Photos: For medical tourists and Arab refugees, a second home in South Delhi

In the past five years, Sarita Vihar–Jasola in south Delhi has emerged as a hot spot for those Arabs who visit India for medical treatment. This has spurred the demand for hotels and restaurants offering Arabian food. The growing number of visitors from the Middle East has also given rise to the demand for translators or interpreters— who play a key role in the medical tourism ecosystem in the area. According to an estimate, about 400 translators and interpreters live in nearby Jamia Nagar and Shaheen Bagh.

Updated On Sep 17, 2019 09:44 AM IST 9 Photos
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A view inside the Ya Mal Alsham Syrian Restaurant at Sarita Vihar, in Delhi. The past few years have seen this area turn in to “Delhi’s little Arabian corner,” says Hassan Khan, founder, Shurouq Global Health, one of the area’s many health tourism companies. That’s thanks in large part to medical tourists from the Middle East seeking a semblance of home away from home during extended stays. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

A view inside the Ya Mal Alsham Syrian Restaurant at Sarita Vihar, in Delhi. The past few years have seen this area turn in to “Delhi’s little Arabian corner,” says Hassan Khan, founder, Shurouq Global Health, one of the area’s many health tourism companies. That’s thanks in large part to medical tourists from the Middle East seeking a semblance of home away from home during extended stays. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 17, 2019 09:44 AM IST
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In the nearby Living Style Mall, many establishments — hairdressers, restaurants perfume shops and medical tourism companies have their signboards in Arabic. “There are about 100 hotels, guest houses and apartments here catering to medical tourists. Many people have also listed their apartments with us,” says Khan. From the hotel receptions to drivers to shop attendants, everyone seems to be able to speak a bit of Arabic. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

In the nearby Living Style Mall, many establishments — hairdressers, restaurants perfume shops and medical tourism companies have their signboards in Arabic. “There are about 100 hotels, guest houses and apartments here catering to medical tourists. Many people have also listed their apartments with us,” says Khan. From the hotel receptions to drivers to shop attendants, everyone seems to be able to speak a bit of Arabic. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 17, 2019 09:44 AM IST
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Suraj Kohli, who looks after the front office of a hotel in the area that came up two and a half years back, says, “Eighty per cent of our guests are patients from Gulf countries, and many of them stay from 15 days to 2 months.” Rinto Thomas, marketing manager, at another hotel in Jasola Vihar, which was started three years ago, says, “About 85% of our guests are medical tourists.” (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Suraj Kohli, who looks after the front office of a hotel in the area that came up two and a half years back, says, “Eighty per cent of our guests are patients from Gulf countries, and many of them stay from 15 days to 2 months.” Rinto Thomas, marketing manager, at another hotel in Jasola Vihar, which was started three years ago, says, “About 85% of our guests are medical tourists.” (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 17, 2019 09:44 AM IST
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While most of the patients come for major surgeries, many also avail dental treatment at clinics that have come up in recent years in Jasola-Sarita Vihar. “Dental clinics have emerged as an ancillary service. A majority of my patients are Arabs and they come for implants and surgical procedures,” says Dr Mehnaz, who runs Aliya Dental Care in the Living Style Mall. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

While most of the patients come for major surgeries, many also avail dental treatment at clinics that have come up in recent years in Jasola-Sarita Vihar. “Dental clinics have emerged as an ancillary service. A majority of my patients are Arabs and they come for implants and surgical procedures,” says Dr Mehnaz, who runs Aliya Dental Care in the Living Style Mall. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 17, 2019 09:44 AM IST
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The growing number of visitors from the Middle East has also given rise to the demand for translators or interpreters. “ We escort them everywhere from hospitals to shopping to sightseeing. I directly get business from the Arabian countries,” says Riazuddin (R), an interpreter, at a restaurant called Middle East Cuisine in Jasola. His client, Mohammad Ashoor is from Iraq. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

The growing number of visitors from the Middle East has also given rise to the demand for translators or interpreters. “ We escort them everywhere from hospitals to shopping to sightseeing. I directly get business from the Arabian countries,” says Riazuddin (R), an interpreter, at a restaurant called Middle East Cuisine in Jasola. His client, Mohammad Ashoor is from Iraq. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 17, 2019 09:44 AM IST
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Ashoor is in Delhi for his father’s surgery. “He wanted Arabic food and Jasola-Sarita Vihar is the only place where one can get good and affordable Arabian cuisine,” said Riazuddin. The walls of the eatery are lined with framed pictures of Arab cities, and an Iraqi flag runs across the brick wall. “This was his (the chef’s) way of remembering his own country,” says Idrees Ahmad, a manager at the restaurant. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Ashoor is in Delhi for his father’s surgery. “He wanted Arabic food and Jasola-Sarita Vihar is the only place where one can get good and affordable Arabian cuisine,” said Riazuddin. The walls of the eatery are lined with framed pictures of Arab cities, and an Iraqi flag runs across the brick wall. “This was his (the chef’s) way of remembering his own country,” says Idrees Ahmad, a manager at the restaurant. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 17, 2019 09:44 AM IST
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Familiarity breeds business for the establishments here since the Arabic ambience attracts customers as far as Gurugram. While medical tourists constitute a majority of the Ya Mal Alsham’s patrons, it also attracts Arab diplomats, students, and expats. The founder, Abdullah, a chef, came to India in 2012 as a refugee with his family. The restaurant’s walls have large posters of his restaurant and his house in Damascus. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Familiarity breeds business for the establishments here since the Arabic ambience attracts customers as far as Gurugram. While medical tourists constitute a majority of the Ya Mal Alsham’s patrons, it also attracts Arab diplomats, students, and expats. The founder, Abdullah, a chef, came to India in 2012 as a refugee with his family. The restaurant’s walls have large posters of his restaurant and his house in Damascus. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 17, 2019 09:44 AM IST
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Soft-spoken Abdullah comes to the restaurant at 6 am daily to supervise the cooking and stays up till midnight. “For me, the authenticity of the food is very important. While 70% of my customers are medical tourists, the others are a mix of many nationalities, including a lot of Indians,” he says. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Soft-spoken Abdullah comes to the restaurant at 6 am daily to supervise the cooking and stays up till midnight. “For me, the authenticity of the food is very important. While 70% of my customers are medical tourists, the others are a mix of many nationalities, including a lot of Indians,” he says. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 17, 2019 09:44 AM IST
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Patrons dine at Ya Mal Alsham. Asked what makes his food such a hit, Abdullah says, “Syrian food is standard Arabian food, if cooked right it will be liked anywhere in the world.” Omar, 30, and Maher, 26, Syrian students on a scholarship, seem to concur saying they frequently visit the restaurant. “This place is home for Syrians in Delhi like me, where we bond over food,” says Maher. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Patrons dine at Ya Mal Alsham. Asked what makes his food such a hit, Abdullah says, “Syrian food is standard Arabian food, if cooked right it will be liked anywhere in the world.” Omar, 30, and Maher, 26, Syrian students on a scholarship, seem to concur saying they frequently visit the restaurant. “This place is home for Syrians in Delhi like me, where we bond over food,” says Maher. (Burhaan Kinu / HT Photo)

Updated on Sep 17, 2019 09:44 AM IST
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