City Wall – Maidens’ Way, Civil Lines
The calming path.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The short walk from the underground Civil Lines metro station in North Delhi to hotel Oberoi Maidens offers a beauty distilled out of ordinariness.
The bus stop outside the station is in front of a sturdy white colonnade, home to Embassy restaurant and The Exchange Stores, a departmental store established in 1934. A staircase built on one side of the building goes up diagonally to the roof.
The Brits built Civil Lines in almost every Indian town to house their officers. But on this walk you may have to work hard to find the remains of the Raj. It may be equally challenging to come face-to-face with the disarray that defines the contemporary Delhi. Down this track, you confront nothing more dramatic than yellow grass growing out of pavement cracks, or fallen tree leaves.
Living in a city that continually provokes our senses with horror and beauty, we must actively seek places like Maidens’ Way that strive to disassociate themselves from volatile sensations.
The sights are balmy. On the left, Sri Ram Road, a leafy avenue, leaps away to Ring Road. Further ahead, the entrance to Delhi Police Mess has a winding driveway that seems to end in ultimate repose.
Across the road is the sprawling Shamnath Apartments, ensconced in privilege.
The pathway is punctuated with shade and sky. Some stretches are claimed by the branches of disobedient trees imprisoned within walled compounds. To stand under their dark-green leaves and watch slow-moving cyclists on the road makes one feel like a discreet voyeur.
Soon, you reach a white boundary wall. It is superimposed by a green hedge. The gold letterings on the gate say: “Maidens Hotel – A heritage hotel since 1903’.
The walk ends.
A stroller’s journey