City Hangout – Moinuddin’s Chai Stall by the Tomb, Turkman Gate Bazaar
Tea by the tomb.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Ever since tea was discovered – a very long time ago – connoisseurs have conjured all manner of enticing environments for serving this favourite drink.
Perhaps in a luxury hotel? Your bedside? Or maybe some charmingly decrepit shack along the way.
But a cuppa sipped alongside a tomb may be an altogether unheard of experience, uniquely served up by a tea stall in Old Delhi.
All day long and late into the night the customers queue at Moinuddin’s at Turkman Gate Bazaar. They’ll buy the hot brew and then head across the street to a marble platform with an unknown grave. A cozier atmosphere than you may think, since a giant neem tree turns it all into a sanctuary of cool shade.
Nobody at all, not even Moinuddin, knows whose grave it is. But stumbling across unknown graves in the Walled City isn’t unusual. There are even houses at the bazaar with graves in drawing rooms and bedrooms.
This particular tomb is rather elaborate, suggesting the final resting place of a person with rank. Not so surprisingly, you’ll be joined by Old Delhi gentry lingering and chatting beside this grave – while you’re dipping crisply toasted biscuit into hot milky chai.
The stall – founded in 1950 – itself is almost always open for business. From 5 am until 11 at night.
The grave-side chai