City Landmark - Semal Tree, Connaught Place

City Landmark – Semal Tree, Connaught Place

An urban sanctuary. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] One of the most beautiful things in Connaught Place, Delhi’s Colonial-era shopping district, cannot be purchased. It’s a tree in E-block: semal, or bombax ceiba. The towering deciduous tree clashes…

City Obituary - Shabrati Nihari, Shop, Haveli Azam Khan

City Obituary – Shabrati Nihari, Shop, Haveli Azam Khan

Death of a landmark. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Bloggers have blogged about it. Instagrammers have instagrammed about it. Heritage-minded walking tours too would stop by for quick feasts and photo opportunities. And now it is gone. Hazi…

City Landmark - Cinema Excelsior, Lal Kuan

City Landmark – Cinema Excelsior, Lal Kuan

A single-screen tomb. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Old Delhi is all Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi. No argument about that. But it has at least one link to Latin, too. Here’s a landmark named after the Latin for…

City Landmark - A Light Blue Mansion, Pahari Rajaan

City Landmark – A Light Blue Mansion, Pahari Rajaan

A piece of beauty. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The mansion looks like an aristocratic lady dressed in sun rays, fussily re-arranging them about her from time to time. The afternoon light—and its shifting shadows—have ignited a gentle…

City Obituary - A Leafless Tree, Lodhi Road

City Obituary – A Leafless Tree, Lodhi Road

On the death of a dead tree. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The tree was dead and yet full of life. For years it stood like a giant on Lodhi Road’s divider. In the evening, birds would settle…

City Landmark - Ram Bagh Mukti Dham, Khandsa Village, Gurgaon

City Landmark – Ram Bagh Mukti Dham, Khandsa Village, Gurgaon

A cremation ground in an unusual setting. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A soft warm breeze is blowing with a sai-sai sound through the tree leaves. The golden sunflowers are blooming radiantly in the hedges. The ground is…

City Landmark - Old Staircase, Connaught Place

City Landmark – Old Staircase, Connaught Place

Pickled architecture. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Despite being such a well-explored shopping district, Connaught Place is astonishing in its scope of picturesque spots still waiting to be discovered. Take that amazing winding staircase in H Block, Outer…

City Landmark - Guru Ravidas Temple, Sadar Bazaar, Gurgaon

City Landmark – Guru Ravidas Temple, Sadar Bazaar, Gurgaon

Tree in the courtyard. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] The spacious yard is warming up gently under the sunshine. The clear blue sky is looking as calm as an exhausted sea after the storm. Winters are on the…

City Landmark -  Arman Sewing Machine Repairing Shop, Jaffrabad

City Landmark – Arman Sewing Machine Repairing Shop, Jaffrabad

A thing of beauty. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] A room half-submerged in darkness. Rusty relic-like equipments piled up next to each other. And a man kneeling upon a desk, his hands blackened with grease, his forehead furrowed…

City Landmark - Sibu Unisex Hair Cutting Salon, Palam Vihar, Gurgaon

City Landmark – Sibu Unisex Hair Cutting Salon, Palam Vihar, Gurgaon

A cool parlour. [Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi] Roadside hair stylist shops are like roadside chai shops—full of atmosphere even in their raggedness. Each establishment, along with its owner, staffers and customers tells so much about the locality…