Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nehru Place - shopper's paradise for IT products and wonderful fabrics


A curious mix of businesses and shops (some very attractive ones!!)
Nehru Place was touted as an alternative to Connaught Place in South Delhi. Nehru Place was envisaged as a business hub with an assortment of buildings to house top notch business establishments. Nehru Place did not emerge that way but in turn developed proficiency in a different arear computers, computers and computers and of course textiles. The area can be called a poor replica of Connaught Place, though off late World Trade Tower and several other well maintained new buildings are attempting to change the landscape. What however developed was a market complex with some unique offerings. These are:

1. Computer & computer related products – all kinds hardware, software, computer peripherals, accessories...and anything else related to the electronic gizmo world is available here. All top brands have their showrooms here. In the unbranded era, this was the ultimate place to pick up an assembled computer and it still is. Almost all parts are available at rock bottom prices. One has to hunt though with a wide eyes and ears! It is the unbridled king of software. Everything that has been ever developed is available. Even without bargaining one can get a price difference of 10 – 20% easily.

2. Excellent (DTP) Desk top processing operators. It is ideal place for DTP work.


3. Fabrics, Accessories, Laces and more… Another interesting aspect which developed was the traditional cloth merchants from the Chandni Chowk area migrated to this place to cater to the export market. Most of these shops are located at the far end of Nehru Place towards Mansarovar Building. The variety of fabrics available is mind boggling. Handloom, powerloom, mill made jostle for space offering tussar, silk, cotton, georgette, prints, crepes… The offering follows international trends.


4. It has a couple of old book shops and dealers.


Location It is located in South Delhi and is at a distance of about 20 odd kms from Connaught Place. A left turn from the Moolchand Flyover and a straight drive beyond LSR (Lady Sriram College) will deposit one just in front of the place.

Timings – The place is closed on Sundays. The best time to be in the place is after 11:00 am when the place swings into action and closing late after 7:30 pm. Parking lots are designated all around the place - is extremely problematic and requires much grit!!

Highlight – With some computer related items these are available at nearly 50% of the prices available in showrooms, as long as you know how to bargain it right! No, these are not fakes, it is possible to get a bill with warranty. It just works akin to a wholesale market. Well connected with Banks, Post Office and houses good many businesses.

Insider Tip – This place is ideal to ferret out good fabrics and excellent bargains in computer & related accessories – as long as you know what you want and cannot be mislead on it. It is not the cleanest of places, just brave the exhaust fumes of gensets, smell of food being cooked, touts selling their ware on the footpath, it opens up a new world. It has some extremely affordable, delicious places to eat. Almost all the eateries serve good food.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Swaminarayan Akshardham

The Swaminarayan Akshardham temple on the banks of the River Yamuna is a wonder of sorts. It is actually with awe that one realizes that the temple which could easily be mistaken for an ancient rock cut edifice from the Indian history is a modern 21st century making. – 2005 to be precise. The temple in brief can be described as a summation of history, beliefs, ideals, tenets & occurrences of nearly 10,000 years old Indian culture curated and exhibited under one roof. It will be simplistic to call it one roof as the temple spreads around a total of 30 acres and the lush garden spreading another 60 acres. The name Akshardham means eternal and abode of the Divine. It is as one looks at the gigantic dome arising into the sky, one is transported back into time, the hustle and bustle of the street outside is a distant dream. It takes some momentous time to take in all the sites – the structure using red, pink sandstone from Rajasthan and white marble, the beautiful almost springing with life carvings. Each expression caught to perfection, it is inspired by the Nagara style of Temple Architecture, traced to the 5th century. What makes it attractive is the wonderful combination of materials, symbols and aesthetics. Each flower carved, each panel, each stone animal or figure of God, Sadhu (ascetic) or holy men carved has a meaning behind it - which is symbolic and philosophical.

Location – It is an approximate distance of 15 kms from Connaught Place. It is just across the bridge over the Yamuna river. Had the river Yamuna flowed through in its pristine glory, the sight across the river would have been an unforgettable one. One can see the temple from afar. It is on N H 24, Noida Mor.

Timings - 10:00 am to 7 pm (April- Sept) and 9:00 am to 6 pm (Oct. – March), Night lighting on Saturdays and Sundays. The temple is closed on Monday. Entry is free though there is a small charge to view the two exhibitions and large format film. No electronic cameras or cell phones allowed inside. Parking space is substantial.

Highlight - For the purpose of records, the mammoth temple is 141 ft high, 316 ft wide and 356 ft long. It has a total of 234 ornately carved pillars, 9 ornate domes, 20 samvarans (crowns), four entrance doors, intricately carved outer wall and two plinths, the awe inspiring Gajendra Peeth and a total of 20,000 statues of great devotees, asetics and acharyas of India carved on it.

Insider Tip - One needs an entire day to see the place thoroughly and can still come back dissatisfied. The food served at the inhouse restaurant is wonderful The souvenir shop stocks interesting products including handicrafts – good embroidery and beadwork, and organic products – honey, tea and more.