Venice Ghetto

City Travel – The Ancient Jewish Ghetto, Venice

The world’s first ghetto. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Butchers and blacksmiths, fortune-tellers and beggars, carpet sellers and cobblers, chickens and children… all of this made more frenzied by the great milling crowds. It could be Old Delhi. This is the world’s first ghetto, and it is not in India but Italy. The […]

Bahadur Shah Zafar

Letter from Yangon – Bahadur Shah Zafar’s Tomb, Near Shwedagon Pagoda

The last Mughal’s grave. [Text and photos by Florian Morin] The tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar, Delhi’s last Mughal emperor, is just a few hundred meters away from the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred stupa in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and the ultimate must-see monument in Yangon (formerly Rangoon), its largest city. Unlike its […]


City Travel – Puraini Village, 100 Miles from Delhi

A perfect world. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Tall rose bushes grow in every house. Walls are painted with most brilliant colors. A well is overgrown with wild grass. The Delhi Walla is in Puraini, a village about a hundred miles from Delhi. This is the heart of the sugarcane country in western […]


City Travel – Taj Hotel, Ajmer

The best Taj property. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] It is called the Taj Hotel but it does not belong to the famous Taj Group of Hotels. Actually, it is not a hotel, just an eatery. And it is largely patronised by fakirs and pilgrims who are too poor to dine elsewhere. The […]


City Travel – Sufi World, Ajmer

Glimpses of a sacred space. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] An elderly pilgrim from Rajkot in Gujarat lovingly offers a rose petal to the lips of his wife. Nearby, rose petals are placed on an unknown person’s grave. The Delhi Walla is in the Sufi shrine of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, […]

La Hune

Letter from Paris – La Hune is Closing, Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Death of a bookshop. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Stop the clocks. Silence the pianos. The double-storey La Hune is to shut down permanently. Tucked in the heart of the most beautiful part of Paris, it is one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. “We are closing very soon,” says the […]


Letter from Venice – Country Postcards, Near Adriatic Sea

The Italian nature. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Have you ever cycled through a daydream? The Delhi Walla did. I’m in Venice. One morning I left it for its surrounding country. The day was made of a blue sky. The Alps stood in the distance, the cool air was dense with bird sounds, […]


Letter from Venice – A home in Venezia, Calle delle Canne

Inside a Venetian home. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The first floor window usually remains open during the day. A pedestrian walking on the street outside just have to crane his neck upwards to have a glimpse of jam-packed bookshelves. This is Pia Nainer’s drawing room. One early afternoon The Delhi Walla enters […]


Letter from Allahabad – The Last Bungalows, Civil Lines

The precious relics. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Allahabad is the land of the Sangam. This meeting point of the Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers in eastern Uttar Pradesh has been attracting pilgrims for centuries. But one should also make a pilgrimage to Allahabad to see its Raj-era bungalows — those crumbling […]