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CommonWealth Games: Guide to Delhi


Delhi is a city on the move. The Delhi Metro has helped connect previously unconnected parts of the city, specifically east Delhi and the National Capital Region — Noida, to the central business district area of the city. This has speeded up connectivity and given some relief to the city’s roads, which are overflowing with traffic. Then to help ensure the city is ready to host the Commonwealth Games in October this year, much work has been put in to spruce up Delhi.

This change can be seen right at the Delhi Airport itself. Earlier, the domestic terminal 1D was opened last year. From a plethora of fast food outlets, television viewing area, play area for children and a huge space for retail, the domestic terminal has given a modern face to Delhi. This change will then be seen in the airport’s terminal building — Terminal 3. Once opened, the building will help showcase Delhi airport as one of the best airports in the world. Plans are also afoot to have a six-lane highway and the airport connected by metro.

On the road infrastructure front, the most visible change has been the introduction of the Bus Rapid Transit or BRT corridors which ensures a separate fast lane for buses, which will speed up connectivity in the city. What is also occurring are various projects to spruce up the city in time for the Games. Most notable among them is the beautification work being done on Connaught Place — one of the best known business, shopping and entertainment areas in the heart of the city. Tourists who have visited Delhi before will see a very different side to the city.

Aside from the improvement in connectivity, the other major change in Delhi is the mall mania. The introduction of large scale malls has done much to change the look of the city. In the late 1990s, Delhi went through a dramatic transformation when the multiplex was introduced. The multiplex introduced not only displaced single theatres but introduced the complex. This consisted of shopping, eating and entertainment areas all congregated in one area. Today the city is going one step further with malls, which are all over the city. The social and physical impact of the malls is still to be gauged but it is safe to say that today with their advent, the space for traditional markets has shrunk in the city. Of course one still has boutique or high-end shopping areas like Priya Complex, which caters to students, couples and foreign clientele and Khan Market, which sees a number of eminent people of the city regularly patronizing it. But today the mall mania has helped ensure international luxury brands have the right space to showcase their brand. A good example of this is Emporio Mall, which is a mall only devoted to high end luxury brands.

Jobwise, the attraction of Delhi can be seen by the number of skilled and semi-skilled migrants which flock to the city in search of work. This has to do with the large number of industrial areas all across the city. According to the Economic Survey of India 2005, Delhi had 1.29 lakh industrial units which provides employment to 14 lakh people in 2001. Textiles, garments, electrical machinery and repair services make up the majority of these services. As a result, Delhi has emerged as one of the biggest centres of SSI — Small Scale Industries in the country. Aside from this, the government has announced plans to set up SEZs Special Economic Zones which will focus on gold and jewellery and information technology.

Despite the craze for modern living, Delhi, unlike a number of other metros, has managed to retain its greenery. Lutyens Delhi so called because it is named after Sir Edwin Lutyens, the architect of the city, houses some of the most influential names in the country and is much admired for its greenery. Aside from this the city has a number of well maintained gardens, which are a delight for visitors. Lodhi Gardens, located in the centre of the city, is the best known and a special favourite. The National Zoological Park, Deer Park, Buddha Jayanti Park and the Mahavir Jayanti Park are some other well known examples of green lungs located in various parts of the city. In fact the Delhi government has taken care to market greenery in a unique way through the Garden of Five Senses. From cultural activities to rare flora and fauna, to fine dining restaurants, the Garden of Five Senses shows greenery and the good life can go hand in hand.


Delhi has everything to offer the tourist. From accommodation to lounge bars to nightclubs and fine dining eateries, the city has a number of options to choose from. Those looking for accommodation near the airport would be best advised to stay at the Radisson which is located less than five kilometres from the hotel. The hotel has all the modern amenities that a business traveller would require, including spa and banqueting facilities. Those who are more ecologically minded, can also look at Uppal’s Orchid, an ecotel, where every product that a guest uses is recyclable. Other options include the Hyatt, Jaypee, Vasant Continental and The Grand hotel which are a little further off. Those who love shopping can opt for The Hilton Garden business hotel. The hotel is located amidst three major malls in south Delhi. In fact one can walk into the hotel through the mall.

For those looking to be near the central business area the Park Hotel or The Lalit both located near Connaught Place, are good options. Another more expensive option is The Aman, Delhi. This hotel offers the best in luxury with private plunge pools for guests and a great variety of cuisines from Pan Asian to the Catalan-inspired Lodhi restaurant. However, it does not have MICE and banqueting facilities. If one is hosting a very large event, The Ashok Hotel, which is located near the city’s embassy area, is the best bet. It has the largest convention centre in Delhi. The convention hall can house 2,000 people in theatre style. The hotel is also home to Amatrra Spa — one of the best known spas in the world.

Coming to service apartments, there are plenty to choose from. Palm Greens located in the south of the city Saket provides one and two bedroom apartments with attached toilet. There is also a fully functional kitchen with microwave, oven crockery and cutlery. The big advantage here is that one can get chauffeur-driven cars and a car rental services on a chargeable basis. Another option is Mayfair Gardens which provides three bedrooms with DVD player and Wi-fi internet facilities included. Dry cleaning and laundry services are included here. Those who want to be close to the airport can opt for the Qutub Clarion Apartments located right to the Clarion Hotel. An average apartment has two bedrooms a study room and a drawing room where you can entertain business guests. You can also get facilities like laptop rentals, private meeting rooms and access to the hotel’s swimming pool and spa facilities here.

One big advantage of the city is that international brands are now moving from the traditional south Delhi market to other parts of the city. A good example is the Hilton hotel which has recently opened in Janakpuri in west Delhi.


For dining out there are no shortage of options. Those looking for the traditional north-Indian fare can opt for Pandara Road, where there is north-Indian Punjabi cuisine to gorge on. One must specially mention Have More restaurant here for its chicken tikka and butter chicken. For those preferring South Indian cuisine can head to the upmarket Defense Colony market, where you can opt for Sagar which provides traditional South Indian vegetarian food or Swagath restaurant which is especially known for its Mangalorian seafood. A must try are its crabs and prawn dishes with the South Indian appams. Incidentally Defence Colony market, along with Khan Market and the INA market in south Delhi are a must visit for those who are looking to cook duck, turkey or special kinds of seafood. For those of you looking to buy wine, the best place to head to Delhi are the DSIDC retail shops which are located in various parts of the city. DSIDC stands for Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation and is responsible for ensuring quality liquor to consumers and stopping the leakage of revenue in terms of tax. One which comes highly recommended for the variety of wines it stocks is the DSIDC shop in Greater Kailash-II in south Delhi.

Moving from food to events, Delhi has four major centres where most of the city’s intellectual and cultural life takes place. These include the IIC – India International Centre, the IHC – India Habitat Centre, the ICCR – Indian Council for Cultural Relations, and the NSD – National School of Drama, which like its name suggests is home to theatre in the country. For the IIC, one has to be a member but anyone can attend its seminars, which are largely of an intellectual and political nature. In contrast, the IHC includes in-house seminars for business houses, seminars where prominent people address the public and cultural events i.e. theatre, dance and music. The ICCR is a government body which showcases the culture of various countries of India. It however is by invite only. The NSD which is located in central Delhi, hosts theatre performances almost all the year round. From amateurs to theatre veterans, theatre of different states and even countries are showcased here.

Coming to nightlife, there is plenty for one to do. One of the most popular places is Shalom in south Delhi. The restaurant which serves Mediterranean food is known for its variety of cocktails. But be warned. You must be dressed in formal attire otherwise you may not be let in. Another popular place for night birds is the lounge bar LAP. Guests can sit outdoors and enjoy drinks along with lounge music, or you can become a member and party in the ‘members only’ area. The staff here, are trained in molecular gastronomy so you can ask for special molecular drinks if you so choose. Be sure you tell them in advance, as the drinks take some time to make. If you prefer nightclubs, most of the city’s five-star hotels have nightclubs, though men be warned, many of them have couple only entry. The rule is relaxed for in-house guests. Some of the best nightclubs include Elevate which at times include live performances by artistes. If you like live rock music Café Morisson in South Delhi is a great option for you, as is Hard Rock Café in the evenings and on the weekends.

Coming to shopping there are of course the city’s malls which will give you designerwear and fast food. For boutique shopping you can check out the Defense Colony Market, Khan Market and the Priya Complex. All of these places have excellent fine dining outlets which offer a variety of Indian, Italian and Pan-Asian specifically Thai and Chinese. A must try is the recently opened Mamagoto in Khan Market. If you are looking for ethnic wear Anokhi for women in Khan Market and Fab India outlets for both women and men are a must try. For traditional arts and crafts don’t forget to visit the Crafts Emporium in central Delhi. Various states of India also have their own emporiums in the city so you can look in on them.

Central Business Centre

For most businessmen in Delhi, it is essential to know where the offices of the various government ministries are located. Not surprisingly then the most important road in Delhi is called Rajpath meaning Kings Way. The road runs from Rashtrapati Bhavan which is the President’s estate right down to Delhi’s iconic monument India Gate. Rajpath is important as it house North Block and South Block. North Block houses the Finance and Home Ministries while South Block houses External Affairs and Defense Ministries. Other government ministries are located in Shastri Bhawan which is named after India’s second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Various ministries like Ministry of Education, Law, Human Resources Development, Information and Broadcasting are all here. If you have an appointment it is important to come here early as the particular ministries are not easy to find and one can easily get lost.

For the Delhi administration you will find the Delhi Chief Minister’s office and other Delhi ministries at Indraprastha Estate. This is near the landmark ITO — Income Tax Office which is one of the best known landmarks of Delhi. ITO also has the head office of the Delhi police. Just off ITO on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, is Delhi’s ‘Fleet Street.’ Here most of India’s most prominent English-language newspapers are located.

Apart from government offices, Delhi has a number of financial institutions, whose head offices are headquartered here. FICCI — Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, is known for its indepth research and surveys. It has joint business councils with 79 countries around the world and makes recommendations to government on various policy issues. There is also the CII — Confederation of Indian Industry, which has partnered with 221 organizations in 90 countries. Finally, there is Assocham which interfaces with government on policy and interacts with international counterparts to promote bilateral economic ties. For those who want to know the Indian government’s economic policies in finer detail or partner with Indian members of a particular industry, these organizations are the best port of call.

Moving from business to industry, many corporate houses have their head office in Mumbai. Those who were in Delhi have now shifted their base to Gurgaon in Haryana. But some industries still hold sway in Delhi. Two industries in particular — medical and publishing: especially in English — are prominent in the Capital. On the medical side government hospitals like AIIMS — All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Safdarjung Hospital sees visitors come from all over India. Other prominent hospitals include Apollo, Escorts for heart care, and Max Hospital which has chains all over the Capital. Thanks to these names, Delhi is becoming a growing hub for medical tourism. In publishing international names like Penguin, Harper Collins, Random House, Sage to name a few, have their India offices in the Capital. This is also because of the large number of noted authors who have made Delhi their home.

For meetings and conventions Delhi’s hotels have facilities, which cater to small intimate meetings to large banqueting facilities. For conventions, the city has Pragati Maidan which hosts many events throughout the year. One example includes the hugely popular Delhi Auto Expo which is held annually and showcases both the latest local and international models. Rolls Royce unveiled its latest model the Ghost at the Expo. Also other international brands have made it point to showcase their brands in Delhi. Harley Davidson announced its India entry in a five-star hotel here and Bentley unveiled its Mulsanne. Thus, it is no surprise to find that many authorised dealers of luxury cars like the Bentley and Lamborghini choose to have their offices here. Also, showrooms showcasing luxury cars and bikes are prevalent in some of Delhi’s more upmarket malls like MGF Mall in South Delhi.

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One Response to “CommonWealth Games: Guide to Delhi”

  1. bhavya saluja says:

    i live in delhi.i am happy that this city is the host city and is going under several changes.i hope other countries like it and the work is completed by time.best of luck.