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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Surajkund Mela

How many people are there in Delhi who would not have heard of the Surjakund Mela ? A fair number of people would have also taken the trouble to go to the Surajkund complex of Haryana tourism during the time of the mela, attracted by the cultural experience. The Mela also promises to be a great experience of foreign tourists who get a sample of the Indian countryside not far from Delhi.
Reaching there is not difficult, one needs to head onto Mathura road till just before Badarpur border and ask for directions from there. It is not very far from there, and is located in Faridabad district. The Mela is organized ever year from Feb 1 - Feb 15 and begins from 9.30 a.m. and closes at 5.30 p.m. each evening, and has been in existence from 1981; the fair celebrates its 28th version in 2008. The Mela has been the brainchild of Harayana tourism as a way to showcase the cultural experience of the Indian rural area, focusing on a different state everytime, and has been a spectacular success.
The mela has some specific objectives, such as:
1. To create a rural ambience for the foreign and domestic tourist to see
2. To educate patrons both from abroad, urban centres and educational institutes about the fascinating technique and skills involved in craft creation
3. To introduce crafts and craftspersons directly to the buyers and help them find their patrons
4. To Identify, nurture and preserve languishing crafts of the country and save it for posterity
In addition to the culture, the fortnight long celebrations also come as a food festival. Some of the popular food traditions from Punjab come at the Punjabi 'Rasoi'. South Indian delicacies come in from South Indian Section. Popular Chinese and snack foods also arrive for the event along with a special stalls where patrons are introduced to the traditional foods and sweet meats of the selected theme State.
Skilled artisans from all over the country display the rich crafts tradition of India in the typical setting of a rural Indian marketplace. Cultural programmes and rural cuisine are also a part of this colourful fair. The fair also provides a meeting ground for the talented painters, weavers, sculptors and craftsmen form all over India who exhibit their creations and the arts and crafts lovers who flock here to admire and purchase these creations.

Some beautiful photos of the Mela at this link.

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Kalkaji Mandir

The Kalkaji Mandir is a part of the ancient history of Delhi, with a common belief that there has been a structure here for the past 3,000 years, and a connection with the Mahabharta, in terms of worship of the Kalka Devi (an incarnation of Goddess Durga). The temple in its current position is located on a hill, and it is really quite ancient, with the oldest parts being from the 1760's; and there were many additions in the 19th century.
The Delhi locality of Kalkaji takes its name from the temple. To reach it is very simple, you ask for the temple and you will get directions. It is located next to Nehru Place and close to the Ba'hai temple.
The modern temple is a 12-sided structure completely made out of marble and black pumice stones. This structure houses the black stone that denotes goddess kali. The temple building is very simple and has no ornamentation as such. There is an inn in the backyards of the main structure known as Kali Dharamshala.
The main shrine has twelve sides, made in white marble and granite tiles. This structure houses the black stone that denotes goddess kali. The temple building is very simple and has no ornamentation as such. In the vicinity of the temple are the Mandir's dharamshalas, the rest houses for pilgrims, which were built by the donations of many devotees in the early 20th century. During the time of 'Navratris' (Mar-Apr / Sep-Oct), thousands of devotees come for the 'darshan' of the deity. For the period of nine days, a huge fair is organized in the vicinity of the temple.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Top Breads Eating joint in Noida and East Delhi

If you have a sweet tooth, like to get healthy wheat or grain bread, or enjoy delicious croissants and lament over the fact that these are hardly ever available in Delhi, rejoice. The traditional bakery will typically have pastries and cakes, and maybe some vegetable patties, but here is a shop that promises to meet all your desires.
I am talking about the shop called Top Breads located in the Noida Sector 18 market that stocks pastries, cakes, apple pie, buns, croissants, cheese parlaits, non-vegetarian and vegetable pizzas and sandwiches. If you are in the mood for some health food, then you can go to the salad bar and stuff your bowl full of either vegetable salad or non-vegetarian salad or fruit salad. In addition, you can wash it all down with a choice of drinks such as cold drinks, cold coffee, etc. You can also order a range of pineapple, chocolate, black forest cakes.
So where is Top Breads ? It is located just next to Store 18 / ABN Amro, on the bottom floor of Ocean Heights building.
Contact: 0120 - 2591458, 2516477
Top Breads is also opening in East Delhi, in the Aditya mall right next to CrossRiver mall.

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Amoliq - The jewellery store in East Delhi

If you mention buying jewelery, then most people in Delhi will either point you to Connaught Place or Karol Bagh; buying jewelery is also something that one needs to be very sure about. After all, even a small trinket of gold / diamond can cost in the thousands, and increase rapidly as the size of the jewelry item increases; hence you need to go to a place you can trust.
For people living in East Delhi, there are jewelers in the nearby markets, and one good shop that I have seen is called Amoliq. It has a wide range of jewelery items available in gold and diamond, with varieties that are trendy and in fashion such as kundan, antique, etc. You can get necklace sets, pendants, bracelets, rings, kadas, chains, earrings, nose sets, etc. In addition, there is a wide variety of such jewelery available, and it is quite likely that you will find what you want.
The shop is well maintained, has a pleasing decor, and the service is very good with courteous staff. The shop is located right opposite the V3 Mall on Vikas Marg, just at the point where Laxmi Nagar ends.
Contact details:
E-358, Nirman Vihar, New Delhi - 110092
Phone: 91-11-22523659, 91-11-55250913

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

La Piazza restaurant in Hyatt Regency

First of all, if you are going to a restaurant rated to be Delhi's top Italian restaurant, and that too located in a 5 star hotel, then you can be sure that it will expensive. And La Piazza is certainly expensive, but for those who can afford to enjoy it, they claim that it is real good. And of course, it is a treat to get seemingly authentic Italian food in Delhi (although you can expect a certain tweaking of the palate to suit local tastes).
The restaurant is both casual and trendy, with a nice decor trying to give the look of an Italian sidewalk restaurant with lots of spiralling white columns, stone tiles and wooden louvres. The restaurant is extremely popular and it is a good idea to book a table before heading there, unless you like the idea of waiting over there.
The gourmet food consists of wood-fired pizzas, and a variety of pasta dishes. The typical lunch menu is a mixed menu with antipasti platter, a selection of main courses, and a dessert buffet. Dinner is a la carte menu. It is the Sunday lunch that is more elaborate, with smoked salmon, grilled chicken, green salads, and unlimited pizza and pasts. And you can top this up with some great dessert menu as well as some great wines. The food is fresh, and you can be sure that there is a great use of herbs.
Hours: Lunch 12:00 Noon to 2:30pm
Dinner 7:00pm to 11:30pm
Contact details: +91 11 6677 1310, +91 - 11 - 26791234
Address: Hyatt Regency Hotel, Bhikaji Cama Place, Ring Road, New Delhi, 110066

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Male Ethnic wear - Gujralsons

Gujralsons is a pretty famous chain specializing in different types of male clothing, with a good emphasis on ethnic wear. There are 3 different stores in the Delhi NCR region, with the first store having opened in Karol Bagh in 1971, and the second store having opened in the fashionable South Extension II market. The third store has opened pretty recently in the massive Great India Place mall in Noida.
The stores have a good variety of clothing with ethnic wear, western wear, accessories, and tailoring services. Now, western wear is something that a lot of store offer, and the same is true for tailoring, but what the store has which is appealing is the range of party wear in ethnic style. So, if you are looking for wedding wear (and for the different functions that are part of the wedding), then you can find a range of designer kurtas, sherwanis, jackets and the like. The range is good, and you are pretty likely to find what you are looking for.
In addition, you will also find the accessories such as Pagri, Juti, Stoles, and some beautiful ties. Of course, if you are dressing for a wedding, then the costs can be fairly high, with sherwanis and designer suits costing above Rs. 15,000.

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Designer kurtas and sherwanis - Gatha

When you are preparing for marriage, and are male, it is obvious that not so much attention is paid to you (unless you are the groom). But nowadays, wearing traditional wear for attending a marriage is the done thing, and chief among them is the wearing of kurtas and sherwanis. There are many places where you can find such clothing, and one such place that I stumbled across is called 'Gatha'.
Now Gatha is a famous brand of men's clothing in Kolkata, and now they have a chain in the NCR as well. On the second floor of the Great India Mall in Noida, there is a outlet of Gatha that has a decent collection of kurtas and sherwanis (both designer and also some more normal kurtas). The last time I went, there was a sale ongoing, and I got some good deal for designer kurtas.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Ruby Tuesday in Delhi

Ruby Tuesday is a US chain of restaurants that are meant for people to get a feel of North American cuisine and drinks. So, you got various types of burgers and sandwiches, seafood, food made Cajun style, steaks, Italian food, Mexican food and different types of salads. In addition, you get a range of great desserts, and some great drinks. The restaurants have a great ambience, with low piped music. The furniture is all dark wood, and the decor also has various types of curios mounted on the walls.
Ruby Tuesday has various locations in Delhi and NCR, and so you should be able to find one near to you wherever you are:

14-15 Community Center
PVR Anupam Complex
Saket, New Delhi 110-017
Telephone: 91-11-2686-1741/42

CS-27, 28 &124 DLF City Centre, Ph-II
Gurgaon, Haryana
Telephone: 91-124-501-4244/46

RT Janak Place Shop No. 8 and 9
Satyam Cinema
Janak Place District Centre
Janak Puri, New Delhi
Telephone:91-1-41588745/46

Noida
The Centerstage Mall
Sector 18
Noida
Uttar Pradesh
Telephone: 91.120.251.5679

TDI Mall Raja Garden
Shop No. G5-G6, Ground Floor
TDI Mall, Shivaji Place District Centre
New Delhi, India
Telephone: 91-1-25106005/06

Greater Kailash II
M-44, Greater Kailash II
New Delhi 110 048
India
Telephone: 91-1-40536606/07

Faridabad
Shop No. GB 02B
Crowne Plaza Mall
Sector 15 A
Faridabad
Haryana, India
Telephone: 91-129-401-8001

Nehru Place
Satyam Cineplex Nehru Place, Shop No. 12, 13
45 Nehru Place Dist. Centre
New Delhi, India 110 019

Rohini Unit
Unitech Metro Walk
Rohini, Sector 10
New Delhi, India

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Larry's China Restaurant: The Ambassador Hotel

Specialising in Cantonese and Szechwan dishes, this Chinese restaurant offers a unique and inviting atmosphere. The d├ęcor of the room with wooden floors, Chinese memorabilia and navigational equipments transcends you to China of the olden era. You can enjoy authentic Chinese dishes, not like the Indianized Chinese food that you get in many other places.
Some of the food options are prawn dishes, stir-fried vegetables, sweetcorn, okra, many chicken dishes, and so on. Average cost for two will be around Rs. 1200.

Location: The Ambassador Hotel
Sujan Singh Park, Cornwallis Road
Lodhi Road H.O.
Delhi - 110003
Landmark: Near Kamat Hotel
Phone: 011-24632600

Restaurant opens for lunch from 1230-1500 and for dinner 1930 to midnight.

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Jade: Chinese restaurant in the Claridges

If you are looking out for a good Chinese restaurant, Jade has earned some good reviews. Located in the heart of New Delhi on Aurangzeb Road, amidst various Government houses and private expensive villas, the Claridges hotel is a fairly old hotel in terms of history, having been there since the 1950's. The Jade is the Chinese restaurant over there, having a total capacity of 45 people.
The restaurant is aptly named, with a equisite jade carvings lending the strong Chinese flavour, the restaurant serves authentic Chinese and Thai cuisine. The restaurant is sited in a beautiful setting of bamboo groves.
Lunch Timing: 12.30pm - 2.45pm
Dinner Timing: 7.30pm - 11.30pm
Contact number: + 91 11 4133 5133

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Hospitals: Max Hospitals

Delhi and NCR have a number of good hospitals, one of which is Max Hospitals. It is now a chain of hospitals, spread all over Delhi, and such that any one of them will be within close reach to wherever you may be staying. Typically, from people who have undergone treatment, these are good hospitals; treatment is good, doctors are qualified and the overall level of care is good.
These hospitals have various specialities, such as heart, cardio-vascular, neuro sciences, Orthopaedics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery.

The locations and contact details of these hospitals are:

1. Max Devki Devi Heart & Vascular Institute: 2 Press Enclave Road,
Saket, New Delhi 110017.
Phone: +91 11 2651 5050

2. Max Super Speciality Hospital
1 Press Enclave Road,
Saket, New Delhi 110017.
Phone: +91 11 2651 5050

3. Max Balaji Hospital
Max Balaji Hospital - Patparganj
108 A, Indraprastha Extension,
Opp. Sanchar Apartments,
Patparganj, Delhi 110092.
Phone : +91 11 4303 3333

4. Max Hospital - Pitampura
Max Hospital - Pitampura
HB Twin Towers,
Wazirpur District Centre,
Pitampura,
New Delhi 110034.
Phone : +91 11 2735 1844

5. Max Hospital - Noida
Max Hospital - Noida
A-364, Sector 19,
Noida 201301
Phone : +91 120 402 6666

6. Max Medcentre - Panchsheel Park
Max Medcentre - Panchsheel Park
N 110, Panchsheel Park,
New Delhi 110 017
Phone : +91 11 2649 9870

7. Max Eye Care
Max Speciality Centre
S 347, Panchsheel Park,
New Delhi 110 017
Phone: 2649 9870, 2649 9880
Fax: 26499860

8. Max Hospital - Gurgaon
Max Hospital Gurgaon,
Block-B, Sushant Lok - Phase I,
Gurgaon - 122 001
Phone No: +91 124 6623000,
Fax No: +91 124 6623111

These contact details are available at this link.
The emergency contact number of Max is 011 4055 4055

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mainland China in Gurgaon

Mainland China is a pretty good Chinese restaurant. I first had the chance to sample the food in their Greater Kailash eatery, and then perchance, I had gone to visit some friends in Gurgaon. Coincidentally, the last time that I had met them was in the GK Mainland China, and this time they set the meeting (dinner) point to be the Mainland China in Gurgaon. And this is where we landed up.
It took some time to find it, but since it is located right next to a major landmark (the Ericsson building), it was not difficult in the end. If you are going from Delhi side on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon road, you need to turn right as you approach Gurgaon, and then move towards NH8. Soon, you will get into the area of massive office buildings, and the Mainland China restaurant is on the right side, before the Ericsson building.
We were in a group, with 3 families, and 2 babies, so things were going to be difficult. The babies were in the 2-3 age group, so they were downright mischievous.
And the restaurant handled it perfectly. They got high chairs for both babies, the staff were friendly and helpful, and not once could you see any of them grimace, even when under the attack of 2 determined infants.
The restaurant serves a variety of drinks and food. We ordered some good wine, and then some individual cocktails. Along with this, there was a special request food wise for the babies, and that was met. We ordered starters, including one delightful spinach starter, and a mixture of veg and non-veg starters. The starters were good, but the soup was not well appreciated by a couple of people, they could be better.
We ordered a mix of veg and non-veg dishes along with noodles and rice, and overall the food quality was good. No complaints on this score. However, keep in mind that Mainland China is an expensive place, with dishes in the range of Rs. 200-400, and drinks at Rs. 300 plus.
Contact details:
Phone: +(91)-1244263630
Address: Dlf Cyber City, PH-3, Gurgaon, - 122001

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Shopping for lehengas in Chandni Chowk

When marriage season is on for a family, there is a wide variety of stuff to be bought. Clothes for the bride and groom, and for close family members can take a large amount of time and effort, and there is always the question of where to buy such stuff from. A lot of people in Delhi will be willing to swear to the effect that if you want to buy good stuff, and yet get it at reasonable rates, then Chandni Chowk is the place to go (of course if budget is not a problem, then there will be a large number of places that a person can go to - many good showrooms).
In Chandni Chowk, there are a vast number of such shops that will welcome you when you want to buy a lehenga; if you have a frequent shop or a recommendation, then most probably you will step over there for the purchase. And this is precisely what happened when we went to buy a lehenga for a relative who was getting married. She wanted to buy a lehenga for the engagement, and hence it had to be good, but not as heavy as the one would buy for a marriage.
The place where we went to is located in an alley called Katra Asharfi (if you get down at the Chandni Chowk metro station and ask where it is located, anybody will be able to tell you). The shop name is called Lehenga House.
Address is Shop # 502, Katra Ashrafi, Chandni Chowk, Delhi
Phone: 23252939, 9350244942
They have a good selection, and it is quite possible that you will be able to find the type of lehenga that you are looking for. They will take your measurements and then offer to send the stiched garment to your house within a couple of days.

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Caspian - A resto-bar in Noida Sector 50 market

Say you live or work in Noida or Indirapuram, and are somewhat fed up of the regular places where you go to for food or drinks with friends / colleagues. Well, here is another place that you can explore.
Caspian is a somewhat upcoming place in the Noida Sector 50 market (located in the backside of the market where Domino's is located). The place is a double-layered facility, with the ground floor being the bar and the top floor being the restaurant (drinks are available in the restaurant).
The place is a decent place, but quite obviously not anywhere being a classy joint. You get the standard food variety, with the naan's, rotis, and various types of curries, chicken, meat, etc available. The selection of drinks is also normally what you see in places like these, with the standard set of whiskies, rum, vodka, cocktails and mocktails available.
The food is hot, but the service levels could do with some improvement. Also, the decor could be improved to some degree, with better seating. The restaurant has a square demarcated place right in the middle where you would expect a bartender to be standing surrounded by drinks and glasses, but that particular structure is empty.
Food prices were just right, and again normal for what you would expect to pay in any other place like this. My overall impression was that you would neither have a negative nor a positive reaction.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Designer sarees - Satya Paul

Suppose you are in the market for some designer saris, creations that will look beautiful and also look exclusive to some degree. There are many options that you could go to such as Nalli, Chhabra, various locations in Chandni Chowk, etc, or you could go to Satya Paul stores to get a look at some of the great sarees that they have.
The sarees do look beautiful, and are available in both printer and embroidered versions, and each store has a fair selection, along with courteous staff who will help you select the best saree for you. Mind, these sarees can be expensive, with printer saris starting from Rs. 3000 and embroidered ones starting from Rs. 10,000.
The location of the various Satya Paul outlets are:
1. B-105, Defense Colony
Phone 91-11-5155 2568/69
2. The City Square Mall, UG-14, Near Raja Garden
Phone 91-11-4222 5888/89
3. G-2, The Crescent at Qutab, Lado Sarai
Phone 91-11-2952 1564/ 2952 1790
4. C-7, Crossriver Mall, Central Business District, Shahdra
Phone 91-11-2230 6311
5. M-55, GK Market, Part I
Phone 11-46536798 - 99
6. Great India Place, FF 155,156
Sector 38A, Noida
Phone 120-4245016

Location of Satya Paul website at this link.
The Satya Paul online shop available at this link.

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