Indraprastha, Dilli or Delhi, call the Indian capital by any
name, its essence and spirit remains unchanged. Jyoti Koul
and Reema Sisodia explore its metamorphosis from a
political hub into a business hotspot
the arches and domes of historical monuments to modern commercial
centres, New Delhi has evolved into a city-of-the-future while
still preserving its unique flavour and style. Breaking away
from the shackles of being just a bureaucratic base, the city
is in the process of a steady makeover, inching its way to
becoming a business hotspot.
development policies and plan implementation programmes well
in place, this transformation, which is rather distinct and
noticeable, is not expected to take long. Augmentation of
commercial centres, infrastructure development, surface transport,
connectivity and communication facilities has led to Delhi
becoming more and more an ideal destination for business and
As a promising business destination of the future, Delhi has
some inherent natural advantages attached to it. Today, Delhi
along with the national capital region is a fast growing industrial
town. As the seat of government, it attracts a large number
of multinationals, manpower and brainpower. An increasing
number of technology-savvy industries are setting up shop
here. Opportunities in every field are on the rise too. To
the residents, Delhi is all embracing. A place which has witnessed
every hue and colour that history has had to offer.
Sharma, chairman emeritus, Sita World Travel (India) Ltd,
has been an inhabitant of Lutyens Delhi since 1938.
He says, Describing Delhi can be rather simple; the
city is a mother. A mother who embraces all the good, bad
and ugly with equal affection. Delhi has been a city of hope
and promise. It retains the same nature even today. Physically,
over the years, Delhi has transformed itself beyond recognition.
Till 1947, the residents were self-divided into two classes
- Delhites and Dilliwallas - according to the region they
lived in. Delhites lived in Lutyens garden city and
Dilliwallas within the boundary wall of the Mughals - Shahjahanabad.
Dilliwallas have been basically small traders, wholesalers
and distributors for the rest of north India. Delhites were
mostly Babus. After 1947, with the influx of refugees and
transmigration of population, the very character of Delhi
has undergone a change. With the refugee influx, Delhi transformed
itself into a free-for-all entrepreneurial city. It has led
to new shops, new businesses, new initiatives, new incentives,
new strategies, even new confusions and an almost all pervasive
society, which is today becoming not only a mini India, but
a hotspot on the Indian business map.
Delhi, as a tourist destination, has come a full circle. It
has an edge over other metro cities. Apart from being a political
centre, housing each and every ministry, Delhi is also the
residence of diplomatic missions of the rest of the world.
As compared to other metropolitan cities, Delhi also enjoys
super-infrastructure. With approximately 50 new flyovers to
be made operational shortly and the City Metro Rail project
underway, the city will have a new face in the coming years.
With most of the international airlines based in the city,
Delhi is well connected within and outside the country. The
city gets the credit for having the largest media base. All
the top newspapers and TV channels are operating from this
Ready To Take-Off
100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) allowed in sectors
like information technology, power, automobiles, hospitality
and energy, more and more international and multinational
companies are considering Delhi as a centre for investment.
The governments disinvestment process is already in
full swing. Private investors are being encouraged and new
opportunities are being created. Be it the governments
flagship companies like India Tourism Development Corporation
(ITDC) hotels or Hotel Corporation of India (HCI), Indian
Airlines or Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), most have been
opened up for privatisation. Thus, emerging as a business
hub, the city offers unending business opportunities coupled
with growth and success. Information technology, hospitality,
real estate, pharmaceuticals, entertainment, shopping complexes,
surface and air transport... the list is endless and it is
entirely up to the entrepreneur to choose the field of opportunity.
Further evidence of the city becoming a sought-after business
centre is the presence of Indias second largest stock
exchange and the largest density of vehicles.
offers much more than expected, not just to its inhabitants
but also to tourists, both leisure and business travellers.
To the business traveller, the city provides the facility
for hosting major conventions and conferences, both national
and international. Delhi has more than 20 five-star hotels
offering the best banqueting services and well equipped to
conduct large business sessions, conferences and other parties.
Hotel Ashok has the largest convention centre with a seating
capacity of more than 2,000 people. Other hotels such as the
Taj Palace, The Oberoi, Le Meridien, Radisson, The Imperial,
Hyatt Regency, Maurya Sheraton and Grand Hyatt also offer
excellent banqueting facilities along with pre and post-conferencing
events. With the Electricity Act to be passed soon, the city
will definitely receive an electrifying boost.
Suri, chairman and managing director, Bharat Hotels Limited,
feels, This city is on a take-off stage and there is
a new streak of confidence that is doing the rounds. Being
a part of the city and its culture since 1972, I find that
the city has undergone a positive change, especially over
the last four years, the signs of which can only spell progress
and prosperity in the region. There has been a steady improvement
with respect to professionalism in the city and its work culture.
Give this place some time, as the city has all that it takes
to be a success story.
Whilst drafting this success story, the city has also retained
its identity as the countrys cultural capital. It is
the epicentre for architecture, fine arts, performing arts,
theatre and fashion. Being recognised as Indias fashion
capital, top of the line fashion names and labels have their
base in Delhi. Exclusive artefacts and speciality products
- a treat to the business traveller - are all easily available
in the region. Finally, when it comes to communication, Delhi
understands the language of love, however, the official language
among its people is Hinglish.
From Delhi Haat to duty-free shops, from ethnic dress material
to designer wear, from handicrafts to imported goods, the
city has it all. Delhi Haat is the citys pride housing
authentic arts and crafts. Central Cottage Industries Emporium
stationed at Janpath has a spectacular display of Indian handicrafts
and handlooms. Dont miss an experience at Janpath -
a destination in itself! Hauz Khas Village has a special shopping
flavour attached to it. The mammoth Ansal Plaza is the latest
addition to Delhis shopping circuit. The city boasts
a number of designer labels too. Last but not the least, Connaught
Place is a not-to-be-missed mega shopping spot. If you have
the time, check out the shopping areas of Old Delhi for a
dash of the local flavour.
You can let down your hair at various discotheques and stand-alone
pubs. Apart from these discotheques, there are a few more
exciting options one can try. A long drive (towards any direction)
can prove to be that nothing like it experience
if you are looking for some quiet option. Or if
you just do not feel for that private kind of an affair, simply
pack your dinner and make India Gate your destination, its
simply enchanting. However if you want fun, food and frolic,
all rolled up in one, just check out these exciting options.
Djinns at the Hyatt Regency offers an eclectic mix of exotic
cuisine and the latest in entertainment. CJS Discotheque
at Le Meridien, is known for its theme evenings. Other favourite
nightspots are Floats at the Inter-Continental-Park Royal,
Some Place Else at The Park, Mirage at the Crown Plaza Surya,
Annabelles at the Grand Inter-Continental, and My Kind
of Place at the Taj Palace. The Whisky Bar at Grand Hyatt
is also a perfect place to unwind after a hard days
Food in Delhi is as diverse as its culture, leading to
the appellation food capital of India. Check
out Pandara Road market, CP and Karol Bagh for Punjabi-Mughlai
food. With a series of fast food joints, including the
popular local brand Nirulas in every area, the business
of quick takeaways is highly popular in the city. From
the oldest mithai shop Ghantewala in Chandni Chowk, to
the array of sweet-temples such Annapoorna, Keleva, Nattus,
Haldirams and Bengali market, the city is also a haven
for the sweet-toothed. Other must-visits are Parathawali
Gali, Colonels Kababz and Roshan Di Kulfi in Karol
Bagh. Some popular restaurants are as follows:
Hotel Maurya Sheraton, Tel: (011) 6112233
Former American president Bill Clinton will vouch for
Bukhara taste. This is Delhis best
known restaurant for Northwest Frontier cuisine.
Coconut Groove, Ashok Yatri Niwas, Tel: (011) 3344511
This restaurant was one of the pioneers in introducing
non-vegetarian South Indian cuisine to Delhites.
Chore Bizarre, Broadway Hotel
The decor of this restaurant is as wacky as its name
and serves a large variety of Kashmiri and tandoori
Baan Thai, The Oberoi, Tel: (011) 4363030
Baan Thai offers quality Thai cuisine with a wide array
of meat and seafood recipes and also vegetarian delights.
A number of ingredients are specially flown in every
La Piazza, Hyatt Regency, Tel: (011) 6791234
La Piazza is a casual and trendy restaurant serving
authentic Italian cuisine in rustic surroundings taking
you back to the meeting squares of Italy.
Le Belvedere, Le Meridien, Tel: (011) 3710101
Dining at this nouveau rooftop nightclub is an experience
totally different and memorable with its uncompromising
standards of class and elegance. The restaurant offers
both Continental and Indian specialties with a live
band and a dance floor.
Pan Asian Restaurant, Marriott WelcomHotel, Tel:
This unique speciality restaurant offers cuisine from
across Asia, be it Chinese, Mongolian, Thai, Japanese,
Indonesian or Malaysian.
Airlines and Alliance operate out of Indira Gandhi International
(IGI) Airports Terminal IA. Private carriers,
Jet Airways and Sahara, service Terminal IB. Terminal
II services several international carriers. A free coach
service connects the two domestic terminals every 20
minutes and also runs between the international and
domestic terminals every hour. Rail: Delhi is serviced
by three principal stations, Delhi Main (Old Delhi),
New Delhi Railway Station and Hazrat Nizamuddin. Licensed
porters (with red shirts) charge Rs 20 as portage per
bag (up to 40 kg per trip within 20 minutes).
City Transport: Prepaid taxi and auto rickshaws
are available at all three stations. Delhi has numerous
private car rental firms, such as Avis, Budget and Europcar.
Local taxi costs: full day Rs 550 for 80 km or 8 hours;
half day Rs 350 for 40 km or 4 hours, A/C taxi Rs 700
for the full day. For luxury radio cabs, Dial-a-Cab
Tel: 1920; Metro Radio Cab, Tel: 1923, though more expensive,
are a good option if you are in a hurry.
Tel: (011) 4363030
Tel: (011) 6223344
Tel: (011) 6110101
Tel: (011) 6779191
Tel: (011) 6835070
Tel: (011) 6110202
Tel: (011) 6121234
Tel: (011) 3743000
Tel: (011) 6148800
Tel: (011) 3341234
Tel: (011) 3411001
Tel: (011) 3026162
Tel: (011) 6791234
Tel: (011) 3010211
Hotel Maurya Sheraton & Towers
Tel: (011) 6112233
Metropolitan Hotel Nikko New Delhi
Tel: (011) 3342000
Meridien New Delhi
Tel: (011) 3710101