delhi travel


The Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden, or Elephant Park, as fondly known by the locals, is a political memorial garden. Today, the residents of Noida don’t think much of the political past of the place and view it as an ideal weekend getaway.

Hugging Delhi in the east like a little sister lies the bustling city of Noida. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority or NOIDA for short is a satellite city of the national capital, often overlooked because of its flashier cousins like Delhi and Gurgaon. Set up as part of an urbanization push during the Emergency period, the quaint suburbs of Noida have long been steeped in politics. Today, DUB Travels is going to take you along to this budding megacity neighbor in NCR. 

When traveling to Noida from Delhi, one of the most preferred routes is the DND (Delhi Noida Direct) Flyway which traverses the serene banks of river Yamuna. One of the first sights when you enter Noida, besides the gigantic statue of Lord Buddha as an ode to the Gautam Buddha Nagar district the city lies in, is a sprawling park speckled with sandstone figurines. For most Noida residents, this park holds a core childhood memory of sunny picnics and refreshing fountains. 

The Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden, or Elephant Park, as fondly known by the locals, is a memorial garden. It was commissioned by former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mayawati, at the height of her political glory in the state. Spread over 33 acres of land, the park is dotted with idols who devoted their lives to social justice and equality such as Sant Kabir, Bhimrao Ambedkar, and Jyotiba Phule. Among these social reformers are also busts of Kanshi Ram and Mayawati herself, surrounded by 24 eighteen-foot-high elephant statues (no points for guessing that Elephants are the symbol of Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party). 

Accusations had been flung far and wide over the construction of the memorial with the Opposition calling the CM a “megalomaniac” and “waster of tax-payer money”. Despite several roadblocks, the garden was inaugurated in 2011, drawing thousands of visitors in its heyday. However, as power shifted hands in the legislative, the park was left in a dilapidated state with certain statues cornered off. Today, the residents of Noida don’t think much of the political past of the place and view it as an ideal weekend getaway. Despite the lack of maintenance, nature thrives in the tree-line boulevard and rundown fountains, an idyllic retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.

As I sit under the shady canopy, gazing at the statues which look like mere dots on the horizon, I can’t help but think about the past. There will come a new generation of park enjoyers who might have no idea about what had happened. There is something about this last remaining bastion of a bygone era of state politics that makes one ponder about the tide of democracy – a vibrant political arena forgone in favor of the current scenario. In its wake remain these age-less statues, stories etched in sandstone. How long before the next wave washes them away? 

Read Also: The Home Conundrum, and the Battle of Graduating.

Featured Image Credits: TripAdvisor

Bhavya Nayak 

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Visitor’s say it’s polluted, messy and always so crowded but have you ever asked a Delhite? They would probably talk about comfort in the chaos. A million people and unspoken stories, small happenings and heartwarming feelings all reside here.

If you’re planning to take a day off from classes and go around exploring, this might just be the most authentic way to experience Dilli, a local’s tried and tested guide.

1. Start from the campus
Both North and South Campus are home to the top colleges of the city; and of course, the top eateries. The canteens of the colleges are famous for their savories, often popularized by Bollywood films. Have some chai at the hangout spots like Sudama’s Tea Stall set up on the University bylines. You can also head to seminars being held in colleges or participate in the events, specially with fest season around the corner.

Tip: Do not forget to carry your college ID card. The guards won’t listen otherwise, you know.
2. Head to Majnu ka Tilla
Majnu ka Tilla, or Aruna Nagar is a Tibetan settlement in North Delhi, known for its quaint little cafes, bakeries, boutiques and souvenir stores, it is home to multiple monasteries and a huge Tibetan market. To get there, take the yellow line metro and get off at the Vidhan Sabha metro station. A rickshaw ride later, you will find yourself in streets that smell like the coffee your body so desperately needs. The streets have pretty architecture that can add up to your Instagram aesthetics.

Tip: Talk to the locals there and not just for directions. They have great stories to tell.

3. Explore Chandni Chowk
Chaotic and unbelievably busy, Chandi Chowk in Old Delhi is often recognised as Delhi’s retail market. It is hub to a number of food places, jewelry shops and clothing items. You can also find some unique and hand-crafted stationery and accessories. Visit the Jama Masjid, Lal Mandir and Sis Ganj Sahib Gurudwara and witness the religious harmony co-exist. Grab some lunch in Paranthe wali Gali and put that tick on your checklist.

Tip: Keep notes of Rs10 and 20 handy with you and commute through e-rickshaws. Enjoy the hustle bustle of the street at its fullest.

4. Spend the evening cycling at Lodhi Colony
Started in 2016 and officially inaugurated in 2019, Lodhi Colony is India’s first public art district. The walls and bylines are adorned with beautiful art and graffiti, providing visual delight, and making the ride extremely pleasant. Rent the cycles from Jor Bagh Metro Station Gate No.1 for Rs 60 for an hour. There are theatre nearby so you can also watch a play at Indian Habitat Center or Lok Kalayan Manch.

Tip: Chauhan Ji’s chhole bhature are quite the ‘World’ famous here. Just in case you had some space left in your stomach.

5. End the day at India Gate
This place is always brimming with picnickers and vendors selling ice cream, bhelpuri, fruit chaat, soft drinks, packaged food, colourful toys and so much more. While it does seem to be pretty cliched, a night visit here must be on top of all the to-do-in-Delhi lists. Surrounded by grassy lawns, the 42 metres tall monument is brilliantly lit every evening. At a closer look you’ll find the names of brave martyrs engraved all over its surface.

Tip: Play some Rang De Basanti music, the vibe is always worth it.

Feature Image Credits: D for Delhi

Aishwaryaa Kunwar
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