounded by Safdarjung, Enclave, Green Park, South Extension and Greater Kailash.
In the 13th century Hauz Khas (Royal Water Tank in Urdu) was the water supply for the people living in Siri. Buildings and tombs were added to enjoy the Lake view.
Over the centuries its had ups and downs. Presently it’s chic with upscale galleries, boutiques and restaurants.
Lighten up while having dinner at the Olive Bar & Kitchen – L & D: Daily, One Style Mile, Haveli 6, Kalka Das Marg, Mehrauli, New Delhi, 011 29574444.
Their mezze or charcuterie platters are the way to start. The pizzas come with a large variety of toppings.
The seafood risotto is composed of Tiger prawns, calamari, clams, tomatoes and peppers. The lamb osso bucco is slow cooked and served with saffron risotto, green peas and gremalata.
The Casablanca Valley Carmenere is a good wine choice. Dessert is the red velvet cake of candied beet root and yogurt sorbet.
Day Three: Breakfast is at the 360degrees – B,L,D: Daily, The Oberoi, Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg, New Delhi, 011 24363030
It lives up to its reputation as the best breakfast place in Delhi with a large assortment of local and international options.
Start your day at the Qutab Minor – Said ul-Ajaib, Mehauli-Badapur Rd, 29536401, the soaring tower of victory. Construction started in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak and it was completed in 1368 by Firoz Shah Tughlak.
27 Hindu Temples were demolished to provide materials for its construction giving it Hindu ornamentation. Some believe it was erected to signify the beginning of Muslim rule in India.
Nearby is the Garden of the Five Senses – Said-ul-Ajaib, M.B. Road, South of Saket, 29 536401.
This is a 20 acre site opened in 2003 to provide leisure space for locals and tourists. It has many unique features that include: majestic rocks, waterfalls, lots of sculptures, a formalgarden, fragrant shrubs and trees.
Lunch is at the Dilli Haat – 10:30 AM to 10 PM. This is a must visit where you will experience a traditional village market.
The stalls selling handicrafts come from all corners of India and provide authentic goods at prices that aren’t inflated.
The food stalls offer a variety of regional dishes that range geographically from Sikkim to Nagaland to Jammu and Maharastarc. It’s your choice!
For more up scale shopping you should visit the Khan Market – closed on Sundays, near the India Gate.
The Khan market is home to worldwide brands like Benetton, Hilfiger and others plus famous local high brow emporiums. Chain restaurants proliferate including some that you may not recognize.
The Spice Route – L & D: Daily, The Imperial, Janpath, New Delhi, 011 41116605 is an exotic spot for dinner.
They have several signature choices for you starting with prawn soup that is flavored with lemon grass, lemon leaves and galangal.
The stir-fried lobster is served in the shell with ginger and Thai black mushrooms.
The Kerala style prawns are stir-fried with coconut, curry leaves, black tamarind and topped with mustard seeds.
Your wine is the ’07 Stags Leap Merlot. For dessert we suggest Khaneow Mamuang – sticky rice served with ripe mangoes and garnished with roasted sesame seeds.
Lagniappe: Our Cousin Lov suggests a special journey to see the Taj Mahal – Su-Th: Sunrise to Sunset.
From Delhi the best way to make your journey is the 12002 Bhopel Shatabdi train that departs from the New Delhi Railway Station at 6:15 and arrives at Agra at 8:12. Other trains are also available.
Cousin Lov does suggest spending at least one night to enjoy early morning and moon light views of the Taj Mahal.
Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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