Delhiwale: Being civil in Civil Lines
The bus stop outside the Civil Lines Metro station is in front of a sturdy white colonnade, home to The Exchange Stores, a departmental store established in 1934.Updated: Jun 03, 2019 15:22 IST
The brief walk from the underground Civil Lines Metro station in North Delhi to hotel Oberoi Maidens offers a beauty distilled out of ordinariness.
The bus stop outside the station is in front of a sturdy white colonnade, home to The Exchange Stores, a departmental store established in 1934. A picturesque staircase built on one side of the building goes up diagonally to the roof. Not many people know, but Connaught Place’s legendary Wenger’s Cake Shop first opened here.
The Brits built Civil Lines in almost every Indian town to house their officers. But on this walk you may have to work hard to find the remains of the Raj. It may be equally challenging to come face-to-face with the disarray that defines contemporary Delhi. Down this track, you confront nothing more dramatic than yellow grass growing out of pavement cracks, or fallen tree leaves and seemingly serene residents of the city popping up occasionally on the path. Living in a city that continually provokes our senses with its horror and beauty, a pavement walk in a tranquil area such as this can take you away from those volatile sensations.
The sights are balmy. On the left, Sri Ram Road, a leafy avenue, leaps away to Ring Road. Further ahead, the entrance to Delhi Police Mess has a winding driveway that winds about in a huge garden.
Across the road is the sprawling Shamnath Apartments, ensconced in privilege.
The pathway is punctuated with shade and sky. Some stretches are claimed by the spreading branches of trees tucked within walled compounds. To stand under their dark-green leaves and watch slow-moving cyclists on the road makes one feel like a discreet voyeur.
Soon, you reach a white boundary wall. It is superimposed by a green hedge. The gold letterings on the gate say: “Maidens Hotel — A heritage hotel since 1903’.
Further ahead is Kashmere Gate bus terminus, that familiar Delhi of chaos and noise. End the walk here.