Between September 2013 and March 2014 I lived in Connaught Place in New Delhi. My job was in education so I visited a lot of schools; rural, urban, public, state, boarding, religious and military, I visited them all.
Here’s a video of morning assembly at one organised with military principles that I went to.
It was a culture shock for sure but it would have been a lot worse if I had been living in the narrow, winding and super chaotic streets of Old Delhi. By contrast, New Delhi has wide, straight boulevards with pavements and roundabouts and very few traffic jams. The constant ‘horning’ will drive you bonkers wherever you are though.
My apartment building was only a few minutes’ walk from the Parliament of India and as bad luck would have it, my street Jantar Mantar was the designated area for political demonstrations. It meant that every day of the week there would be a new group of people from somewhere in India holding a rally on my doorstep! Ones that I remember include the BJP, Communist Trade Unions, Gay Pride, Kingfisher Airlines and the turmeric farmers. I didn’t really mind, they were all quite interesting. Only the BJP rally had a bit of a threatening atmosphere.
Thankfully I was at home in the UK for Christmas at the time of the rape protests in December 2013. While I was away my jogging route, from the Presidential Palace down Rajpath to India Gate, was the scene of pitched battles between police and protestors for several days.
The only other danger was occasional attacks from stray dogs on my morning run. Most of the time they weren’t a problem but every now and then there was one who would give chase, until a few stones came in his direction. Usually the local packs would just fight each other. Best to be wary though.
Much worse is for your property to get the attention of a troupe of urban monkeys. These agile vandals will happily smash up gardens and balconies just for a quick snack, so it’s important not to leave anything edible lying around.
Another thing that took a bit of getting used to was having to boil your milk and drinking water.
A regular chore was a short morning walk to my local milk booth to get my plastic bag of unpasteurised milk.
In contrast to the hassles, a major benefit for me was of course the opportunity to try heaps of wonderful Indian food. Each evening I endeavoured to go to a new restaurant and within six months I had pretty much nailed all the best places in New Delhi.
I’ve grouped my reviews according to food type and geographical area. You’ll find them all on this map.
Old Delhi – places to eat – post here.
New Delhi – top thalis and dosas in and around Connaught Place – post here.
New Delhi – mid range bars and restaurants in Connaught Place – post here.
New Delhi – sweet shops and a few more restaurants – post here.
New Delhi – higher end eating in the hotels – post here.
And also a couple of things to see…
My Google map with everything on is here.
Living in New Delhi was a fantastic experience that I’m really glad that I had but six months was enough for me. I needed a break from the chaos, and I missed working and eating in Spain and Italy! I’d love to go back to Connaught Place on holiday though and revisit the places I write about in the coming posts…