Gurgaon, New Delhi

A spectacular modern capital fused with the romantic Old Delhi of emperors past.

Delhi's gusto hits you with full force, but behind its bold exterior lies a city of two halves crammed with ancient and modern treasures. Perennial symbols of British pomp rub shoulders with classic examples of Indo-Islamic architecture and a downright indulgent restaurant and bar scene. Here you'll find kitchens conjuring everything from legendary Rajasthani curries to never-ending north Indian thali meals, mouth-watering tandoori grills, modern European classics and the ubiquitous plastic-wrapped food of multinational chains. It all adds up to a city that makes a spectacular entry point to India, with enough to see and do to quench your thirst for spiritual pursuits, sate the most rampant of cultural appetites, and fill your belly too.

The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi – Opening Quarter 3, 2010

Address: Number 1, MG Road, Gurgaon, Haryana 122002 India.

Phone: (91)(124) 497 7777

City Highlights

Local Overview

One of Delhi's four burgeoning satellite cities and the sixth largest in the state of Haryana, Gurgaon began as the sleepy 'Guru Gram' (guru's village) and has long since been swallowed up by the National Capital Region of India. It's a testament to just how much Delhi has changed since Shah Jahan moved his Mughal capital from Agra to Shahjahanabad back in 1639. The gated, medieval city of Old Delhi it became still brims with old world charm, dominated by the aptly named Red Fort and imposing minaret-flanked domes of Jama Masjid mosque.

The British also thought Delhi the perfect place for a new capital, moving the administrative heart of the Raj from Calcutta in 1911. While the city was designed from scratch just south of Old Delhi, the seven ancient cities that preceded it gave the new capital readymade historic monuments including the Jantar Mantar observatory and the beautifully serene Lodhi Gardens. Officially inaugurated in 1931, the British had just 16 years to enjoy their new city before independence came. The leafy promenades laid out to reflect the might of the Imperial Raj are today lined with foreign embassies, government buildings, gleaming skyscrapers and hip restaurants and bars.

Getting Around

With 12 million people sharing the city, the broad boulevards of Gurgaon, New Delhi really come into their own. Ubiquitous green and yellow auto-rickshaws snake through the city alongside taxis, luxury saloons, weaving mopeds and public and private buses that span Delhi's every cranny, all surveyed by the gentle brown eyes of sacred cows lazily chewing the curb.

While the 2001 introduction of compulsory compressed natural gas (CNG) for all buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws has gone some way in tackling Delhi's legendary pollution levels, those seeking a more calming experience may want to head underground. The recently opened Delhi Metro glides beneath the city in a tide of environmentally friendly efficiency, taking you wherever you want to go for a mere handful of rupees.

Gurgaon itself has a small rail station on the Delhi-Jaipur line, with an extension of the Delhi Metro scheduled to begin serving the city by June 2010 followed by the privately owned Gurgaon Metro Rail Link in early 2012. In the meantime, cabs and buses are cheap and plentiful, hoovering up all 28km of the recently opened Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway in next to no time.

Attractions

Discover the gems of Old Delhi

Created by Shah Jahan as his royal residence, the Red Fort's striking red sandstone walls enclose treasures including the Pearl Mosque and Hayat Bakhsh Bagh (Life Bestowing Garden), as well as the famous covered bazaar of Chatta Chowk. This magnificent fort, also known as 'Lal Qil'ah' was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. And it's easy to see why. A couplet inscribed throughout the palace reads "If there be a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here." Nearby you'll find Old Delhi's other prime attraction: the intricately detailed Jama Masjid. This majestic mosque is the largest in India, with a courtyard that can hold an incredible 25,000 worshippers.

Stroll the King's Way

The spectacular sweeping avenue of Rajpath (literally King's Way) is one of Gurgaon, New Delhi's main arterial roads, hugged by manicured lawns and ponds and home to the Secretariat Buildings, Parliament House and the official residence of the President of India. The promenade is also the setting for the annual Republic Day Parade and the opening scene of the 1982 Academy Award winning film Gandhi.

Rajpath leads up to the spectacular stone arch of India Gate, inscribed with the names of all 90,000 soldiers of the erstwhile British Indian Army who fell during the First World War and Afghan wars. It is also a memorial to the Unknown Soldier, whose tomb is marked by the perpetual flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti.

Bask in architectural beauty

Further afield but easily reachable on a day trip lies the world's most beautiful labour of love: Agra's Taj Mahal. Commissioned by grieving emperor Shah Jahan after the death of his wife in 1631, the faultless symmetry of this white marble mausoleum took 20,000 workers some 20 years to perfect, and was later ruined by the addition of Shah's own tomb in 1666. Legend has it that the Mughal emperor had grand plans to build a replica black sepulchre across the Yamuna River for this very purpose, but sadly, his banishment to Agra Fort prevented them from ever coming to fruition.

Accommodation

The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi – opening Opening Quarter 3, 2010

Strategically situated just 15 minutes from the airport in Gurgaon, New Delhi's emerging business district, our new Westin offers easy access to the offices and shopping malls of Gurgaon and the bustling charms of Delhi. The epitome of five-star Indian hospitality, you'll find innovative eateries from Italian and Pan Asian to our stylish New York bar. All 300 rooms and suites feature a sumptuous Heavenly Bed® and comfortable work area, while our signature WestinWORKOUT gym, tennis court and relaxing pool and spa will ensure you leave feeling better than when you arrived.

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