I should sleep instead of typing this out since I have a long run tomorrow morning. But am pretty sure I won’t be able to wake up early anyway so another half an hour shouldn’t matter.
I was very excited about the Ramzan walk. I wanted to do it at Mohammad Ali road in Mumbai but I was in the city for only 1 night and 1/2 day. So when I saw people tweeting about their Hyderabad walk with Seek Sherpa, I asked them if they were organizing one in Delhi too. Of course, they were. I contacted people I thought would be interested and got together a group of 6 (including KC and me).
Let me get some things out of the way… I enjoyed the previous walk at Dilli 6 more than today’s… for the below reasons: (Post on the previous walk here)
- We were a group of 18 people which is a HUGE number for a food walk during Ramzan. Jama Masjid and Darya Ganj are anyway crowded on weeknights… but the crowds double during this festive period. Navigating lanes, ordering food, getting seats for 18 people is quite a task. A group of 5-6 is a reasonable number.
- The more the people, the lesser interaction with Sherpas. I didn’t go for the tour to hang out with KC or to meet the other guys. I was there to eat the food and get to know more about it from the Sherpa and that cannot happen in such a large group
- From 18, the number dwindled to 7 by the time half of the walk was over. I wish the people had left earlier itself because we could have possibly gotten seats at Al Jawahar.
- People kept complaining about the heat. I do not get this… so you want to explore “real Delhi” but in an AC environment. India has 2 seasons- either summer and winter or summer and monsoons. Complaining about the weather is so passée. Delhi is hot in the summers and cold in the winters. Get the memo, already. I include KC in this category too. The weather Gods are not suddenly going to be kind just because we decided to get out of cosy indoors.
- People worrying about hygiene. Explore “real India” but with clean hands. Eat at hole of the walls but with clean hands.
- People leaving early because it was getting late. Last time, our food walk ended around 11 pm. Today it was around 10 pm. In Mumbai, the food walks end around midnight- maybe even later. There cannot be a deadline for a food walk. It depends on how much people can eat and how enthusiastic they are. The great part is that areas like Chandni Chowk, Daryaganj, Jama Masjid are crowded till late at night. It is quite safe. So you can leave late. I don’t understand the concept of wrapping up fast because it’s late.
- People were not enthusiastic about trying all the food. I am used to KC and his skirmishes when it comes to pork and beef. I keep asking him why he is coming along when he is not going to eat half the stuff. There is no point in paying money, travelling all the way if you are not going to have a taste of everything. No point at all.
Now that that is out of the way. We had 2 people guiding us- Sherpa Rohan and Zeba. Rohan is the expert on the food and Zeba is as she called herself “the token Muslim” girl. We started our tour at Jama Masjid where Zeba told us about Ramzan, Iftar and everything related to it. I have no interest in religion… whatever little I know is because of a Christian upbringing and Hinduism forced down my throat… Islam is a religion I know least about. I have always wanted to go to Jama Masjid but wasn’t sure how.
It was so nice being out in the open with sooooo many people celebrating a festival. And this celebration is very different from the sho sha of Diwali or Holi. Everyone- young, old, rich poor, man, woman, child gather in one place to offer prayers and break their fast. The fast is kept so every Muslim knows what it is like to live an austere lifestyle. The idea to try and be a good human being during this period. I found the thought very beautiful because I haven’t come across anything like this in Hindu festivals. Most of them are all about how to spend more and more money on idols, pujas etc etc.
We started our food walk with some chicken seekh and the rest of the walk was not very different from what I had done previously with Sherpa Akshay. In fact, we had more food then- chicken fry, dahi bhallas and gond ka halwa. The only addition this time around was the anjeer shake and beef biryani.
Chawri Bazaar. That is Jama Masjid. Looks just like Florence ka Duomo
The place I have crossed many times and always wanted to go in. No shorts and sleeveless allowed here. Women have to cover their heads. I didn’t carry a scarf or dupatta and nobody asked me to cover up. You have to pay Rs 300 for cameras.
Sherpa Rohan had brought food for us when it was time for Iftar. This is a paneer jalebi. The wrapper is of the chocolate covered dates. Dates are preferred to break the fast.
That is a beef samosa. So yum.
Perfect and humbling.
The Jama Masjid courtyard can fit 25,000 people.
Rohan took us to the dates shop since people wanted to buy the chocolate covered ones. I had no idea there was so much variety in dates. The ones below are regular ones.
These are all the fancy ones.
The yummy chicken seekh doused in butter
The chicken tikka at Dilli 6 is very different from the normal one. The kebabs are doused in a mixture of butter and curd and eaten with rumaali rotis
This is at 9 pm… crowded… last time we had taken cycle rickshaw through the lanes, today we had to walk because that was faster
The buff biryani… not really my thing. I didn’t like the slimy beef and the oily rice but it was spicy.
The tiny shop and our group having the biryani
Dhaage wale buff kebabs- must visit. You HAVE to try this once before you die. Otherwise, what is the point of your life? The kebabs are strung on threads which have to be removed while eating.
I made sure Rohan stopped for the shahi tukda… the main reason I was there. Last time, I had taken bites out of KC and G’s plates. This time around, I had a full plate of it. So yummy.
It is served with or without ice cream. I prefer it without.
All in all, a great trip. Looking forward to going back to Jama Masjid and climbing to the top of the minaret and lunch/dinner at Al Jawahar.