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Delhi Art and Culture


It is almost impossible to separate Delhi from its Art and Culture. Being the centre of the nation has also made Delhi the cultural capital which not only boasts of many museums and art galleries but also plays host to a lot of events involving visual and performing arts.

Interestingly, the styles and forms of craftsmanship took on the personality of many of the rulers, under their patronage. Around the middle of the 17th century, the mughals ascended the throne and under many of their rulers, Delhi flourished as a centre for art and craft.

Akbar was well known for his contribution to the arts and craft. He built an extensive library of books on many subjects, and his capital city at Fatehpursikri still stands as a monumental example of mughal architecture. Miniature paintings under Akbar were more aggressive and action oriented while under his son, Jahangir, they took on peaceful hues and calmer subjects.


In the ancient days, rulers and common men looked upon craft as a means to better their lives. Thus we have stories about how the mughal rulers imported craftsmen from Persia to weave their favorite carpets. Carpet weavers from Iran and Turkistan were also brought down to India and separate workshops and dwelling established for them, under the rule of Akbar. The mughals also brought in the Islamic style and form to many old Indian crafts. Stone craft, carpet weaving and metal craft are among some of the crafts that evolved a unique style under Islamic influence . This helped evolve a unique Indo-Islamic style of architecture, metal craft and carpet weaving.

Architecture is another area where the mughals left their mark. Monuments like the red fort, the Jama Masjid, the Qutub Minor and some of the city's finest gardens stand testimony to the lasting influence of mughal rule over India.

Delhi saw almost seven generations of mughul rule before the advent of the britishers. Britishers too contributed liberally to the architecture, leading to numerous architectural masterpieces. Old Delhi was the capital of mughul India while new Delhi is the creation of the british raj.

Delhi is unique in that it has representative outlets for the handicrafts of each Indian state. This in it self presents a staggering array of goods, and at very affordable prices. In the last decade there has been a dramatic change in Delhi's markets. Upwardly mobile lifestyle has led to greater sophistication in display and upgrading of various markets in terms of availability of items Delhi- the capital of India, reflects the cultural diversity and religious unity of India. It is difficult to define the culture and religion of India. As there is a continuous inflow of people from all parts of India, the cultural diversity is very prominent. Being an ancient city Delhi has the shadows of its past. It is said that the Delhi is losing its charm but still the glory of the past looms large its life-style. Delhi might be changing with time it has always done so but it has never shelved the past. There are discos for youngsters to swing their body through out the night, but still the Quwallies at the Nizamuddin Shrine floats in the air, the silence of the night is broken by the Prabhat ferries and the singing of Gurbani (the verses from the Granth Sahaib), the bells in the temples still tells about God being every where, the Sunday masses in Churches still attract the otherwise busy residents of India. People take a break from the hurried life during the ancient fairs and festivals like 'Phoolwalo-Ki-Sair which are still oraganised in traditional way.

The city fares well on the cultural front. A range of indoor and outdoor venues host performances of classical dance such as Bharatnatyam and Kathakali; one Sunday a month a classical concert is held free of charge in Nehru Park - but you'll have to be there very early to get in. Check any of the listings magazines we've detailed to see what's on at India International Centre, a good place to catch art exhibitions, lectures and films on all aspects of Indian culture and environment. The colossal new India Habitat Centre, the British Council and the art and theatre auditoria around India Gate are all renowned for their innovative shows and high-standard drama in both Hindi and English mediums.

  Auditorium (Cultural Centres)

  Abhimanch
  NSD, Bahawalpur House, Bhagwandas Road.
  Ambedkar Auditorium
  1, Ashok Rd., Ph:3389182
  AIFACS Auditorium
  Rafi Marg,.Ph:3711315
  Air Force Auditorium
  Subroto Park Ph:3292834, 3035590.
  American Centre
  24, Kasturba Gandhi Marg., Ph: 3316341
  Alliance Francaise
  D 13, NDSE-II, Ph: 6258128
  Bipin Chandra Pal Memorial Auditorium
  A-81, Chittaranjan Park.
  British Council Division
  17, K.G. Marg., Ph: 3710111/7306.
  Chamber Theatre
  Triveni Kala sangam, 205, Tansen Marg., Near Bengali Mkt. Ph: 3718833.
  Delhi Music Society
  8, Nayaya Marg, Chanakyapuri, Ph: 6115331.
  Falaknuma & Hansdhwani
  Pragati Maidan., Ph: 3317824.
  FICCI Golden Jubilee Auditorium
  Tansen Marg., Ph: 3357369.
  Gandhi Memorial Hall
  2, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Ph: 3311049.
  Ghalib Auditorium
  Mata Sundari Lane, Ph: 3236518/2583.
  Godrej Pirojsha National Conservation Centre
  172-B, Lodi Estate, Ph: 4693744.
  Hungarian Cultural Centre
  1A, Janpath, Ph: 3011152.
  ICCR Auditorium
  Azad Bhavan, I.P. Estate, Ph: 3319310.
  India Habitat Centre
  Lodhi Road, Ph: 4691920.
  India International Centre
  40, Lodhi Estate, Max mueller Marg, Ph : 4619431.
  ITPO
  Pragati Maidan, Ph: 3371347/1407.
  Italian Cultural Centre
  2 Golf Links, Ph: 4627808.
  Japan Cultural Centre
  32 Feroze Shah Rd., Ph: 3329803, 37122124.
  Kamani Auditorium
  Copernicus Marg, Ph: 3388084.
  Lalit Kala Akademi
  35, Feroze Shah Rd., Rabindra Bhavan , Ph: 3387241/42/43.
  LTG Auditorium
  Copernicus Marg, Ph:3389713, Timing : 6:30 pm.
  Max Mueller Bhavan
  3, K.G.Marg, Ph : 3329506.
  Mavalankar Auditorium
  Rafi Marg, Ph: 3719780 / 1849.
  Portuguese Cultural Centre
  70, Lajpat Ngr-III, Ph: 6830094.
  Russian Cultural Centre
  24, , Feroze Shah Marg Ph: 3329102.
  Sahitya Akademi
  Rabindra Bhavan ,Ph: 3387064.
  Sangeet Natak Akademi
  Rabindra Bhavan , 35, Feroze Shah Rd. Ph: 3387248.
  Sapru House
  Barakhamba Rd. Ph: 3319055.
  Siri Fort
  Asian Village Complex, Ph: 6493370.
  Shri Ram Centre
  Mandi House, Safdar Hashmi Marg, Ph: 3714307.
  Studio Theatre
  National School of Drama, Bhawalpur House ,Ph:3712821.
  Tagore Hall
  ICCR, Azad Bhavan, I.P. Estate, Ph: 3319309 / 1386.
  Teen Murti Auditorium
  Teen Murti House, Ph: 3015026,3015333.
  Vigyan Bhavan
  Maulana Azad Rd., Ph: 3022182.
  AIFACS Auditorium
  Rafi Marg,. Ph:3711315.
  Akshara Theatre
  11B, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Ph: 3364326 / 1075, 3732083.
  American Centre
  24, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Ph: 3316841.
  Alliance Francaise
  D 13 NDSE-II, Ph: 6258128.
  Australia -India Council (AIC)
  1/50 G, Shantipath, Ph: 6888223 / 5556, Fax: 6882732.
  British Council Division
  17, K.G. Marg., Ph: 3711401.
  Chamber Theatre
  Triveni Kala sangam, 205, Tansen Marg., Near Bengali Mkt., Ph: 3718833.
  Hungarian Cultural Centre
  1A, Janpath, Ph: 3011152.
  ICCR Auditorium
  Azad Bhavan, I.P. Estate, Ph: 3319309/10, 3312463.
  India Habitat Centre
  Lodhi Road, Ph: 4691920 / 21.
  India International Centre
  40, Lodhi Estate, Max mueller Marg, Ph : 4619431.
  Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts
  CV Mess, Janpath, Ph: 3389216
  Iran Culture House
  18, Tilak Marg, Ph: 3383232.
  Israel Cultural Centre
  3, Aurangzeb Road, Ph: 3013238.
  Italian Cultural Centre
  50 E, Chandragupta Marg, Ph: 6871901.
  ITPO
  Pragati Maidan, Ph: 3371347/1407, Italian Cultural Centre, 2 Golf Links, Ph: 4627808.
  Japan Cultural Centre
  32 Feroze Shah Rd., Ph: 3329838.
  Kamani Auditorium
  Copernicus Marg, Ph: 3388084.
  Kathak Kendra
  Bahawalpur House, Bhagwandas Road, Ph: 3385065/8681.
  Lalit Kala Akademi
  35, Feroze Shah Rd., Rabindra Bhavan , Ph: 3387241/42/43.
  LTG Auditorium
  Copernicus Marg, Ph:3389713.
  Max Muller Bhavan
  3, K.G.Marg, Ph : 3329506.
  National School of Drama
  Bahawalpur House, Ph: 3382821.
  NSD Repertory Company
  Rabindra Bhavan, Ph: 3383420.
  Portuguese Cultural Centre
  13, Sunder Nagar, Ph: 4602695.
  Russian Cultural Centre
  24, , Feroze Shah Marg, Ph: 3329102.
  Sahitya Akademi
  Rabindra Bhavan ,Ph: 3386626.
  Sahitya Kala Parishad
  18 A, Satsang Vihar Marg, Special Institutional Area (near JNU), Ph: 6867636/7.
  Sangeet Natak Akademi
  Rabindra Bhavan , 35, Feroze Shah Rd. Ph: 3387246.
  Siri Fort
  Asian Village Complex, Ph: 6493370.
  Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra
  1, Copernicus Marg, Ph: 3386428 / 9.
  Shri Ram Centre
  Mandi House, Safdar Hashmi Marg, Ph: 3714307.
  Studio Theatre
  National School of Drama, Bhawalpur House ,Ph:3712821.
  The Japan Foundation
  10, Jor Bagh, Ph: 4652962/3.
  Triveni Kala Sangam
  205, Tansen Marg, Ph: 3718833.

Cinemas

After gloriously hyped releases, Bollywood movies make their way to the capital where there is passionate enthusiasm for burly heroes and red-lipped maidens. If you're interested in enjoying a classic Indian experience, the best cinemas to head for are the Regal, Odeon and Plaza in Connaught Place. All show popular films with the compulsory goodies and baddies, a generous dose of manly courage and shy love, much singing and dancing, and happy endings. An alternative branch of Bollywood has recently emerged, producing films in English that ooze attitude, with sex scenes and lots of designer wear. Suburban cinemas, such as the Priya in Vasant Vihar, the Chanakya in Chanakyapuri and the PVR Anupam in Saket, provide a diet of relatively recent Hollywood films (in English, with Hindi subtitles) with digital surround sound and superb popcorn. In addition, many of the cultural centres we've listed run international film festivals.