July 29, 2011

Budget Places to stay: Majnu ka Tilla, Delhi

 

 

 

 

Amongst the rickshaws and crowds of Old Delhi, travellers might be forgiven for forgetting Delhi has a sky, let alone the Yamuna River. But go north, to the New Tibetan Colony, and you can stay by its very edge.

 

Majnu ka Tilla, Tibetian Colony in Delhi

 

 

Accommodation here is not expensive. This writer stayed in a twin room at the Wongdhen with a river view for Rs. 375. The scope for bargaining, however, is lower than Pahar Ganj and there are far fewer hotels to choose from. Travellers should also be prepared for the narrow, twisting lanes of the settlement.

 

While the original purpose of the Colony was simply to house refugees, today it has become an outpost of Tibetan culture.

Prayer flags dominate the skyline, and every second person seems to be a monk.

In general, restaurants here retain a distinctly Tibetan menu and are clean, cheap and good.

As well as chow mein, try momos (stuffed dumplings), thukpa (chow mein in soup), shabalay (spring roll cum Cornish pasty), fing (vermicelli) and tingmo (a steamed bun eaten with gravy).

For the genuine Tibetan experience, it’s impossible to escape trying Tibetan tea (tea with yak butter).

 

 

The Colony is situated outside of the centre, and travellers should be aware that the Colony lacks some conveniences, not least an ATM (the nearest is at Delhi University).

From personal experience, this writer ventures that monsoon is not the best time to stay: river flooding caused all Internet facilities to shut, and at one point part of the street was shut off due to the fact a stray wire had electrified the puddles.

 

Nevertheless, for more leisurely budget travellers the quieter atmosphere can be worth the journey.

The area of Majnu Ka Tilla is not without charm: colonial buildings fester away in the undergrowth, boys play cricket on the road, and Delhi University is close by.

 

Furthermore, a rickshaw to the nearest metro, Vidhan Sabha metro costs Rs 15 local price but it is also possible to walk.