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Basant Lok – a guided tour

(Eicher page 127, grid reference C1)

Basant Lok – or “Priya”, as some call it after the cinema – is an increasingly popular shopping area for Delhiites living in the south-western parts of the city, and is handily placed for the diplomatic enclave and the other expat ghettos in that area.

Go down the central walkway and take a first right. Adidas is on the corner, then Sugar and Spice bakery, which also sells Baskin & Robbins Ice Cream. Next you’ll find Modern Bazaar – one of Delhi’s best “supermarkets”. Just about everything is available here, albeit at a high price: smoked salmon, food colouring, dried and tinned goods, fish and meat. They’ve got the lot. Modern Bazaar also had the cheapest imported turkey I could find on the local market around Christmas time.

Go back to the central walkway and take the next right turn further down to Osaba Emporium on the left. This is THE place for household goods – pots and pans, bakeware, tableware, plastic items, and much more. Next door is a Barista coffee shop – where the only thing you should inhale is the fresh aroma of coffee – not recommended for smokers!

Back on the main walkway, on the right you’ll find a Priya cinema complex, and further down on the left, a Standard Chartered ATM, a computer hardware shop, and a Mövenpick ice cream shop. Straight ahead is TGI Friday (the same here as anywhere else – loud music and full of teenagers).

Continuing our clockwise tour, return back along the main walkway. Take a right down the spur (ie we’re now doing the other side of the main walkway, so it’s on the left from where we started). On your right is Ferns ‘N’ Petals, an excellent florist’s which makes good dried floral arrangements. You can tell them your colour preferences etc and they’ll make to order. Fresh flowers at street level, go down to the basement for the artifical arrangements.

Proceed along to the Oberoi Charcuterie, also on the right, which sells imported meat, fish and cheese. It’s pricy but great for a treat.

Across the way from here is a Chemist which sells health and fitness goods as well as perfumes, toiletries including tampons, small domestic appliances, hair dye, and if that’s not enough for you, there’s always sex appeal spray for men for only Rs 575.

Go right down to the end of this spur and you’ll come out at a circle of shops, but there’s not much here, apart from the Woodland shoe shop. There’s also a branch of the Nirula’srestaurant chain, which offers a free home delivery service as well.

Return to the main walkway and head back to where you started, you’ll find plenty of upmarket shops, including Benetton, and Planet Sports, selling clothing, sports goods and books. One particularly good bookshop is the Om Bookshop, which has a wide range of the latest books. They also have a branch at South Extension which deals more with technical/business books.

If you’re hungry, you can try Pizza Hut or back at square one, you’ll find McDonald’s directly opposite Adidas on the other front corner of the main walkway. I had a veggie burger with cheese from there which would have been better described as a green pea burger. Perhaps the McAloo Tikki burger would have been better. Hmmm.

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