HAUZ KHAS VILLAGE AND MONUMENTS:
Once upon a time, more specifically, in the year 1300, Delhi’s Sultan Allaudin Khilji built a vast reservoir – a ‘hauz’ – for his people. Later in the 1350’s, Sultan Feroze Shah Tughlaq, a prolific builder, built a madrasa, a mosque and the tomb that would hold his own grave, near this lake. These are the building we today know as the Huaz Khas Group of monuments. Gently glowing in the evening sun, the madrasa’s pillared remains are atmospheric and look over the lake and extensive greenery that lies below them. Feroze Shah’s tomb has some fading but pretty red calligraphy in its interior.
The lake itself can be accessed via some rather precarious steps that lead down from the mosque. Or you can go out the way you come, enter the Hauz Khas District Park near the municipal parking, and walk over. Lovely for sunny winter walks, or some summer evening cooling’s, the lake usually comes alive with ducks, geese and migratory birds during winter, while the trees near it host parrots and kingfishers.
A step away from the lake, the pleasant District Park is a big spread of land cheetal enclosures, picnic grounds, children’s swings, an exercise corner, and a couple of old ruins. There’s even a lovely ‘Health Path’ which leads from the Hauz Khas Village enterance to a small gate that emerges at Green Park market.
The Market announces itself with resto-bars advertising ladies’ nights, Sufi evening lane is almost entirely given over to some excellent lounges and dineries. There’s imperfect – watch out for the vintage scooter on the balcony – with its running water channel, staff who offers you fresh canapés to taste and great continental food. Then there’s the old favorite, Elma’s with its hint of oh-so-British high tea, sandwiches, cakes and all day breakfasts. Diva Piccola serves excellent pasta, pizza, ravioli, gnocchi, chops, fish dishes, Tiramisu and wines. Rooftop Amour offers the best ambience for the winter afternoons, with lake views, and some good Mediterranean food. The small pizzeria Rossa is for those times when only a pizza will do.
The Village has new bar on the block and it has arguably the best and closest lake view here. Chaman Lal and Sons – yes that’s right – is named after British era lawyer who drowned in Hauz Khas lake in search of some water for his drink. Fittingly, it’s the cocktails that are great here. Margarite with passion fruit and clove, Mojito with saffron and mint, Tiger Blanc with balsamic reduction and vanilla sugar… and one for the road called Psycho Chaman!