As the name suggests, the Hauz Khas Village is a remnant of an old town from the Khalji Dynasty. In Farsi, ‘Hauz’ refers to a water reservoir, and ‘Khas’ means royal. It was a reservoir which was built under the emperor Alauddin Khilji in the 13th century. The network of astounding cenotaphs and the seminary around the reservoir later became the centre for scholars and students of Islamic education. In the 1960s, the area has developed, adding an array of beautiful gardens with walkways, while still preserving the time-honoured beauty of those buildings. Even though the reservoir has shrunken from its original grandioseness, and appears more like a lake, the beautiful waterscape and the greenery of the ornamental trees make this place a perfect serene retreat in chaotic Delhi.
The water reservoir or the lake is surrounded by beautiful cenotaphs, a madrasa (an islamic school), a tomb, and a mosque from the Khalji dynasty. All of the structures date back to the 13th century, to the time when the city was called "Siri", and served as the most important cultural centre of the dynasty after the siege of Baghdad. The bumpy walk on the stone and stairs of the old remains can be extended into an adventurous exploration of the region around. The enchanting deer park surrounds the ancient complex. It includes a lot of sections, such as a mesmerising rose garden, and a large enclosure, right next to the lake, where the deers roam around freely. This place is ideal for strolling around in the soothing nature and getting away from the bustle of the mega-metropolitan, ironically right in the heart of it! All of the sections are interconnected, so the walk can be extended as per one's desires, making it a perfect retreat.
The Hauz Khas Village is not just the preserved timeless beauty of the old buildings and lake. In the vicinity of the serene structure is the pedestrianised neighbourhood which is unlike any other part of Delhi. A gentrified marketplace surrounds the complex with independent art galleries, multi-cuisine restaurants, designer boutiques, and some of the most spiffy bars and clubs Delhi has to offer. It is a perfect spot for hanging out in bars and cafes during hot summer days and then retreating to the lake in the evening. The neighbourhood also appeases the shoppers with some niche jewellery shops, book and antique stores, and boutiques, that are so specific to the place that it's often referred to as the "The National Capital of Ethnic Chic". The alternative art and music scene is quite strong, too. The place offers night-clubs which have the most varied music and parties - from mainstream Bollywood music to eccentric psychedelic trance. All this diversity makes Hauz Khas village a must visit for everyone who is in Delhi, whether you are looking for parties or multi-cuisine restaurants, chilling on rooftop bars or exploring unique boutiques, or to bask in the history and relish a serene retreat in the heart of the city.
Cover Picture © Credits to iStock/Amanda Goodrick
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