City Hangout – Minto Bridge Underpass, Central Delhi
The bridge of sounds.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
We don’t expect romance out of a railway underbridge. And yet, here is Minto Bridge. Named after a British viceroy, it connects Connaught Place (CP) to the New Delhi railway station (Ajmeri Gate side).
As you enter the bridge’s tunnel-like pass, walking along the pavement, the shrill traffic noise turns into a soft hum. The sounds of buses, autos and bikes merge and hauntingly echo off Minto’s old walls. A train rumbling along on the tracks above adds to the intense experience.
Until a few years ago, Minto Bridge was also the address of a popular landmark: Splash Bar & Restaurant. Tucked on one side of the bridge, it was a watering hole to guzzle down beer with buttery naans. An outdated guidebook warns of Splash’s “unwiped tables, tired upholstery, unsmiling waiters and forgettable Hindi film songs from the 1980s.” Another book condescendingly describes an unnamed bar “at the foot of Minto Bridge” that hosted cabarets every evening where “most of the clients looked like they had only just shut their shops in Mori Gate before showing up.”
These two stories may or may not be of the same place but just by knowing them we are able to sense the ghost of yesterday still hovering under the bridge.
A place with past