Escape the prescriptive lists of where to go, and try my tested remedies.
1-A Great Yoga Class in Greater Kailash
Sample a Sivananda Yoga Class, and realign your chakras. Starting with 20 minutes of pranayama breathing exercises and ending with a 15 minute shavasana final relaxation, the in between work out focuses on every muscle group from head stand to arm balancing poses. Complimentary herbal tea and the scent of lemony incense stay with you well after this class.
400 rupees for a 90 minute drop in class at A-41 Block, Kailash Colony (+91 11) 3206 9070
2- High Tea at the Imperial Hotel
Top of every expat list, the path to the Imperial is lined with 26 palm trees. Forgo lunch: tea time is from 3-6pm and offers traditional British delicacies such as scones with clotted cream and jam, roasted aubergine brioche, smoked salmon blinis, cucumber sandwiches and Jamaican chicken patties. Desserts cover chocolate pistachio brownie to crème brulee, éclairs and cookies. An impressive array of tea is available from Himalayan to Darjeeling to Rose Hip.
Phone in advance to book high tea for 1250 rupees each including taxes. Imperial Hotel, Janpath, (+91 11) 23 341234
3-Head to Hauz Khas Village
a-The village is luxurious and home to hippy happy Delhi-ites and loved up couples with a Central Park-esque feel to the place. Get a rickshaw to drop you at the village boundaries and wonder in passing donkeys at the entrance and breathing a sigh of relief at the slower pace of life.
Flock to the lake and jog laps around its perimeter. Roof cafes overlook the edges of the village settlement and the mosque ruins. Cute art galleries nestle in corners; the lovely Kunzum Travel Cafe has a leave what you want in a tin deal- most overpay with good will.
T-49, Ground Floor, Hauz Khas Village New Delhi, DL 110016. (+91 11) 2651 3949
B-Brunch at Imperfecto in Hauz Khas: Picture wooden tables, a relaxed music playlist from Spanish folk to modern Indian tunes. Order a jug of sangria to accompany your meal, red or white for 2400 INR a jug. Try the Titanic mutton burger. For the perfect cold coffee, 90 rupees of delicious, chocolate flecked drink. With cosmopolitan Indian women sporting 6 inch heels, they match the re constructed water feature in the middle floor, but this restaurant is unpretentious and a great spot to spend your Sunday afternoon at.
4-Visit the Jama Mastif and eat at Karim’s
Get high, visit the largest mosque in Old Delhi: eat at world famous Mughali Karim’s first, making sure to order naan bread and any kebab dish. The breeze at the top of the minaret makes Delhi magically quiet, you cannot hear the traffic, or the noise, but you can see it hustling beneath you. Cameras cost an additional 300 rupees to take in.
Get out at Chandi Chowk metro and take a rickshaw or cycle the rest of the way.
5-New Friend’s Colony: Pebble Street Restaurant and Bar
Visit on an IPL cricket night, famous for its sporting sounds, get some friends together, order nachos and delicious meat or veg platters and take advantage of the IPL drinks deals. A good watering hole, worth a visit at happy hour with beer usually costing 200 INR. For the tea-totaller, the mocktails are superb, with the summer cycle a thirst quencher.
(+91) 8800 249975
6-Get a Luxury Massage at the Park Hotel
Climb to the top floor of the Park Hotel, and step into Aura Spa. Lit candles, tranquil music and 2300 rupees for an all over aromatherapy body massage. Afterwards shower in the plush bathrooms and simmer in the sauna until they tell you to leave.
Park Hotel, Connaught Place, (+91 11) 23743000
7- Head inside to the Kingdom of Dreams
This live entertainment, theatre, shopping and food space covers all areas. You don’t pay with money, but with a charge card loaded at the main entrance or during your stay, offering it in the tea rooms and the gift shops. Go with a stash of rupees or just window shop. This grown up version of Disneyland is a great, and somewhat surreal way to spend a rainy monsoon day.
Find it at Sector 29, Gurgaon,Haryana,122001, 0124 452 8000
If all else fails
Restore your faith in humanity. Escape to the hills 250 km from Delhi. Rishikesh is a 6 hour train away or overnight bus journey. Have a weekend of fresh air filled with volleyball, rafting, camping and feasting, stretched out by the Ganges.
Book the Shatabdi Express from Delhi to Hardiwar (750 rupees) in advance at makemytrip.com and take a rickshaw for the last hour (300 rupees), or public bus (20 rupees).