While it is a known fact that Delhi owes much of its cultural glory and grandeur to the Mughals, not many know much about Mughal Architecture. In fact, one out of every four people residing in Delhi  hasn't even visited any of these architectural marvels.

The arrival of the Mughals was a turning point in Indian history, more so in its architecture. Greatly influenced by the Persian styles, all the early Mughal rulers constructed excellent mausoleums, mosques, forts, gardens and cities. The Mughal buildings show a uniform pattern both in structure and character. The main characteristic features of Mughal architecture are its bulbous domes, slender minarets with cupolas at four corners, large halls, lattice work, massive vaulted gateways and delicate ornamentation.

The beginning of the Mughal era under Babar, followed by  Humayun doesn't have much architectural significance for Delhi. Akbar on the other hand, was spiritually inclined and with him began a flourishing era of Mughal architecture. His son Jahangir, an aesthete contributed to this era with many tombs built in the glory of nobility who had been at court since his father’s times. The chief amongst his works was refurbishing and restoring the tomb of the venerated Sheikh Nizamuddin Auliya. 

Shah Jahan needs no introduction to the architectural world. While his masterpiece Taj Mahal is located in Agra, his magic touched Delhi also in form of the city of Shahjahanabad, built along the banks of the Yamuna in Delhi. Architecture of Delhi during his era was done at a very idyllic pace, as if the entire city was in love with the process of building itself. His son, Auranzeb on the other hand,  proved to be a disappointment in the annals of Mughal architecture. Busy dealing with political strife, whatever little he contributed was within the walled city of Shahjahanabad itself. Gradually, as the Mughal Dynasty declined and the British rose to power, the rulers to seemed to have less and less resources in their hand to devote much to architecture.

Mention must however; be made of the women in the Mughal Empire who despite being behind the purdah, yielded immense wealth and power to contribute radiant architectural wonders. The first amongst them is Haji Begum, wife of Mughal emperor Humayun who built the Humayun’s tomb. Again, Nur Jahan was known as a great patron of architecture and built many beautiful palaces, gardens and mosques. Jahangir’s daughter Princess Jahanara participated in major architectural projects in the new Mughal capital, Shahjahanabad. She was the patron of at least five important buildings there. The pulse of Shahjahanabad - the bazaar of Chandni Chowk (“moonlight square”) - was designed by Jahanara.

While it might not be possible for everyone to devote time to each and every architectural marvel of the Mughal era, the best of it can’t be resisted. Here’s a list of ten Delhi Mughal monuments you have to  make time for.
Humayun’s Tomb
Right up on this list is Humayun’s Tomb, built as mentioned before by Haji Begum in memory of her loving husband, Humayun. Listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, it is the first garden tomb to be built in the Indian subcontinent. This original masterpiece made in red sandstone is known to be the inspiration for Taj Mahal. Ironically, neither this monument nor the love story associated with it is not as popular as the one it inspired.  

Red Fort
If you are history junkie, there’s no way you can miss out on this one. Though not as well maintained as the Agra Fort, this fortified palace built by Shah Jahan brings alive the stateliness of the Mughal court. Diwani - i - Aam and Diwani - i - Khas, Rang Mahal, Khas Mahal, Hamam, Delhi Gate, Lahori Gate, Moti Masjid, Naubat Khana, Hira Mahal, Shahi Burj are some of its memorable structures. It combines the architecture of Islamic era with that of Persian, Timurid and Hindu design. Spend some time here imagining that you are a Mughal royalty.

Purana Quila
Built on the site of the most ancient of Delhi’s city Indraprastha, the Purana Quila as the name suggests stands stoically against the vagaries of time and nature. This can be an ideal place to spend a winter afternoon, basking in the sun and figuring the three huge gateways out. Once you are done with admiring Humayun’s ambitious plan for his city Dinpannah, there’s also a moat surrounding the fort for boating. 

Jama Masjid
With a courtyard capable of holding 25000 devotees and innumerable pigeons, this ancient masjid brings you one step closer to divinity. Commissioned by Shah Jahan, the mosque was a result of the hard work of about 6000 workers, over a period of 6 years. Visit the place with your socks on, as the red sandstone flooring of the mosque can be very hot to your bare feet.

Safdarjung Tomb
The last flicker of the Mughal architecture can be seen in this monumental tomb garden. This enclosed tomb was built in the memory of Safdarjung, the minister of Avadh during the reign of Muhammad Shah. While it bears resemblance to the Humayun’s Tomb, it is of a much lesser stature. Some interesting structures of this monument are Jangli Mahal, Badshah Pasand, Moti Mahal, etc.

Chandni Chowk
Chandni Chowk or the moonlight market was commissioned by Shah Jahan and designed by princess Jahanara. Originally criss crossed by canals, this densely populated area still remains one of India’s largest wholesale markets. Visit this place to check out the old havelis of Ghalib, Begum Samru and Chunnamal. Binge at places running since Mughal era like Ghantewala Halwai and shop anything and everything.

Zafar Mahal
The last monument constructed by the Mughals is the Zafar Mahal. Situated in the heart of Mehrauli, to the western gate of the dargah of Khawaja Bakhtiyar Kaki, this Mahal was named by Emperor Akbar II after his son Bahadur Shah Zafar. Much of this summer palace is today in ruins. However, one can still see glimpses of the gone era in its white marble Moti Majid.

Fatehpuri Masjid
A 17th century mosque built by Fatehpuri Begum, one of Shah Jahan’s wives this mosque is located in  Chandni Chowk. Built with red sandstone, the mosque has a prayer hall and a fluted dome on top. It is flanked by both single and double storeyed apartments.

Tomb of Atgah Khan
This quaint little tomb was built for a noble man in Akbar’s court, who was murdered by a rival. Located in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti, this 16th century monument remains a secret to many. Sadly, not much has been done to maintain its beauty. Visit it before its gone.

Khan – i – Khana’s Tomb
Abdul Rahim Khan - i - Khana, was the son of Bairam Khan and one of Navratnas of Akbar’s courts. Situated in Nizamuddin, this tomb was meant for his wife but eventually he himself was buried here. A paved lane lined by trees leads to this weathered tomb highlighted by a dome and chattris. Ironically, the marble used for this monument was stripped of the Safdarjung tomb later on. 


This has to be documented. Delhi summers have made me partially demented. Take a look at the events of the past few days.

Night One.

I am unable to sleep even after showering three times in the evening. My flat being a corner flat kept locked up throughout the sweltering hot day is like a furnace at night. Unfortunately, I can’t afford an AC either. It doesn’t matter that I spend all my money on shopping and eating, this is the only thing I am going to be miser about and suffer in pain.

Somehow late at night, I fall asleep with my Symphony Cooler so close to me that had I been wearing a wig it would have flown away. Sometime in the middle of the night, I wake up feeling extremely hot. The room is humid and heavy with the cooler’s constant thud thud.

In my sleep induced state, I imagine that the water in my cooler has finished. It lasts precisely for 3hrs in Delhi heat. Perhaps that’s the reason why the copywriter christened it Junior Jumbo, ‘Jumbo’ being the addition made by the client. I sleep walk to the bathroom and fix the pipe to the cooler. Opening the tap, I go outside to the balcony for some fresh air.

Not finding any respite there either, I turn back only to be greeted by a sound heard when water pouring from the tap hits the floor. I frantically search for the source of the sound and discover that my cooler has been designed with a hole to drain out the excess water automatically in case of an overflow. By the time I figure this out, my bedroom floor is a pool of water and my slippers and laptop cord is floating in that pool of water. Quickly, I throw the laptop cord on my bed and start disaster management.

After staring at the hole for quite some time, I decide to stick my finger into it. Luckily it works, and the water stops pouring out. I vaguely remember the Dutch story of Hans Brinker that I had read as a child and find great similarity in our situations. The only difference being that while he was rescued, nobody was coming to my rescue.

Few minutes pass. While still standing in a pool of water, and not too sure whether I was dreaming or not; I look around myself for divine inspiration. I see my bucket lying near the door. For once I am happy that I keep my buckets in the living room not inside the bathroom. But here too things cannot be simple, the bucket has to be out of my reach. Now I am calculating whether it would be wise to pull my finger out of the hole and let my room submerge in some more water or come up with some other plan.

Operation ‘other plan’ begins. I twist and turn my body, till I am almost lying on the floor, while my finger is still stuck in the hole. I try to widen my legs and push the bucket towards me. I can hear my mom saying in my subconscious mind ‘Keep your feet together. Sit properly’. Instead of the pulling the bucket towards me, I push it further away from me and fall almost flat on my face. Wide awake now, I resume once again. This time, I am able to stick my toe under the bucket’s handle.

With a sigh of relief I pass the bucket from my toe to my other hand and finally place it under the ‘overflow’ hole. Like a weirdo, I watch the excess water empty into the bucket, not daring to move an inch away, lest some new adventure begins in my absence. By 3 am it’s all done. There is still a lot of water on the floor. I tell myself it will all dry up by itself and proceed to crash once again thinking something about the concept of evaporation.

... to be contd.


You bump into them in the virtual world every other day. They might annoy you, they might pester you or they might entertain you. Read further to see how many of them you know personally. And to find out if you are one of them.
Their profile picture would probably be a selfie or a shot taken in front of the mirror wearing the skimpiest of clothes and a pout. They are here to make ‘frans’ preferably of the opposite sex and spend their free time sending friend requests to strangers. Most of them in reality, perhaps, wouldn’t dare to step out of their rooms in those clothes but online they are someone else. 

These fools have a deep love for gross photographs of strange diseases. They truly believe liking a page can save someone. And with good intention plead with you to like the same, send you invites to join the most extraordinary causes from saving crows to cleaning roads! What they actually need is to be told that to make a difference they need to first get up from that comfortable chair of theirs. 

If you look at their friend list, you will have a mini-heart attack. They have a fan following as big as the Schinderler’s list. They consider themselves to be the center of the world and don’t let go of any opportunity to flaunt their narcissism. They’ll bombard your homepage with pictures of themselves bathing, hallucinating, sleeping, crying, and the list simply goes on. 

They can only talk in puns, without them they are mum. Every comment of theirs, every link they share, every tag, every status needs to be witty. Else they get constipation.

These fellows might not have read a single play written by Shakespeare but will quote him every other day. For them a status is equivalent to a quote. Rumi, Einstein, Osho, Neruda, and Eliot no one is spared from their quoting spree. 

They are like the silent observers of the social networking world. They lie dormant for months at a stretch making you to forget them completely. And then suddenly they give you the creeps by commenting on your oldest possible photo.

The poor souls don’t believe in letting a like go waste. They practice what they preach and begin by liking their own status and photos! For them random statements about the weather, everyday laments, falling ill and even a person’s demise is like-worthy. They follow it up by pinging and pestering you to like their cousin’s daughter’s baby’s photo. And lord save you from their wrath if you fail to like them. 


This festival has permanently damaged my sanity and erased all the good memories I had of it. When I was a child, Holi always meant playing with friends and family. But as I grew up things seemed to change drastically.

I am sure many girls will agree with me that Holi is a not-so-nice festival. This is not to discourage you from playing Holi but to steer clear of some morons. Here is a list of people I am definitely not playing Holi with along with my fundas to deal with them.

#1. You see me walking down the same road everyday. We might have smiled at each other someday. But please bhaiya for you, holi nahi hai.

#2. You are half my height and very excited about your new pichkari. You are a kid so no one’s going to say anything. Sure I will not say anything, I will just squeeze your ear so hard you will forget that you had an ear in the first place.

#3. You were an acrobat in your past life and therefore, suffer from an acrobatic hangover. You will twist and turn your body till you get to hit me inside the auto or cycle rickshaw. Well let me tell you one thing, now that you have ruined more than my clothes and mood, I will happily go ahead and spoil your day,week or even month.

#4. You feel I don’t understand Hindi, so I am a wall where you can throw anything and keep smirking. Wait till you hear the profanities I can scream in Hindi.

#5. You have locked up your kid inside your house and feel your duty is over. Just one word, if that monster of yours dares to throw a balloon at me from the balcony, I won’t feel too bad to lock it behind the bars.

#6. You have grown up but haven’t really grown up. You hide in your balcony and throw balloons at passerbys. I see who you are creep! And I might just start playing Holi with you with my favourite pepperspray.

#7. You want to dry up the entire Brahmaputura in the course of a week, go ahead. But I refuse to take bath just to satisfy your whims each time I get dressed to go somewhere. Why don’t you take a bath yourself? You seem to need it anyways dirty mind!

#8. You pretend you are high and you have the license to grope anyone who comes your way. Then please continue to be high, for I think I know where I am going to hit you hard.



When you have a name like Ahuja No.1, do we need to say more? This dhaba can easily be spotted on your left when you reach Murthal, on Delhi Karnal Highway. The journey itself, could prove to be one of the fun ways to spend a day if you want to go for a long drive and end it with some good food.

The moment you enter Murthal, a number of Dhaba’s welcome you. There’s Gulshan’s Dhaba, Pehelwan’s Dhaba, Jhilmil, Sukhdev apart from the one I am talking about here. We chose Ahuja No.1 because the crowd seemed better here. They have a separate sitting area for the families too.

Had it been located in Delhi, Ahuja No. 1’s paranthes would definitely given the Paranthe Wali Gali a run for its money. Firstly, because unlike the paranthas served at Paranthe Wali Gali none of the paranthas are deep fried. They are all made in the tandoor.

There is a whole list of paranthas to choose from, some of which are listed below –
Aloo Parantha – The classic mashed potato stuffed parantha sprinkled with red chilli powder.
Aloo Piyaaj Parantha – Same as above except that you will bite into crunchy pieces of onion every now and then.
Pudina Parantha – This is a type of lachha parantha peppered with mint. It looks quite different from the other parathas and is best savoured when hot.
Gobi Parantha – Cauliflower chopped into tiny bits and stuffed inside a usual parantha. Tastes quite nice and different.
Mooli Parantha – This is the only form in which I find radishes tolerable and quite tasty actually.

All the paranthas are served with panchranga pickle, sirce wala pyaaj, and huge dollops of white cow butter which is amazingly yum. Team it with Dal Fry or Dal Makhani and your day is made. Curd could also be a god option.

It is best not to think of calories that day. Have your fill and then head out for a stroll in the nearby fields. You can always hit the gym later.

Quite funnily these dhabas have started serving noodles and burgers too. I just hope people stop demanding noodles at such places and let authentic food survive.


Among other things, people do have the strangest of questions on their mind when it comes to food from north east (of India, just in case you got confused with the north east of China, Africa or the antipodes). In fact, I have often replied the polite enquiries of my colleagues of what I was cooking for dinner with a cold glare. I was bored of explaining time and again that Assamese food also  consisted of dal chawal, arguably the most common Indian meal.

But when I pondered over this topic deeper, I realised this lack of information was actually a lack of the availability of the food itself in other parts of the country. Rosang Café is an exception in this regard. For all those who have no clue what food from north east is like, do head to Rosang Cafe. Located near Upahar Cinema in Green Park, it brings the finest food of the seven north eastern states.

Jokes apart, despite being an Assamese, I myself have limited knowledge about the north eastern cuisines. I am desperately trying to rectify this problem by visiting Rosang frequently. While I would highly recommend the place to everyone, here are a few things to keep in mind before trying out food from north east.

#1. North eastern food is light on your taste buds and tummy. Not excited? Then try the piping hot dry fish chutney!

#2. Some of the dishes may have strong aromas, often not so pleasant if you aren't used to it. Come prepared.

#3. All the dishes are extremely healthy. Do tell your trainer about it.

#4. It’s not only about noodles and momos. What were you expecting a chocolate momo or a paneer one?

#5. Do not expect it to be spicy and oily. But count on it to be flavoursome.

#6. For God's sake don't come and ask for a roti or naan. Didn't you know the best thing on earth is rice?

#7. You think it will be like Chinese and Thai. You couldn't be more wrong. The spices, herbs and process of preparing the dishes are all different.

#8. Vegetarians are welcome too. We don’t sit at the slaughterhouse 24 x 7.

#9. The curries won’t look red; turmeric is not a favourite here. Did you say you already knew it?

#10. Taste a new vegetable like kol posola (banana stem). You’ll soon realise vegetables go beyond cauliflowers and peas.

While trying food from north east, please do remember that they are seven states not one. This is another problem I want to deal with it. But let’s just stick to the food here. Being neighbouring states the cuisines of the north eastern states do have similarities, however, they are as varied as the seven states and the people living in them are. Thankfully, Rosang Café picks some of the best dishes from the seven states.

Go with an open mind. Do try the spicy Dry Fish Chutney, Aksa Meh a delicious chicken curry, Fried Fish in Burmese paste and Dohneiihong, a Meghalayan pork dish cooked in black seasame seeds. Yes, the names are difficult. But admit it they can’t be more difficult than that of the Thai, Mexican or French dishes.

Enjoy the hospitality of the super friendly owner, Mary. And hopefully you’ll get to understand that part of the country slightly better.

P.S. These pictures have been taken on a mobile phone by a not so great photographer. The food actually looks much better than this.


Gwalior is often considered the poor cousin when compared to the likes of Shimla, Manali, Nainital. At times, it is not even in the consideration set. But if you dig forts, palaces and ancient love stories, Gwalior should be high on your priority list. More so, if you are running out of weekend getaway ideas.

Last month, I spent a weekend at Gwalior. Needless to say, a weekend is not sufficient for a place like Gwalior. Me and my friend were dead tired and there was still so much left to see. On the contrary, if you are up for a stamina crunching trip, even a weekend might suffice.

Here is a quick snippet on what to expect on a Gwalior trip.


Gwalior doesn't have many hotels; at least my internet search at the time didn't say so. However, it has a few budget hotels like Hotel Landmark, Hotel Grace and a few two star hotels. On the other hand, if you don’t mind spending some money don’t look beyond Deo Bagh, a Neemrana Hotel. It’s an idyllic setting to relax and to some extent a destination in itself.

Originally a summer palace of the ruling dynasty, this hotel has a range of rooms each overlooking a lush green lawn and two quaint 17th century temples on the horizon. All the rooms have been named after the royal family members like Jayaji Villas, Aruna Villas, Rohini Raja Mahal, Dhruv Villas etc. Read more about them here http://deobagh.neemranahotels.com/. Ironically, not a single auto wallah at the railway station knew anything about the hotel.


If you are a sightseeing kind of person, there is a plenty waiting for you. Keep a day aside for supposedly the largest of its kind - Gwalior Fort, the outer boundary of which stretches as far as 3.5 km. Also come prepared for a long trek, as the autos are not allowed to enter the fort premises. 

Inside the fort are Gujari Mahal, an Archeological Musuem, Man Mandir Palace, Saas Bahu Temple, Teli ka Mandir, Jahangiri Mahal, Karan Mahal, Shahjahan Mahal, Jauhar Kund, Suraj Kund, a Gurudwara, a chapel and even more.

If you have to choose between the monuments due to paucity of time, then settle down for the Man Mandir Palace and the Saas Bahu Temple. Both of them are exquisite to look at and the best that the fort has to offer in terms of architecture.

Just like the history of the city, Gwalior architecture is an interesting mix of mughal, deccan and hindu designs. You will be able to see glimpses of this everywhere you go.

The other two must visit places in the city are the Jai Vilas, erstwhile palace of the Scindihias and Tansen Ka Maqbara. While the former is standing there in all its glory, the Tansen’s tomb could have been better maintained. The fact that the entry to the Maqbara is free and also that it is in a bustling market area has transformed the place. At best it is comparable to a local park where people feel free to come and sleep. Despite the indifference of the government, Tansen’s resting place manages to give its visitors what they come seeking – peace. In fact, both I and my friend were anxious about spending so less time at such a beautiful place. Given a choice, we would have happily spent the entire day dreaming there.

On the other hand, the pristine white Jai Vilas that has often been shown as the home of heroes and heroines in films of the 80’s has now been turned into a museum. The rooms of the palace are still laid out as they were used once upon a time, each of them with a unique colour scheme and a magnificent story to tell. Some parts of the palace continue to be used by the royal family even today.

Do give the Kala Vittika and the Light and Sound Show a miss. The Kala Vittika has absolutely nothing inside and the Light and Sound Show is way too outdated with almost no lighting and graphics. In fact, those who have seen the one at Delhi Old Fort will not even call it a Light and Sound Show.


Sorry to say food lovers, there is not much to eat here. The food at the Deo Bagh was average, and beyond that we couldn't find anything. There are few dhabas lined up near the railway station that dish up spicy stuff. But they can hardly be called sumptuous. Also it will be best to stick to vegetarian food, as majority of the people at Gwalior seem to be vegetarian.


Gwalior is full of interesting stories. The fort itself was built by Raja Surya Sen when sage Gwalipa cured him of leprosy. Again Raja Man Singh fell in love with a tribal girl named Gurjari whom he named Mrignayani. It is said that Mrignayani’s love for her husband was such that even Emperor Akbar couldn't do anything. After conquering the Gwalior Fort, when he took her to his Agra harem she continued to love her husband even after many days and refused to comply. Seeing her dedication for her love, the emperor reunited her with Raja Man Singh.

So, the next time someone says there is not much to see or do you know what your answer should be.