Things to do in Connaught Place
Despite the mushrooming of many new shopping centers in Delhi, Connaught Place with its three concentric circles of shops and its immediate environs remains a good place for a shopping expedition. A good place to start is at the Imperial Hotel on Janpath, a mixture of Raj and Riviera architecture, and you might consider fortifying yourself beforehand at the Imperial’s coffee shop, the Garden Party, from where you can gaze out at its lush green lawns and avenue of palm trees. Once outside the hotel gates, the bustle of Janpath hits you with its overflowing stalls and throngs of shoppers.
Shop in Connaught Place, Delhi
On the opposite side of the road in the distinctive Jawahar Vyapar Bhawan is the best one-stop shop in Delhi for Indian handicrafts and hand looms – the Central Cottage Industries Emporium. It is government-run, the prices are fixed and reasonable, and the selection is good. Its six floors have a huge range of goods. On the ground floor you can find carpets, metal work, bronze statues and wood carvings. The second floor has furniture, leather goods, home furnishings and curtain fabrics. Moving up to the next couple of floors there is an excellent selection of fabrics sold by the meter (silks and cottons) and woolen shawls (including ones from Kashmir), there is also a good selection of saris and ready-mades, including shalwar kamiz. At the top of the store you can find jewellery in gold and silver, gem stones and costume jewellery, handmade paper and greetings cards, a few musical instruments and items made from basket work and coir. When you have selected what you want on each floor, take your goods to a desk where you are issued with a receipt which you present to the payment desk on the ground floor. Your purchases will have been packaged up and will be waiting for you there. It is also possible to have items posted back.
Further on, towards Connaught Place the Tibetan Market, a good place to find distinctive Tibetan jewellery, often set with turquoise and coral, prayer scrolls (thankas), beads and other bric – much of it fake curios, but sometimes you can stumble across a genuine piece. Further on, Adivasi women from western India spread out their wares on the pavement – cushion covers of old brocade, exquisite pieces of embroidery mirror work, painted cloth pichwai wall hangings. Be prepared for some energetic bargaining.
From here, turn left on Indira Chowk, past Jeevan Bharati Bhawan, the modernist glass-and-stone landmark designed by the Indian architect Charles Correa. It is the headquarters of the Life Insurance Corporation of India. Just by Jeevan Bharati Bhavan are a series of pavement stalls for cotton clothes; these are mostly export surplus or rejects, in the latest fashion, and it’s worth rummaging here for blouses, skirts, T-shirts and nighties at giveaway prices. Continue on from here to Regal Building on Sansad Marg. This is location of the Gaylord and Kwality Restaurants which can be relied on for honest standard North Indian fare – tandoori chicken and kebabs, and the Kwality’s house specialty, chole bhature (spiced chickpeas with fried bread).
A few doors down is the Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan. Don’t be put off by its dreary air, it is the best place for handspun cotton khadi (ideal for summer), made by Gandhi into a symbol of India’s national aspirations and worn by Indian politicians and others who aspire to political power. Other good buyers here are raw silk. Kashmir woolen fabrics and shawls, leather Kolhapuri sandals, and papads and spices all the produce of Indian villages.
Keep going round Regal Building, past Rivoli Cinema, and cross the street to Baba Kharak Singh Marg: here are the State Government Emporia in a long row, with handlooms and crafts from the different states. Among the best are Gurjari (Gujarat) for ethnic clothes in earthy colours, Utkalika and Lepakshi (Orissa and Andhra) for weaves and kalam-kari textiles, Zoon (Kashmir) for papier mache, embroidered rugs, crewel work fabric, carpets and shawls, Himachal for woollen shawls in traditional weaves, Ambapali (Bihar) for silk and Madhubani traditional painting, Kairali and Cauvery (Kerala and Karnataka) for sandalwood, and the Assam, Manipur and Tripura emporia for basket work and fine reed and bamboo mats and blinds.
If it’s a Tuesday or Saturday, drop in at the Mangal (Tuesday) Bazaar across the street near the Hanuman Temple. It has all the colour and bustle of a village fair, with stalls selling glass and lacquer bangles, toys and small objects of daily use. There are women at the bazaar who will decorate your palm in intricate designs with henna paste (mehndi).
There is also the nearby underground market at Palika Bazaar. This is mostly full of touts and over-priced goods aimed at tourists; probably best avoided.
Must do things in Connaught place – There are a lot of eating options in Connaught Place, Fai Yan, Zen, Chew and Pioneer for Chinese Cuisine .For Indian cuisine – Embassy ,Indian coffee House ,Zafran , Host Dharam Garam and Minar ,For South Indian vegetarian cuisine – Sagar and Saravana Bhawan Besides these restaurants there are tea and coffee shops such as Chaais , Starbucks , Coffee cafe day and Dunkin Donuts .The most popular bars and pubs in Connaught Place area are – Tamasha ,Blues , Niche and 38 Barracks .
Perhaps the most popular eating place in Connaught Place is Nirula’s (L Block), pioneers in McDonalds-style fast food. Their hamburgers, pizzas and ice creams sell faster than hot samosas. Other good places to eat include the Rodeo on A Block — a Tex-Mex with a good bar, Zen on B block for good Chinese and a few Japanese specialities, and down Kasturba Gandhi Marg, the Parikrama revolving restaurant which serves good North Indian dishes.
A pleasant place to round off your shopping expedition is the Coconut Grove in the Hotel Indraprastha at the bottom end of Janpath, on Ashok Road — one of the few restaurants in Delhi that specialists in Kerala and Andhra cuisine. Among the good dishes is the mild coconut flavored stew, avail, eaten with appams, a type of rice-flour pancake.
There are all categories of hotels in Connaught Place , The most popular ones are : Imperial , Meridien , Shangrila , Lalit , Ramada and the Park . For discounted hotel rates of these hotels ,Contact Swan Tours – One of the leading travel agents in Connaught Place ,New Delhi. For Delhi sightseeing click Delhi Sightseeing Tour by Car