Ghantewala and beyond: Iconic landmarks of Delhi that are no more

Paranthe wali gali in Delhi's Chandni Chowk will never be the same again. Why, in some ways, even Delhi would have changed. When the iconic Ghantewala (Sohan Halwa Shop) in the city's old delhi area decided to shut shop earlier this week, it was not just about the fount of pure desi ghee sweets going dry!
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The iconic shop also took away with it more the 250 years of nostalgia and history: Started in 1790, it has been a mute witness to the way our capital city changed (for good or worse, we don't know).

But this chain starterd by Lala Sukh Ram from Ajmer in Rajasthan is only an addition to the list of delhi's iconic landmarks that have fallen by the way in the face of rapid urbanisation.

Take a look at our short list of five places that had generations of nostalgia and memories attached and sadly, have shut down now.

1. Appu Ghar
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India's first amusement park has to top the list. Appu Ghar was not only The place you took your kids to, it was also fun ride for college kids. Spread over 15.5 acres of land in Pragati Maidan, Appu Ghar was set up in 1984 to commemorate the 1982 Asian Games. A visit to the park, even in late 90s was the most fun thing to do for kids and young adults. Snow skiing, sleddng, ice boating and visiting a water park in Delhi's hot summers was just awesome. In fact, a friend's first date (in college) was at this very amusement park!
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Appu Ghar was shut down in 2008 after the Supreme Court ordered International Amusement Limited  (IAL, the company that owned Appu Ghar) to handover the land to Government of India.

2. Tom Uncle maggi
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Situated outside Khalsa college (mention the place here) , Tom Uncle’s Maggi was the favourite stopover for everyone who got up too late to catch the hostel breakfast. Even early risers (like 1% in the entire under-grad population in north campus) vouch for the place and why not? You got a plate of Maggi for Rs 25 and with more than a dozen varieties, it was a great relief from the hostel/tiffin food. The eatery even has a Facebook page. Few months after Tom Uncle's closed down (when did it close down??), it reopened near  Ramjas college, but it's not the same experience anymore. It just ain't.

3. Chanakya
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Development destroys so many memories: Chanakya ciinemas was closed down in 2009 when DLF rebuilt the whole place into a multiplex. But, a multiplex is a diferent world. Chanakya (first show was way back in 1970, Raj Kapoor's Mera Naam Joker) was the movie place to go for much before multiplexes and PVRs took over the capital city. For old timers, this was the place that introduced Delhi to Hollywood and arthouse films in the 80s (the likes of Akira Kurosawa and Stanley Kubrick's works first premiered at Chanakya). I was in college when someone gifted tickets for Rang De Basanti and was that a gift! Chanakya was expensive (not for me, I got it for free) but no other experience can match this one.  Taare Zameen Par was the last film Chanakya screened before it was brought down.

4. Shakuntalam
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Probably, Raajneeti was the last film we saw at Shakuntalam, a now closed theatre in the centre of the massive Pragati Maidan. It eventually bowed down to the rising cost of film presentation, but prior to that it was one great place to watch a film in less than 40 bucks. And, you don’t even need to pay that if you’re friend’s father is the manager of the hall.
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5. Volga
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When the iconic inner circle bar-cum-restaurant in Connaught Place closed, it was end of an era for generations who have had their first taste of tipple there. From those enjoying a happy hour to those stealing few romantic date to those in need of a quick bite, it was a go-to destination for all. One of the oldest in Delhi, it closed in 2010.

Did we miss your favourite hangout? Share your your places and experiences in the comment box below.

 

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