The secret lane of Delhi – Champagali

I was curious to explore this new found secret of Delhi called Champagali. My first reaction was where am I? As I walked further I found that there was no space at all and all I could see was a bunch of cars parked. Nevertheless I walked through and to my amazement I finally came across a bright little enchanting lane. Instantly taken back where to a Parisian passage filled with pebbles underneath my feet as I walked down. The lane was dotted with various colorful outlets displaying creative boards with funky names.

People Tree was my first stop, a vibrant looking store with a very big mural of a pig greeting you (designed last year for the Jaipur Literature Festival). A very interesting mix of things from quirky wear, creative accessories, fridge magnets on different parts of India with significance to flora & fauna, 63 piece jigsaw puzzle on Odisha paintings, wooden toys as takeaways and a whole collection of what I would like to call a different read. My favorite was the differently designed cushions, such as a Kathakkali dancer and Goddess Kali. The store extends to a huge hall where I mixed with a bunch of young people working together in the People Tree Workshop. I saw interesting murals of cows, funky scare crow and English countryside farmer women, along with others. One can also visit a garment & mural workshop and try their hands at creating something themselves.

After that I ventured ahead to Jugmug Thela, a café with a fine collection of teas and coffee. I loved the peace and quiet in there and found time to write in my book. I found an interesting collection of Tea Spices and vintage kettles to be picked up off the shelf. Right opposite this café is the Readers Room which is perfect to have discussions and spend time. RR stands for Renu & Rekha, two sisters making gift items for the past twenty years. The shop displays a mix of different things one can choose from; my favorite was Bollywood inspired hand printed bags.

Every corner of Champagali has something different but a hideout for likeminded people. I had a great experience meeting a local team in a store called Jugaad – vocational training and income generation arm of Karm Marg – a home for street children. The patchwork and newspaper bags, up cycled stationery and clothes of Jugaad generate up to 40% of Karam Marg’s expenses.

It had been over an hour and I was craving for a bite. I found Blue tokai, a well-lit airy café which has a live coffee roasting room that holds brewing session once a month. This place is heaven for especially a coffee lover .I loved their open sitting area which had a very chill vibe and enjoyed there yummy glazed Carrot French toast with a dollop of whipped cream & hazelnuts. Do not skip the Morelos, which I nearly missed, famous for its delicious shakes. The owner holds monthly salsa nights which is a big hit.

Champagali is open on all days and a perfect place to visit after your sightseeing at Qutub Minar.

By: Mallyka Singh

Mallyka is our explorer-in-residence, our newest member at the Destination Knowledge Centre.

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