Summary : Delhi offers a very good choice of cultural entertainments.
Delhi offers a very good choice of cultural entertainments. For a full listing of forthcoming dance shows, music recitals, art exhibitions etc., buy a weekend copy of the Indian Express or Friday’s Times of India; for a short precis of what’s going on, pick up a Tins Week in Delhi handout from the tourist office. Two other small publications are available in most hotels; Delhi Diary and The City Guide.
Most music and dance performances commence at 6 pm or 6.30 pm, and there’s a central ticket office at the Cottage Industries Emporium, Janpath. The regular Dances of India programme at Parsi Anjuman Hall, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Delhi Gate (tel 3318615) is a popular introduction to Indian culture for new tourist arrivals. Advertised as ’75 minutes of Music, Dance and Song in all their exquisite finesse’, it starts at 7 pm daily and costs about Rs85. Tickets are sold at the door, but you can book from a travel agent or your hotel. Serious dance shows take place at the Kathak Kendra; best Bengali and Punjabi plays at Sapru House. For cinema, try the Odeon in Connaught Place for 10 am matinee films in English, or the swank Sheila opposite New Delhi railway station for the latest releases and maximum comfort. Delhi is film-crazy: to avoid awesome queues and ‘House full’ signs, always buy seats well in advance.
In the daytime, escape from Delhi’s heat, dust or noise at a luxury hotel swimming- pool. The Ashok (Chanakyapuri) and Claridges (12 Aurangzeb Rd) allow non-residents to use their pools for around Rs75 per day, though most travellers seem to prefer the Imperial in Janpath (which is a nice pool, if crowded) at Rs95 per day. Hardly anyone goes swimming in December/February (too cold) and hotel pools are usually emptied out.
As in Calcutta, the best sports are concentrated in the clubs. There’s horse-riding (Rsl50 per hour) at the Delhi Riding Club, Safdarjang Rd (tel 3011891; book the day before); golf (US$25 weekdays, US$35 weekends) at the Delhi Golf Club, Dr Zakir Hussain Marg (tel 4361236 for temporary membership; clubs for hire; green fees US$35); polo, by invitation of a member, or riding at President’s Estate Polo Club, Wiliingdon (tel 3015604 for temporary membership); flying at Delhi Flying and Gliding (and hot-air ballooning) Clubs, Safdarjang Airport (tel 3319679 for temporary membership); and tennis, squash and swimming at the Chelmsford Club, Raisina Rd (tel 3714692). Few of these clubs are as welcoming as those of Bombay or Calcutta, however, and serious sports enthusiasts should select a luxury hotel with recreational facilities geared to their special requirements.