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Gateway to history

Exploring the nooks and corners of old Delhi’s Kashmere Gate through the Metro’s Yellow line is easier now; Rajiv Chowk to Kashmere Gate is not more than 15 mins.

entertainment Updated: Jan 07, 2011 01:43 IST
Vaishali Bhambri

If you think that old Delhi’s charm is all about Chandni Chowk, then you have definitely missed the hub that is Kashmere Gate. This week, I travelled in the Metro from Rajiv Chowk to Kashmere Gate Metro Station. In 15 minutes, I was tranported from the chic Central Delhi to the old parts of the city. The two-tier station at Kashmere Gate is one of the largest metro stations in the city. The ground level resembles a little mall area with food joints, gift shops, cell phone kiosks and a bookstore. The bread pakora, priced at Rs.15, at the station’s Café Buddy was too greasy. Odyssey, a gift store, had some trendy jute bags ranging between Rs.150-300, apart from books and DVDs.

On the upper floor of the station that connects Kashmere Gate to Shahdara on east and Rithala on west, there’s a kiosk stocked with Ayurvedic medicines. The station’s most exciting part is at Gate 1, where you find two fast-food joints. Fast Trax, a burger joint, had a dummy metro, coach in which college-goers were dating over burgers.

Around 50 steps from the station is the historical gateway that gives the neighbourhood its name — Kashmere Gate. Further ahead was the magnificent St. James Church that dates back to the 1800s. On the right is the main market, which has lines of automobile accessory shops and few shops selling arms and ammunition. Right across the road were two eateries — Makkhan Laal and Makkhan Lal Tikka Ram. I went to the latter, which had started business in 1928. The chhole bhature (Rs.24) was delicious and not very oily. The doodh jalebi (Rs.38) was just perfect — steaming hot and not very sweet. For most Delhiites, Kashmere Gate is not just about the gateway, but also the giant Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT), which is a world of its own. Exit from Gate 7 of the Metro station to get there. If you can ignore the poor hygiene of the the dhaba right outside the ISBT, try the dal makhani and naan.

Another popular hotspot around Kashmere Gate is the Tibetan market, where you can buy fakes of Levis, Polo and many such brands. Popularly known as ‘monastery market’ (not to be confused with Majnu ka Teela), this market is just a 10-minute walk from the bus terminus. If you bargain well, that Polo Sport sweatshirt can be yours for just Rs.300.

While walking back from the market, I turned towards the innocuous-looking entrance of the Nicholson’s cemetery. Most graves in the cemetery dates back to the 1857 Mutiny and has now turned mossy green. A headless statue over a grave gave me jitters. It was nice to be back to the din of Kashmere Gate Metro Station.

Heard in the metro
I want to throw a very very very small party!
Delhi is very unsafe for women after 6pm.
Udhar jao, varna fine ho jaega.
Yaar
organic chem ki toh vaat lag gayi.
Why the hell is it so cold?
I really like what you are wearing!

Reading in the Metro
Two States: A contemporary love story, where parents play the spoilsports. Written by Chetan Bhagat, it is a hit with college-goers.
Emma: The Bollywood flick Aisha, made this classic novel very popular. The movie is loosely based on Emma.

Music in the Metro
Waka Waka (Shakira)
Aiwayin Aiwayin lutt gaya (Band Baaja Barat)
I had the time of my life (Dirty Dancing)
Yamla Pagla Deewana (Yamla Pagla Deewana)

Metro diary
Ladies’ day out: Recently, my friend and I were travelling back to our PG hostel by the Metro. We were very hungry and got down down at Kashmere Gate Metro station to have a paneer kathi roll at Astoria Café, located at the station’s first level. At Rs.40, the roll was yummy and filling too. We spent a good half-an-hour there, soon to realise that we were getting late for our hostel and rushed to board the metro. Thank god, we made it to the hostel on time!
-Anukriti Saha, a Metro commuter

Metro Destinations
Kashmere Gate, one of the 14 remaining gateways of Delhi; the famous Makkhanlal and Tikaram shop that sells doodh jalebi.

Metro elsewhere
Dubai metro:
It is a driver-less, fully-automated metro network
The red line is operational; the green and other lines are under construction
A virtual simulation model (a game) of the Dubai Metro is also being built