For all of us who have come to Delhi from other places and found love in the city, there might have been seminal moments that have warmed us up. Think Delhi winters, for instance, and you will know what I am talking about. It is almost exactly the same vibe that you get from the grand old Majnu Ka Tilla (MKT)–the ‘mini Tibet’ in North Delhi that you have probably heard of in every other party.
What I have always found amazing is how, despite being right in the centre of one of the most bustling areas of Delhi, MKT—as those who frequent the place call it—always has a Zen vibe about it. The stretch of Tibetan pickles and an array of eateries, none of which are exorbitant, doesn’t just serve you food, they serve you a vibe that is immediately identifiable with Delhi’s spirit. Yet, at the same time, it can be the exact opposite of what you would find in Delhi’s most popular places.
Perhaps that is what makes it a place that is worth much more than just-food. Siblings Jatin and Kanika Sharma, who run their project Dawat ’e Hind on Instagram, are among an innumerable number of my friends who frequent MKT. As ardent photographers and documentarians, they spend as much of their time in MKT eating, as they do in capturing the people who run the place, and visit it too.
Titas Basu, a Kolkata resident and frequent Delhi visitor, has an apt way to sum up how MKT feels to her. “It is all about the vibe, the calmness, and the riot of colours.” Majnu Ka Tilla, as you can clearly see, brings together individuals from different walks of life. But don’t forget the food here, for that is what amplifies the vibe that MKT personifies. From the legendary Kalsang Restaurant and Nirvana Laphing Centre to the iconic Ama Café and Hornbill, each place here has its own fan following.
It is a festival out there at MKT, every day—if you want it to be. While some would vouch for the chilli pork in the narrow lanes, others would promise you near-heavenly Himalayan fries. There are innumerable favourites, which is what MKT does to you. It can be your safe food hideout, your delicacy destination, or your chase to try food that you would not eat in Delhi every day.
Yet, amid all the diversity, you would find the rarest pickles and the best-steamed momos in the entire city to pick from here—something that everyone who has been to MKT has done at least once. Sure, it is indeed best savoured in the winters, but if you have not taken a trip up to MKT yet, any weekend is a good weekend to finally take the plunge.