Auto rickshaws are not allowed to enter this culturally charged, spirited urban village in New Delhi. HKV, as it’s popularly known, is a sea of hipsters and social butterflies fluttering around at all hours of the day. Even before Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone made the Hauz Khas Village Social popular in Tamasha, the place hardly ever had room for an ant to crawl. More than 60-70 restaurants and bars have crammed up one after another, and it’s every party planner’s hub in the capital. However, amidst all the beer chugging and rounds of hookah, we discovered some gems that go beyond drinking.
Here’s a guide to the lesser-known gems of HKV that you can explore before hitting your favourite pub.
Delhi Art Gallery
One of the foremost contemporary art galleries of the country, DAG champions the cause of promoting Indian artists of the 20th century. The art space also owns a rather humongous collection of modern Indian pieces. Over the years, the gallery has showcased works by exponents of art, including SH Raza and MF Husain. Head to the three-storied gallery to absorb some calm and high culture.
Kunzum Travel Café
Enjoy a cup of coffee with a fellow traveller, exchange travel stories and browse through travelogues at the in-house library. Traveller-writer Ajay Jain’s brainchild is a cocoon of peace in the otherwise loud lane of watering holes. The best part of the café is that you do not need to necessarily buy anything to spend some hours here. Also, there’s free Wi-Fi !
The LetterNote Store
This tiny hole-in-the-wall store is certainly a stationery lover’s heaven on earth. The store houses a well-curated collection of posters, diaries, paper weights, postcards, etc. While it may be slightly overpriced, trust us, it definitely is more filling than the exorbitant meals you’ll devour next door.
Hauz Khas Fort
More often than not, visitors miss out on the oldest attraction of this place – the Hauz Khas Fort – built by Alauddin Khilji in 1284. In its heyday, the fort also housed the tomb of Firoz Shah Tughlaq. While only ruins of the monument stand tall today, the intricate engravings and the near-decrepit pillars are still breathtakingly picturesque. Spending an afternoon in the quiet of the fort seems like a good idea on any given day.
Just walking around
There’s graffiti of a crow I had spotted two years back in a lane close to HKV Social that’s still there. It was a good feeling to discover something that stood the test of time in the ever-changing landscape of Hauz Khas Village. You don’t always have to enter HKV with a mission to end up pitch-drunk. Instead, carry your camera, take it easy, and walk around – you’re very likely to spot some colourful walls, funny quotes, deep poetry to photograph. It’s a photographer’s heaven, to say the least.