A column on Delhi's hidden parks and a fun thing to do around them.
Look past the long line of street food stalls thronged almost exclusively by coolly-coiffed, chain-smoking NIFTians and you’ll spot it: a slightly wild, sloping ridge that tapers off into an undulating slope of green grass and trees.
This is Darwesh Shah’s Mosque (inside the DDA park at Gulmohar Park), a garden with a number of wide benches strategically planted under large trees, comfy spots that encourage kissing, reading and lunching. We spotted a pair of lovers on one, holding hands and giggling; on yet another, a withered old man shared his lunch with a companionable stray; and further ahead, a man lay fast asleep, a newspaper quietly abandoned by his side.
Walk in the Park
A wide walking trail covered in red earth circles the entire park and if you follow it, you will eventually find yourself at the foot of the pretty Darwesh Shah’s Mosque that had its origins in the Lodi period. After a chat with a fellow walker we discovered that until recently, the monument with its prayer walls and recessed arches, had mostly been reduced to rubble. It has now been restored, a good reason to visit.
Dog lovers will be glad to know this is one of Delhi’s few pet-friendly parks where you can bring your dog in any time of the day. Trees and barks!
Getting there: Darwesh Shah’s Mosque at DDA Park, Gulmohar Park , near NIFT, entry free.
Thinking on Your Feet
At the end of your mud track exploration, treat your feet to a pedicure at the nearby Applause (take the road that leads away from Yusuf Sarai, towards Hauz Khas Market), a salon that we hear is responsible for the NIFT kids’ cool hair dos and highlights. We however, recommend it for the pedicure done by Ravi, a particularly skilled and patient pedicurist who’ll readily test a million nail colours until you find your shade. He’ll also ply you with glossy magazines and cold sodas the entire time. Soak!
Getting there: Applause, X 17 Hauz Khas, call 26515459, Rs 650 for a Crystal Spa pedicure.