In the mystic alleys of Delhi – Paharganj

पहाड़गंज से मेरा रिश्ता बहुत पुराना है और ये कुछ इस तरह से शुरू हुआ.

It was the summer of 1947 when Paharganj saw the bloodiest Hindu-Muslim riots during the partition of India – a metamorphosis for Paharganj – with one community forced to desert its roots and flee to Pakistan and the other fled from Pakistan to make a new beginning here.

During those fateful events, our family including grandparents, parents and uncles shifted from Lyallpur (now Faislabad) to Delhi in August, 1947 and found abode in a three storey building at Street No. 1, Multani Dhanda (the property has since been converted into a hotel). Being displaced persons (unfortunately everyone including the local administration called the persons coming from the “other side” as “refugees”), our family was also allotted a shop at Motia Khan, where my grandfather pursued the only trade he knew – sale and purchase of timber and firewood. Being in the close vicinity of our house, I studied at DAV School, Chitra Gupta Road and completed my higher secondary in the lap of Paharganj.


Ramakrishna Ashram established in 1927

Paharganj of those days was not what it is now. It was more close to the days when it was a suburb of the walled city of the Mughal empire with a small touch of Lutyens’ Delhi.

Interestingly, during the days of the Mughal Empire, Paharganj was an important suburb. Located just outside, the Ajmeri Gate of the Walled city, Paharganj was one of five main markets of the Delhi, and the only one outside the walled city. It was the principal grain market of the city, in the 17th century; it was also an important centre for collecting taxes for the emperors. Paharganj also finds a special mention in the mutiny papers of 1857, when it was also known by the name of Jaisinghpura and Shahganj.

It gets its present name ‘Paharganj’, literally meaning Hilly neighborhood, owing to its proximity to the Raisina Hill, where the Rashtrapati Bhawan stands today.

We shifted from Paharganj to Bara Hindu Rao (close to Filmistan Cinema) while I was doing my higher secondary. Since our family business was located at Motia Khan, Paharganj, my visits to the area were still very frequent and many sweet memories of the bazaars of Paharganj are still afresh. I will share with you a very tale of our childhood follies.


Imperial Talkies

There used to be two cinema houses in the main market of Paharganj – The Imperial Talkies and Khanna Talkies. Though Khanna Talkies was considered a “down market” cinema hall, the fact that one could get an entrance ticket, provided a bicycle was parked at their parking lot, was a great attraction for the students. Now I and my cousin Bahadur Singh (may God rest him in peace) shared one bicycle for going to the school. How do both of us see the film with one ticket was a big question. Bahadur came out with a brilliant idea. Our classes finished at around 1.30 P.M. He would bunk the last two periods, go to the cycle stand, get a ticket and watch the movie till interval. He would then meet me at the entrance, hand over the ticket and cycle token for me to see the second half of the movie. At home he used to announce of the “special classes” as a reason for my delay in coming back home. Next day the same exercise was done in the reverse order enabling both of us to watch the movie in two stages.

This carried on for a couple of months and we were happily merrily watching the new releases, without any advance booking. Suddenly one day at the cycle stand, I saw my father standing and was caught red-handed (He had received a report of the absence from the classes). You can imagine what would have happened. Both of us got a good bashing. And that was the end of this unforgettable incidence.

When we look back, we laugh at ourselves and remember Ghalib’s “ Jawaani Ki Badkariyaan”.

Suddenly in 1975, emergency was imposed in the country and the administration, which had an eye on abandoning the Motia Khan Timber Market, got a tailor-made opportunity to shift the market to Kirti Nagar. Meanwhile, we had also shifted to Rajouri Garden and my visits to Paharganj became very infrequent.


The hippie movement of late sixties took India by storm.

The hippie movement which was slowly creeping into the country, found a haven at the budget hotels of Paharganj (some of which were already there owing to the close proximity to the New Delhi Railway Station). Let me first talk something about this significant event.
In the early seventies, with the advent of Hippie Movement, the area on account of its close vicinity to Railway Station and Connaught Place became a regular part of the Hippie Trail, for hippies and backpackers., besides the college students and the regular business visitors to the wholesale markets of Sadar Bazaar, looking for budget accommodations, a legacy which continues even today, with its streams of budget hotels, cafes and restaurants, specializing in global cuisines and ever increasing number of cybercafés to meet the requirements of the tourists as well as the student community.

In one of those years, an English friend’s brother joined one of the hippie groups and came to India in search of peace and tranquility. He almost lost contact with the family and to trace him, the father, an eminent medical practioner met me and we came to Paharganj looking for him at the various hotels. Waving Bob’s photograph, we started moving from one hotel to another. With around 100 hotels in the area, it was an uphill task. After checking at ten better known hotels and getting negative feedback, we thought of spending some time at Metropolis, which is known for its continental food (they serve Indian food too). Waiting for something to turn up, we spent an hour there. Suddenly Bob’s father asked me to take him to the office of American Express, to enable him to encash travelers’ cheques (those days this was the safest mode of carrying money). While doing the transaction, he showed Bob’s picture and asked the concerned officer if Bob visited the bank for exchange of money. As if remembering something, he asked us to wait for some time. He came back after fifteen minutes and showed us a piece of paper, a requisition for exchange of currency, which carried Bob’s signature and local address – it was a hotel at Fatehpuri.

We headed for Fatehpuri and contacted the receptionist, who to our great satisfaction confirmed that Bob was staying there. We waited at the reception for four hours. At around ten, we saw Bob entering the hotel. Seeing his father, he wanted to retract his steps, but ultimately came and embraced his father. It was heartening to see the father and son re-union and the next day they took a flight back home.

Having enjoyed the good quality of food at very reasonable rates, I along with my office colleagues went there occasionally, as our office at Connaught Circus was almost at a walking distance.

Walking through Paharganj.

The best way to explore Paharganj is to walk down the crowded streets, though it is not very inconvenient to drive your personal car / scooter.


Statue of Swami Vivekanand right outside Ashram


New Delhi Railway Station

There are two important landmarks of Paharganj – New Delhi Railway Station, and the Ramakrishna Mission.

I suggest, we go through the Ramakrishna Ashram route.

One can reach the Ashram through Delhi Metro, bus or through your own vehicle. There is absolutely no parking problem outside the Ashram, which is located in the neighborhood of the Metro Station – “Ramakrishna Ashram Marg” of Delhi Metro.


Metro Station

Being in the close vicinity, I used to visit the Ashram often during the school days and have many fond memories of this revered place. The Ashram has so much to be talked about and thus, in all the fairness, would require a separate post giving the history of the Ashram and Mission itself, which I would submit one of these days. Presently, I would restrict to the activities of the Ashram.

Ramakrishna Mission Ashram was established in 1927 as a branch of the Ramakrishna Mission founded by Swami Vivekanand in 1897, with its headquarters at Belur Math, Howrah (WB).

The Ashram conducts various spiritual activities including daily worship, aarti, etc at the temple located close to the main entrance. Regular discourses on religious scriptures are also conducted in the Ashram premises.


Library at the Ashram

The Ashram runs a well stocked library (perhaps one of the oldest and biggest), with books on almost all the streams. Students can borrow text books too from the library. It is well supported by an extensive reading room. The mission also imparts computer training and value education and personality development programs. It has a medical center, homeopathic dispensary, mobile hospital and the first T B Hospital in India, which I used to pass through often as it was close to my residence.

The bookstore located on the left side of the entranace has a large collection of Ramakrishna – Vivekanand Vedanta literature. I could spot a few interesting titles for children too.

There is a strict adherence to visiting hours to the Ashram and these are 8-12 in the morning and 4-8 in the evening.

Let’s move further. A few paces from the Ashram, stands the ancient Chitragupta temple. Take a right turn at the T point towards the main bazaar and you will reach the famous Metropolis Hotel and Restaurant. The proprietor. Mr. Sharma, initially a bit hesitant for a small conversation, became little friendly, thanks to our being from the same school. The restaurant was established by his father over 80 years back and is considered one of the best eating places. The ambience of the bar looked very impressive. It’s a little more costly than some of the restaurants in the area – main meals average around 250 rupees ($6) — but the quality and variety of food is a definite step up from the other eateries. Both Indian and western dishes are prepared. Service is friendly, fast, and efficient. Reasonably priced alcohol is also served, including cocktails.


The fabulous interiors of Metropolis Restaurant and bar

Turn left from Metropolis towards Chuna Mandi and you will find the whole lot of budget hotels. The major landmark of the area is Imperial cinema, which owing to the influx of state of the art multiplexes in the city, is virtually going into oblivion. Fifty paces ahead of Imperial, close to Roxy Hotel, stand the pride of Paharganj – the famous Sitaram chole bhature shop – Sita Ram Diwan Chand. There is something interesting about the first owner of the eatery – Mr. Sita Ram. He used to put up a stall on his bicycle bang outside the gate of our school. With over 2000 students in the school, the footfall at his stall during the recess was simply uncontrollable. Bahadur Singh, my friend and cousin helped in managing his cash collections during the short break. I have no shame in admitting that during the last week of the month, when our pockets were almost empty, Bahadur did help us in enjoying exorbitant discounts.

We passed out from the school and moved to the university. Sita Ram also graduated from the cycle stall to a small shop on the pavement just opposite Imperial Cinema. He left for his heavenly abode several years back, but the legacy and goodwill left by him and of course, the hard work put up by his children has turned the shop into a restaurant where the footfall is simply amazing. If you are fond of the most famous fast food of Delhi – chole bhature, I assure you this is the best place in the town.


The mouth watering delicacy – Chole bhature

Some of the other very reasonably priced restaurants in Paharganj are:

Malhotra Restaurant , an intimate restaurant that serves good Indian and Continental food. Step inside and you’ll find seating for around 30 people, wooden and tiled walls, and lighting that sets the mood nicely. Service is courteous. It is located at Laxmi Narain Street, Paharganj, Delhi (opposite the Hotel Cottage Yes Please and Imperial Talkies). A meal for two costs around Rs.300 ($7).

Gem Bar and Restaurant located in the Main Bazaar is in the real sense of term a gem. This narrow, relatively new place is modern and decorated in warm tones inside. The sports lovers would find it all the more interesting as the restaurant has put up a wide screen TV. You’ll find a wide range of cuisine on the menu and is a decent place to have a drink or two.

Diamond Café also located in the Main Bazaar (opposite Vivek Hotel) is another place that offers everything from Indian to Israeli food. Most of what’s on the menu costs less than 100 rupees ($2.50) and is quite appetizing..

Sam’s Café at Vivek Hotel is another popular restaurant. The Café serves a variety of Israeli and Italian food, as well as steak and burgers. There’s also barbecue from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.


Madan Cafe

Madan Café: Close to the crossing near Metropolis, you can find a very small shop, Madan Cafe which serves all kinds of dishes – Indian, continental, Chinese, Israeli and what not. Being very reasonably priced, all through the day the tourists throng the place.

Some of the other most sought after eating joints are the German Bakery, Khosla Cafe and Pahelwan Da Dhaba. Right opposite Hotel Metropolis, a bar sells beer for Rs. 75 and a small drink (30ml) of whiskey, rum, gin or Vodka for Rs. 20 only
.

If you are fond of books, you can find a good variety of books and magazines – both used and new at Jacksons Books located opposite Medicos Opticians. I was told by the owner that the shop keeps books in over twenty languages.

Khanna Talkies about which I have mentioned above, is located in the main bazaar, which has over 1000 hotels and tourist friendly shops and culminates at New Delhi Railway Station, the nerve center of railways. Take a right turn and at a distance of less than half a km, stands the famous Connaught Place, with some of the best shops, hotels, banks and offices of major corporate. The famous Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital is also located in the same area.

Paharganj extends towards Desh Bandhu Gupta Road and Nabi Karim. Close to Nabi Karim, you can find Dargah Qadam Sharif, the famous historical edifice of the Firozshah Tughlak days. As per the legend, it is believed that Feroze Shah Tughlaq built the large square tomb here for his own use, but when his son prince Fateh Khan died, it was utilised for interring the latter’s remains.

The emperor later built a mosque and a school here and enclosed the tomb within high battlemented walls. There are also several graves and tombs inside the enclosure.

The budget hotels

If you’re looking for a cheap and clean hotel in Delhi, Paharganj is the place to come. This chaotic tourist district is full of budget accommodations. Some are cleaner than others, and it pays to be selective when choosing. These decent Paharganj hotels are inexpensive, clean, and offer good value for money. Some of the preferred hotels are:

Hotel Cottage Yes Please

This hotel with a quirky name is located in a relatively quiet street, just off the Main Bazaar and is managed by Malhora Group. There’s no shortage of marble or courteous staff in the hotel, and the rooms are kept clean and nicely decorated. The fully air conditioned hotel offers unlimited wireless internet in the lobby, TV, refrigerators, 24 hours room service. The tariff for a double bedded room is Rs. 1000 and for a suite, which can easily accommodate four persons is Rs. 2000. The hotel also has very similar, but newer, sister hotel called the Cottage Crown Plaza located just around the corner on the Main Bazaar. This is also a very decent place to stay.

Hotel Grand Godwin

For those who are willing to pay a little more for a comfortable stay in Paharganj, but are still on a budget, Hotel Grand Godwin is a good proposition. The hotel is located very close to the New Delhi Railway Station on Ara Kashan Road.. It has a decent ambience and is well managed. The staff is friendly and efficient. It also has a 24 hour rooftop restaurant that serves an expansive buffet breakfast. Room tariff start at Rs.1500 with a complimentary breakfast.


Double bedded room in Hotel Hari Piorko

Hotel Hari Piorko

I was impressed with the interiors of this hotel located in the Main Bazaar. The rooms are elegantly designed. The Fire & Rice rooftop restaurant with a village theme presented a good look. The tariff is also very competitive and ranges between Rs. 1200-2100.


The rooftop restaurant at Hote Hari Piorko

Hotel Legend International

This is another good hotel located at Arakashan Road and is noticeably more up market than most of the Paharganj hotels. Guests can look forward to a high standard of customer service, as well as large, clean rooms with spacious floor plans and comfortable beds. The hotel is also suitable for business travelers.

And if you are looking for a still cheaper and clean Hotel, then walk into Rak International. It has a wide range of rooms, all of which have street views. You may also check out the new Hotel Gush International next door. Room tariff range between Rs.500 – 1000.

The tourists have many more good options like Hotel Roxy, Hotel Relax and Virat Tourist Lodge . A number of hotels like Hotel Namaskar, Major’s Den and Hotel Vishal have found a mention of credence in the prestigious “Lonely Planet”. All these hotels have their respective websites through which one can get all the information and make bookings on line-

To conclude, I think Paharganj has a peculiar characteristic about it which makes it very different and unique. A seedy underbelly section of Delhi, it has seen a constant cavalcade of life in various stages of evolution. Delhi Metro has done a great service to the tourists by providing world class connectivity with Connaught Place, Chandni Chowk, Akshardham Temple, Mehrauli and Chhatarpur Temple. The way development is taking place in the area, we can expect many more things happening in the coming years.

Thank you for being with me on this emotional journey to Paharganj.

63 Comments

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Dear Ram Sir,

    Once again a masterpiece from you !!!!!!!!

    I was not knowing so much about the Paharganj before going through this post. I have been to Nabi Karim 2- 3 times, it is famous for the bags.

    The picture of hippies with bus was awesome !!!!

    Details about the Hotels will be definitely useful for the people who will be visiting Delhi.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Tarun Talwar says:

    Ram Sir,

    Once again a wonderful post. The Labyrinthine alleys of PaharGanj hide many different cultures and secrets well preserved by the walls of the old city and the pillars of connaught place. The place is definitely a major backpacker destination and has some amazing eateries.

    Thanks for taking us to Paharganj.

  • nandanjha says:

    Thank you Ram. There has not been a new story for a while and I guess the wait was well worth.

    Apart from the great emotional journey which you shared with us, I guess the rich set of information would be very valuable to visitors during the CWG, 2010.

  • smitadhall says:

    Whoa! This post could well be the chronicle on Paharganj. So many small stories packed into one article. What do I say about the start… how I feel about it, I may never be able to describe… Well anyway, it flows very well with your memoirs, and amalgamates into the updates of the place. Congratulations on yet another beautiful work. :-)

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Mahesh ji,

    Your kind words of encouragement have always been very heartening.

    Thank you for liking the post.

    Warm regards and God’s blessings.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Thank you for your very sweet words Tarun. It is always great to hear from you.

    Yes, you are so correct about the hidden secrets in the walled city and the corridors of Connaught Place. Having worked in CP all my life and seen so many changes in this cultural hub, I feel like writing on the subject and would love to share my experiences one of these days.

    When do we see your next post !!

  • ssk agra says:

    Your written work is a good and Photograph

  • kiran says:

    Just loved the piece on Paharganj….one of the best travelogues I have read in a long while….I think the personal anecdotes just bring the whole thing to life….looking forward to your next post

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Kiran ji,

    Thank you for your very kind words.

    When I thought of writing about Paharganj, I knew that the flood gates of my memories associated with the place would open. Wittingly or unwittingly, I wrote what came to my mind. It is heartening to note that the post was to your satisfaction.

    Warm regards and God’s blessings.

    Kagra ji: Thanks for liking the post.

  • The best ever article I ever read in Ghumakkar. What I got from this ……is….deep Knowledge of this place.

    Thanks Ram Sir.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Kostubh,

    I am grateful to you for your kind words of appreciation.

    I will share with you something personal. Whenever we talk of Corbett, Ramnagar or Kumaon, the name of a good friend that comes to mind is – Kosrubh Pandey.

    Once the climatic conditions settle down, we would love to come and meet you.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Nandan,

    The inspiration for writing this post came from you. Visiting several hotels, restaurants, talking to dozens of people along with me and taking photographs of some of the sites in the late hours of the day, was by no means a small effort.

    Needless to say that but for your support, this post would never have come up on the site.

    Thanks and God’s blessings.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Onil,

    I am on cloud 9. Getting such a compliment from you and Mahesh ji is an honour.

    Smita,

    Your heartwarming words would motivate me to write still better.

    Thanks and God’s blessings.

  • zeevie says:

    wow wow Sir,very very nice article.visited paharganj many times for chola bathuras but itna nahi pata tha,next time ll surely visit some of these places.Thnx a lot SIR.God bless you

  • Sahil says:

    Ram Sir , such a detailed description of Paharganj…Simply Wow. Great narration Sir with lovely pics.

    Sahil

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    Ram,

    With every article you raise the bar for yourself as well as for others :-)

    I have never been to Paharganj, except for catching trains at N. Delhi Rly Station. I used to think that Paharganj is all narrow, congested streets. It was never clear to me that why foreign tourists esp backpackers like it so much. Your article gave new insights about it.

    And above all, the anecdotes in this article gave it a very personal flavour. I am sure for many of us, you are a window to look back and to understand/know about the things they are now and how they were in the past.

    Simply Brilliant.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Manish,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    The roads at Paharganj are definitely narrow and congested. However, during my last visit to the Main Bazaar, I observed that the road from Chitragupta Road to the Railway Station was in the process of widening – from 42′ to 60′. This will help in removing some congestion.

    The beautification work undertaken by the administration also slowed down due to torrential rains. Hopefully they will finish the work before the CWG start.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Sahil,

    I am grateful to you for your very sweet words.

    I am happy to see three of your posts in the top ten list. Well done and congratulations.

    When do we see your next post.

    Zeevie,

    Thanks for liking the post.

    Please do keep on sharing your views.

  • Shaguna Dhall says:

    One of the best writeups! Your story telling carries the reader along till the end.
    It was a joy to know about a place where a regular Delhite (like me!) wouldn’t think of going.
    You make a simple place seem exquisite!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  • Stone says:

    Fantastic post sir, I grew up in Gole Market area which is not very far from there, so this post took me back in time.

    Loved every word in it and all other Delhi-centric posts, I’m sure all such posts can be condensed into bestseller.

    Thanks a ton again.

  • Aditya says:

    Very well narrated with lovely pictures. I always see this place as a mess (we generally go the station side only) but I got a totally different view of Paharganj with the rich historical details from this article.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Sandeep Sehgal says:

    Awesome post. The mix of the personal touch with the level of detail makes it an enthralling read… I felt I was walking the lanes and by-lanes by your side.

  • aurojit says:

    Ram Dhall ji,

    Extremely interesting and riveting details. First hand account of the long forgotten days came alive thanks to your narration style and insight.

    The episode in Khanna cinema is hilarious. Hippi links to Paharganj is very informative.

    Thanks for sharing all those memories and imparting valuable info.
    A great piece on Delhi’s legacy.
    Auro.

  • Pawan Anand says:

    Not that other information in the article was any less, but I have copied this article on my hard disc for only the food part of it. For long I wanted to visit paharganj for continental food but didn’t know where to go. Now I’m well aware to know where to enjoy falafal or true Italian cuisine. From Madan Cafe to Metropolis, all are in my radar now. Thanks for the lovely piece which has made me drooling for more.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Another gem from the Master, detailed and comprehensive. Having all the time in the world shows.

    Been there a few times, to a place which finds no mention in the post – the cemetery. Filled to the brim, seems impossible to get a berth. :-)

    Wonder where the hippie bus came from.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Stone,

    I am indeed very grateful to you for your heartwarming words.

    Yes, a person who has lived in Gole Market (I used to pass through this area everyday on my way to office located at CP) can very well understand what Paharganj has witnessed through the years. How can one forget the Chaat and sweets of Bangla Sweet House, the crispy tandoori chicken and fish of the Galina Restaurant and most of all our visits to the most revered Gurdwara Bangla Sahib.

    Sandip, I think I have to go a long way before I complete the series on mystic alleys. There is so much of history of the Delhi’s seven cities – the Ghalib of Shahjahanabad, the Lodis, the Rajput rulers, the Lakshmi Narain Temple (Birla Temple), the Chiraag Delhi and it would take me quite sometime to write about these things. Once I complete, I would sit with persons like you and see what best could be done.

    Thanks once again for your kind words.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Shaguna: Thanks for liking the post.

    Aditya,

    The area close to the Railway station is of course messy, but that like any other city, is due to its being travel oriented. The rehri wallas, auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, porters, the small time dhabas, the beggars, etc add to the already existing congestion. That’s precisely the reason for my suggesting an entry through the Ramakrishna Ashram Marg.

    Thanks for liking the post.

    Sandeep,

    I am glad that the post was to your liking.

    Having been brought up in Pahar ganj, I couldn’t help writing about my childhood associations.

    Thanks and warm regards.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Aurojit Babu,

    It’s always very heartening to see your comments.

    Your liking the post means a lot of encouragement to me.

    Yes, I would never forget the Khanna Talkies and the “badmashis” we did. Well that too was a learning experience.

    Thanks and warm regards.

    Pawan ji,

    Thanks for your kind words

    Especially on a sunny day in the winters, you would find the place more exciting, with hundreds of tourists from different countries hanging around these restaurants enjoying the sunshine.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    My dear Patrick,

    It’s always great to hear from a person who has been a pillar of strength not only to me, but many other ghumakkars too.

    I have been to the Paharganj cemetery in my early days, which exists from the British period. Unfortunately, a large scale of encroachments took away big chunks of the cemetery land and the place, for obvious reasons, became overcrowded. A few of my friends’ relations being buried at the Prithvi Raj Road Cemetery, my visits were more frequent to this place. Even this historical cemetery, I believe has stopped allowing new burials.

    Oh yes. The hippie bus could be from anywhere in Europe. In those days, lots of tourists preferred surface travel to India and we could see several such buses landing Delhi.

    Warm regards and God’s blessings.

  • Nandan says:

    I thought I would keep my anecdote out of the current context but guess time to join the Daawat.

    This is probably in year 2003 when four of us went to Ratlam (and then onward to Baanswaara) to attend a close colleague’s marriage ceremony. After we reached NDLS and realize that we have about an hour to kill, we were thinking of options. 7 years back (and most of it even today) NDLS was not a great place to spend time with.

    A friend, who has tasted the smell before, came up with the idea of visiting a local bar which also plays some good live music. We reached a bylane and after climbing two floors, it was a scene to watch. A khacha-khach place brimming with food and drinks, leading to a small stage (you could almost touch the singing troupe) where a gang of 4 were performing live to patron’s requests. While lets not get into the quality of the rendition but it was very ably supported by those high decibel sound systems.

    Imagine a ‘Salaame Ishq’ or a ‘Hazoor aate aate bahu der kar di.’ , from blaring speakers while you put your orders of bubbly and bone. Try it.

  • sudhir says:

    Ram Sir,
    Superb Article,!!!!!!!!!
    Salute to your Case Studies on the Subject in very detailed manner.
    It might be Great if you can share any Pictures of yours of that era.
    sudhir sharma

  • Deepak says:

    Ram Saab, another masterpiece !! Everytime I read your article on a place, I feel I know the place for ages.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Sudhir,

    Thanks for liking the post.

    As you would recall, in those days, what to talk of the digital cameras, even the colour cameras weren’t easily available. However, I would look into the archives and see if any picture is available.

    Deepak,

    What a joy hearing from you.

    I am glad that the post was to your satisfaction.

    Warm regards and God’s blessings.

  • Madhavi Srivastava says:

    Dear Mr. Dhall
    It w as very interesting reading about things I did not know existed in Delhi. The peice on Hazrat Nizamuddin & Amir Khusrau was very interesting as I too am very fond of qawwalis & sufi music, though I have never been able to go to an Urs. I don’t know if they allow women there. I have ,of course, heard his compositions rendered by the likes of the legendary Habib Painter.

  • shailendra singh says:

    wow sir ,
    you remember me my delhi days,

  • Gaurav Chopra says:

    Dear Ram Sahib,
    Another flawless Masterpiece ..
    One day , we should explore Paharganj together.
    Waiting for the next article.
    Warm regards
    Gaurav

  • Abhinav says:

    Your fabulously written article changed my perception for paharganj which i had a impression of being a crowded market area. Thank You :-)

  • Ram says:

    Madhavi,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    In my personal opinion, there is no bar on women attending the urs of the saints. However, a separate portion for the ladies preferably in “parda” has often been observed at some such gatherings.

    Shailendra ji: Thanks for liking the post.

    Gaurav,

    Your encouraging words mean a lot to me.

    It would give me immense pleasure walking through the streets of Paharganj and enjoying some mouth watering delicacies.

  • Ram says:

    Abhinav,

    Thank you for your very sweet words.

    Like Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk or GK Market, the footfall at Paharganj is also heavy. All these markets cater to different segments and Paharganj is a favorite of the budget travelers. You will be surprised to note that some of them stay there for several weeks.

    I would strongly recommend a visit to the Ramakrishna Ashram, The peace and tranquility one gets there, is probably the greatest asset of Paharganj.

  • Dinesh Sharma says:

    Dear Ram Sir,

    Reading yours post reminded me fragrance of our past days me and my friends who used to visit Paharganj almost regularly. At coffee home when we rewind ourself then few of our ________ . Yours this post just reminded the following lines…..

    Our mind is like a monkey.
    The mind, if allowed to be uncontrolled, steal away our intelligence.
    We then lose the ability to discriminate between the act of wisdom and foolishness.

    But this post is one of the best I had ever read i my life. The depiction of Paharganj in yours post take me to another world where I visited Rama Krishna ashram, Sita Ram, Imperial Cinema etc. Then I salute to the writer who contemplate the following:

    “The Mind when disciplined , get clear vision of discrimination which make our life more meaningful, peaceful and happy .”

    GOD BLESS YOU GOOD HEALTH.

  • K P Tiwari says:

    Fabulous, Extermely good Artcle.
    May God provide you lot of energy. Keep it up.

    regards.
    K P Tiwari

  • Ram says:

    Dinesh ji,

    I am totally overwhelmed to read your very kind words. Such words of encouragement energize me to write still better.

    Warm regards and God’s blessings.

  • Ram says:

    Tiwari Sahib,

    Thanks for liking the post and your kind wishes.

    Warm regards

  • SUBASH KAPOOR says:

    WAH RAM WAH,
    IT IS MY 5TH. ATTEMPT TO SEND YOU MY EXCELLENT COMMENTS ON YR. WRITE UP,BUT UNABLE TO FORWARD,MAY BE BECAUSE OF NET -SERVER PROBLEM.
    NEARER THE CHURCH–FARTHER FROM THE GOD,IS QUITE APPLICABLE IN MY CASE,AS BEING FROM DELHI,COULD NOT SEE ATLEAST — HIPPIE MOVEMENT-DAM MARO DUM.
    ANY HOW SHALL MAKE USE OF YR. VALUEABLE INFORMATION AND MAKE VISIT TO PLACES OF INTEREST,AS MENTIONED IN YR.BRO UCHRE .
    WARM REGARDS!
    SUBASH

  • Veer Mukhi says:

    Ram,

    Good job.Very interesting. It reminds of my childhood days. My grandmother and uncle used to live in Paharganj just opposite to the Railway Station. Most of the time we used to come on foot, distance of 8-9 miles, from Rohtak Road, , where we lived from 1947 to 1960. Tonga used to charge one anna (4 paise/ 1/16th of rupee) per passenger from Dev Nagar to Paharganj station. Motia Khan was Delhi’s wholesale steel, timber and later kabari market.
    Keep writing and sharing. We love reading the details you cover in your posts. Good liuck.

    Veer Mukhi
    New York.

  • Ram says:

    Subash ji,

    Thanks for your very kind words.

    Stationed at Connaught Place and working at the FX desk of a foreign bank, where several tourists came to exchange money, I met many of the bindaas characters clad in indifferent attires (amongst girls the Rajasthani dresses were very popular). Hippie movement was a phase that came and phased out over a period, though it did help in making Paharganj a fovorite destination for budget travelers, which it still is. With the new and better equipped hotels coming up, Pahargan’s popularity is gaining strength.

    Veer,

    Thanks for liking the post and adding value to the write up by sharing your experience of the “tonga” days (this mode of transportation has since been phased out).

  • Sudip says:

    Ram Sir, This article puts the Lonely Planet to a pale second place when it comes to Delhi. Keen to know more about the Chitragupta temple that you had mentioned in your post.
    Regards,

  • Manish Kumar says:

    ??????? ???? ??????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ????????? ?? ????? ??????? ?? ??? ??? ???? ?? ???? , ???? ???? ???? ??? ???? ?? ??? ??? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??? ????

  • Ashu says:

    Dear Ram sir,
    I really enjoyed reading your article. Yes truly popular sita ram ke chole bhature. Though i have personally visited all these places but did know little about historical background. Thanks again for such a lovely piece.

  • Wayne says:

    Hello Ram,

    Do you have any information about the hippie bus picture? The young man in front is wearing a red hat. Does that hat signify that he is the driver perhaps?

    Thanks for your help,
    Wayne

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