With it’s birth as Shahjahanabad in 1639, the wallet city of Delhi continued to be the capital of the Mughals till the end of the dynasty – and carried the history forward with the havelis and the royal cuisine – both speaking of the grandeur of the olden years that this place has seen. Today, although the scene has completely changed – with dilapidated buildings and crowded alleys carrying weight of the old world charm on their shoulders, the aura still prevails.
Frequented by foodaholics and on a must-do list of foreigners, Chandni Chowk is a place unknown to none. Be it the best mughlai food available throught the year, the seasonal delicacies, or the history of the place – it attracts people from every nook and corner of the world – Indians and foreigners alike. President, Heritage India Foundation and MP Mr. Vijay Goel & his son Siddhant, orchestrated the restoration of Haveli Dharampura – located in one of the bylanes – Gali Gulian, Dharampura – over 7 years! A work of passion and dedication – the before and after pictures of the three storeyed haveli – speak for themselves – the story of a khandahar turning into a heritage hotel. Just consider the facts – 7 years; 45 lakhs, around 1000 trucks of debris – don’t they speak of the enormity of the task?
The majesty of the haveli will leave you spellbound – well appointed rooms and suites, chajjas, a central courtyard with a fountain, a library, a rooftop restaurant with a view and a 360 view of the walled city – are examples of the magnificence. Haveli Dharampura is the perfect example of restoration – the mughal architecture is perfectly preserved – a feat achieved during the first 3 years. What was once dotted by ramshackle balconies, flaking walls and a claustrophobic colony of 60 rooms, has now been transformed into royal rooms & suites, each named after a gate of Delhi. There will be performances, a museum, a library, a heritage centre to name a few.
Lakhori is the quaint in house restaurant of the haveli – and will cater to both the residents and non-residents. The menu here is in full sync with vibe of Chandni Chowk – where traditional and modern co-exist in symphony – some age old mughlai recipes, some modern twists and a plethora of exciting beverages to choose from. The smoothies and mock-tails are a perfect blend of time-honored and modern recipes – who knew the customary chai-biscuit could have an avatar as a beverage. Jahan-Ara was everyone’s favorite – a khus based mocktail infused with some chili flavor made its rounds. The array of smoothies tasted as good as they appeared to the eyes and Paan Banarasi – a liquified version of the favorite mouth freshener was refreshing.
The menu boasts of mughlai cuisine with twists – kadak roomali roti redefining the concept of community eating, the kebabs served with miniature paranthas and the very surprising aloo gobhi mutter deconstructed – a must try – what a brilliant way of presenting the household common. The menu has ample choices – especially the vegetarians are going to be very contented eating here.
aloo gobhi matar deconstructed
The haveli, now a Welcome Heritage property opens to public next month, reservations are on. It is perfect way to rejoice the history and aura that Chandni Chowk so elegantly echoes.