Located shortly before reaching the haunted Jamali-Kamali, a world swimming at a crossroads of history and culture. How else would you describe a place, which on one side contains trinkets from history, an aura of the nearby supernatural, and on the other the modern wonder called the Delhi Metro, along with an amalgam of beliefs? Boys and girls, and all of you, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Mehrauli.

A multitude of roads and streets seemed to unfold in all directions, inviting one to their lair, “Come, come, come, darling!” (add a teeheehee there). No, really, it may be a bit of Hansel & Gretel. Somewhat a hike from the Qutub Minar at one end to the Mehrauli Bus Ud-dah and a short walk from Chhatarpur subway station at the other (Andhera Mor entrance). These are the commonly known entry points. There are several more, leaving neighborhoods out of sight and reaching the heart of Mehrauli.

Streets aside, why visit if cartography is not your thing? Maybe history, huh huh? From the Andheria Mor entrance and a short walk away, there is its Hauz-I-Shamshi or the Shamsi Talab, as the locals call it. A warehouse built during the slave dynasty still attracts attention. If you can hear it, you have a tearful whisper of thoughts to share. Or perhaps the Jahaz Mahal, where “if” you plan your vacation schedule well, you might even end up enjoying the annual 3-day cultural festival called Phoolwaalon ki Sair (September). Wow, out of nowhere, that reminded me of the song “Sealed with a Kiss.”

What if you have a different vacation schedule? No problem, there is always a street food sample, which will often catch your eye from either side of the street. Kebabs, niharis, tikkas and their culinary type. Everything remains the same if you get stuck in traffic there. Be sure to pick up some of the reddish-brown silver chhabeela or ratanjyot as you walk. If you have some meat to melt, only half a handful is guaranteed to be strong enough.

As well as delighting in the delicious Muslim cuisine on offer, you can also indulge in a bargain. Tell me a dozen, people. There are wood carvings, quite rare and can cost a fortune elsewhere in Delhi. But, if you feel like you have great negotiating acumen, Mehrauli is the place for you. Walking forward, you may find relics from your grandfather or great-grandmother’s time. Charcoal plates, and not only regular size, also Lilliputian to decorate your shop window at home. Hand mowers and many other oddities, hey! What happens if you run out of cash? Somehow, somehow, you have a debit card (any problem from an Indian bank). ATMs are just a short walk away.

If you’re more into immersing yourself in the experience, let the bum in you loosen up. And you can literally get lost! The many lanes and side lanes will coax, cajole and invite you to explore them, their gaze half numb. A photographer’s delight, where you can take selfies with some really old-style houses as a backdrop. If that’s something with you. A direct walk from the Andheria Mor entrance will take you, with a bit of a breathless walk, to the Mehrauli bus stop or the Ud-dah bus. And hello? What do we have here. Another piece of history, called Bhool-Bhulaiya (according to popular claim it is a labyrinth or labyrinth). According to historical accuracy, it is the tomb of Adham Khan, son of Mughal Emperor Akbar’s nurse, Maham Anga. That is the beauty of exploring Mehrauli. A single ride can transport you to the various historic shores, separated in time by centuries.

Whether you’re a foodie, shopaholic, photographer, or just a high-spirited traveler, Mehrauli has something for everyone. Pick up a trinket, pick up a souvenir, or choose to get lost in it all. Visit Mehrauli, he is waiting for you.

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