All of us in Delhi-NCR were pretty curious & excited when this hangout place first opened. I knew I’ll go here someday and kept it in my bucket list to be considered later. Finally, we visited it.
I should begin by telling you what exactly this place is. Basically, this is a huge palace like structure which has two major attractions – a culture gully and a theater to showcase musical plays. What’s the culture gully, you ask? On a very basic level, it’s a food court along with shops selling knick-knacks, touristy stuff like in malls, you know. But what makes it special is that it is built in the form of a real street and on this street are the various restaurants, shops and stand-alone food stalls, all representing different states of India. One moment, you are crossing Mumbai Central and the next moment, you are standing outside a temple from Chennai. 🙂 Also, there is some sort of entertainment going on this street, all the time. Either it would be folk dances, or Bollywood dances or a cricket match getting screened. The architecture is just too special (and, of course, unique). About the theater, I have got to say only two things. First, everyone who has visited any of the two musicals (known as ‘Zangoora-The Gypsy Prince’ and ‘Jhumroo’) has raved about it and has rated it as gorgeous, ethereal and a must watch. As per them, the musicals are more awesome than everything else at this place. So, that means that they are just way too awesome 😀 . Second thing is that I couldn’t watch any of the musicals 😛 as they were houseful at that time and they are pretty costly too.
Now coming back to the place that I visited, the Culture Gully. It’s an experience in itself. When you enter, you are welcomed by an artificial blue sky, with a Punjabi restaurant and a truck on one side and a quaint Chinese restaurant on the other. And too many people :/. That is the only bad thing about this place. Anyway, as you move forward, you are overwhelmed by what all this gully (street) has in store for you. There is a Goan restaurant, a Chennai/ Chettinad restaurant, a Lucknowi restaurant, a magician, artists, souvenir shops representing North-East, Mumbai, the Rajasthani puppets, the Mumbai Central station, Kathakali and what not along with regular food stalls from Kerala, Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai and what not 🙂 . There is a bridge that takes you to the first floor where are all the cosmopolitan places. There is a book store, a coffee shop, a spa, a palmist and what not. What I found innovative was that it has two bars, one of which is IIFA (Bollywood awards) themed, done up in a very modern way and the other one is a typical shamiyana (old royal Indian drinking places or bars). The old style one is B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. I can’t tell you how gorgeous I found it. It was completely palace-like and done up entirely in rich purple. How royal! If you love bar-hopping or drinking, you would fall in love with this gorgeous place more than me.
Few things to take note of:
- How entry works: You buy a ticket or use a member’s card. You can use that card or the ticket to buy food and souvenirs etc. As a fresh entrant to the culture gully, you have to use up the entire amount of your card or ticket, else it’ll go waste. However, if you use up your fresh ticket amount and still recharge the card again inside the gully and are not able to use that up entirely, it can be used a second time.
- I honestly don’t remember the ticket price but I guess it is 750 INR per person on weekends and 600 INR on weekdays. If you have a member’s card, this price gets halved. 😉 For the seats of the musicals, the cheapest ticket costs 1000 INR or 1500 INR (not sure).
- If you plan to visit here, get hold of a member’s card. Someone you know in Delhi-NCR would definitely have it. Once you are inside, you can get one made for yourself. It will be sent to you by courier later.
- At most of the food stalls or restaurants, food might be average (and over-priced). But then we are going for the overall experience and the architecture, right?
- I have heard really good things about the Lucknowi restaurant. More than everything else, I love the ambiance. Everything done up in Lucknow old school style and qawwalis (Sufi music popular in Lucknow) being performed, it makes for a very enchanting dine-out experience.
- This place is VERY crowded. Try going on the weekdays, if possible? (It is in Gurgaon, by the way).
In the end, I want to say this: Highly recommended! 😀 For the architecture, the experience, the overwhelming beauty. 🙂