City Landmark - Sapru House, Mandi House Chowk

City Landmark – Sapru House, Mandi House Chowk

The decline of an institution. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] More than 50 years ago, on the first day of May, Jawarharlal Nehru flashed a smile (recorded by a grainy b&w photograph) as he flung open the doors…

City Landmark - St Stephen's College, North Delhi

City Landmark – St Stephen’s College, North Delhi

The algebra of infinite merit. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Sorry, Stephanians. You will never get as majestic a view as enjoyed by the college across the road. “Hinduites are so lucky to have us facing them,” says…

City Obituary – New Book Depot, 1925-2012

City Obituary – New Book Depot, 1925-2012

The legendary bookstore in Connaught Place becomes history. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] New Book Depot, the legendary bookshop in the colonial-era Connaught Place known for its vast collection of classics as well as for its eccentric owner,…

City Landmark - St Paul International Book Center, Connaught Place

City Landmark – St Paul International Book Center, Connaught Place

Jesus loves you. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Halleluyah. St Paul International Book Center is one of the very few shops in Delhi selling Bibles in all the 22 official languages of India. Situated in an Outer Circle…

City Landmark - Nehru Archives, Teen Murti Bhawan

City Landmark – Nehru Archives, Teen Murti Bhawan

It goes online. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Until August 2011, anyone with the ambition of understanding Jawaharlal Nehru had to fly to Delhi and spend hours at the members-only library in Teen Murti Bhavan, Nehru’s British-built residence…

City Landmark - Mohan Singh Place Shopping Cum Office Complex, Baba Kharak Singh Marg

City Landmark – Mohan Singh Place Shopping Cum Office Complex, Baba Kharak Singh Marg

A New Delhi oddity. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] In a colonial-era commercial district that is getting colonized by multiplex chains and fast food joints, the Mohan Singh Place ‘shopping cum office complex’ in Connaught Place has no…

City Landmark - Manohar Bookstore, Ansari Road

City Landmark – Manohar Bookstore, Ansari Road

Best collection of non-fiction on India. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] If it were a book, it would be thick, dense, informative, wonderfully engaging, but wrapped in unattractive grey paper. Manohar bookstore in central Delhi is that sort…

City Landmark – Walled City Museum, Lahore Gate Chowk

City Landmark – Walled City Museum, Lahore Gate Chowk

Delhi’s saddest museum. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Opened in 2004, the Walled City museum in Lahore Gate smells of urine. Housed in the Shri Narayan haveli, circa 1929, the windowpanes are broken, the door is unlocked, the…

City Landmark – People’s Publishing House, Connaught Place

City Landmark – People’s Publishing House, Connaught Place

Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] Vladimir Ilyich Lenin has an arresting stare. Meet the Marxist revolutionary at a bookstore in the capitalistic Connaught Place, central Delhi’s premium shopping district. His portrait hangs close to…

City Landmark – Delhi Photo Company, Janpath

City Landmark – Delhi Photo Company, Janpath

1937-2010. [Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi] The other afternoon The Delhi Walla was walking in Janpath, Connaught Place. Reaching in front of an old landmark, I stood with amazement and then I laughed. What used to be Delhi…