Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
Named after Feroz Shah Tughlaq of the Tughlaq dynasty from the 14th century, the stadium stands tall on Delhi’s bustling Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg. Constructed in 1356, the Feroz Shah Kotla hosted its first Test match in 1948 when India played West Indies in a high-scoring draw. Since then, the Kotla – as it is popularly known – has played host to 30 Test matches. India has won ten of these games, and lost six, but have not lost a single Test match at the venue since 1987. Apart from that, the Feroz Shah Kotla has also hosted several ODIs, most of which have been very high-scoring. Most recently, it was the location of four ICC World Cup 2011 matches.
The Kotla is also famous for being witness to only the second instance of a Test cricketer picking up all ten wickets in a single innings. Bowling against Pakistan in 1999, Anil Kumble emulated the record of Jim Laker from England as he ran through the opposition to claim all the wickets and win the game for India. One of the most important ODI games played here was the final of the tri-series between India, Australia and Zimbabwe, in which the Aussies beat the hosts easily after having lost all their league games to India. The ground underwent renovation in 2005, just in time to host the sixth and the final game of the ODI series against Pakistan.
The Kotla is now the home venue for the Delhi Daredevils side in the Indian Premier League, having hosted all its games in the capital during the 2008 and 2010 editions of the tournament. The side will played all their home games at the Kotla in the 2011 edition of the IPL as well.
Home to the mythical Pandavas, heart of the Mughal Empire for over two centuries, benefactor of British architectural designs – Lutyens’ Delhi combines old world charm with innovative artistic expression. The ramparts of the Red Fort or the more serene surroundings of Humayun’s Tomb are a great window into Mughal history. The Qutab Minar, which at 72.5 metres is the world’s tallest brick minaret, keeps guard over the city.
Delhi is also home to a number of significant places of worship. India’s largest mosque, with an overwhelming sense of history – the Jama Masjid; the contemporary and minimalistic Lotus Temple of the Bahai faith; and the elaborately designed Akshardham temple, all embellish this cosmopolitan city. The imposing India Gate, the magnificent Parliament House, the sprawling Secretariat building and the grand Rashtrapati Bhavan, all make Delhi a tourist’s dream come true.
Delhi is a shopper’s paradise – from the lively by-lanes of Chandni Chowk, to the bargain shops at Janpath, the city offers everything from ornate handicrafts to colourful knick-knacks and quaint curious. Sarojini Nagar and Lajpat Nagar, located within 5 kms of each other, are a must-visit for travellers. A quick dash to Dilli Haat located in West Kidwai Nagar will leave you fascinated – it offers a montage of wares from the various states of the country. Central Cottage Industries Emporium at Janpath is meant for the more discerning buyer. A tip for the first time visitor, though – roll up your sleeves and get set to haggle.
Culture and Entertainment
With thousands of people arriving in the city everyday, Delhi makes for a vibrant and dynamic 21st century metropolis. The India International Centre and the India Habitat Centre, located on Lodhi Road, provide the perfect backdrop for ensemble cultural performances.
If you are a foodie, then Delhi is the place to be. Mughlai cuisine, with its array of kebabs and curries, provides a memorable culinary experience. Kareem’s, right opposite Jama Masjid in Old Delhi, is a legendary restaurant – its founders have served as cooks in the royal kitchens of the Mughal emperors. The Bukhara, which serves a lentil preparation by the same name viz. daal bukhara, is a real treat. For those who prefer continental or Italian fare, the Big Chill Cafe, located in the area called East of Kailash, is a great option. Snack at Haldiram’s on Mathura Road or feast on the excellent chaat, dahi paapri and sweet meats available throughout the city.