Happy hour on a terrace in the hip Hauz Khas district of South Delhi.
The waiter brings over some Indian white wine, along with a bowlful of mini-samosas. The view out is of a lush green park with a lake, beneath a delicate pink sky. Music burbles in the background, and the street cacophony of car horns can hardly be discerned. But yes: Delhi is loud, chaotic and hot. Twenty million people can’t just live their lives quietly away. At the same time, though, India’s capital has an elegant and cultured side. And it certainly deserves to be more than a quick stopover en route to Rajasthan or up to the Himalayas. As the capital of the world’s biggest democracy and the former power base of both the Mughal emperors and later the British Raj, Delhi is a city that has often had to invent itself anew. Today it is the fashion, music and art scene that attracts local creatives and zeitgeist-minded travellers alike. “Capital of Coolness” ran a recent headline in “The Times of India”. And it wasn’t just referring to the city’s agreeable winter climes.
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