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Hauz Khas Village

Hauz Khas Village is a tiny hamlet known for its artsy, bohemian atmosphere. Developed during the 1980s, it was once a part of Siri, one of New Delhi’s 7 cities built in the 14th century by Ala-ud-din Khilji of the Khilji Dynasty. It housed a mosque, a Madrasa, the tomb of Firoz Shah, a number of pavilions and water tanks which the village is named after- Hauz meaning ‘lake’ and Khas meaning ‘royal’. With the exception of the water tank, all the other monuments were built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq. He was an enlightened and well liked ruler and the Madrasa was known for being a leading institution of Islamic learning and the largest and best equipped in the world. The tomb is a square, domed building made of quartzite which has inscriptions from the Koran on a gold medallion on the ceiling. Aside from this, it is an austere, simply constructed monument. The six pavilions are also deduced to be graves.

The Village itself sprang up among these ancient monuments, the new and edgy rubbing shoulders with the ancient. It started out as a spot for fashion designers who built their boutiques here and gradually attracted more and more independent artists, restaurateurs and expats who set up their establishments here partly because of its charm, and partly because of the low rent. A must visit location, it now contains everything from art galleries and cafes to indie bookstores and organic shops. Notable shops include the Grey Garden, which resembles a Parisian cafe and serves the most avant-garde cuisine, the Gunpowder, easily the most famous restaurant which serves delectable southern food, Indian Popular art, which sells old postcards and Hindi movie posters, O Layla, a boutique with clothes and accessories made out of recycled waste, the Yodakin, an alternative book store, The People’s Project, a handicraft store housing crafts from all over India and Elma’s Bakery, a quaint, English style bakery. A touch of nature can be found in the Deer Park beside the water tank, with its eponymous herds of deer and flocks of birds.

Hauz Khas Village can be found in south Delhi near Green Park and Safdarjung Development Area. It can be reached via metro or autorickshaw.

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