Majnu-ka-Tilla: Shop And Savour At Delhi's 'Mini Tibet'

Did you know that Majnu-ka-Tilla has a gurdwara where Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh Guru, stayed after hearing about Iranian mystic Abdulla's (Majnu) selfless devotion to God?
Representative image. Credit Wikimedia Commons
Representative image. Credit Wikimedia Commons

Be it the Meena Bazaar in Old Delhi or the parathe wali gali in Chandni Chowk, the vibrant clusters attract visitors from worldwide for their versatility. Among these many historical clusters, Majnu-ka-Tilla (MKT) in North Delhi stands out for its Tibetan roots. Translating to "the hillock of Majnu," named after an Iranian Sufi mystic Abdulla, who enchanted people with his preaching during Sikandar Lodhi's reign, Delhi's 'Mini Tibet' has many layers to it. 

As you enter its winding, narrow lanes, you will be fascinated by its quaint vibe. The robe-clad lamas, Buddhist monasteries and Tibetan prayer flags will validate why the site is a Tibetan hub. The footfall essentially comprises college-going students who come here in groups to explore its many cafes and thrift stores. 

Where & What To Eat 

Begin your exploration of MKT by grabbing a bite of the traditional snack, laphing, at Tenzing Aunty's kiosk, located right at the monastery and, therefore, not difficult to spot at all. These yellow, gelatinous mung bean noodle rolls are spicy and have a slight bite to them. Depending on your preference, you can either have it dipped in a broth or dry&mdasha plate costs between Rs 30 to 50. 

Next, stop by AMA Cafe&ndasha favourite among college students and youngsters who live nearby. It is just the perfect place to grab small bites or sip on a hot brew of your choice. If you have a sweet tooth, their banana muffin and mud cake are a hit. 

Suppose you want to relish authentic Tibetan dishes. In that case, you can save a trip to AMA Cafe for later and head to Dolma House, Ama Restaurant, Tee-Dee, Koko Restaurant or Himalayan Restaurant. Each of them lies a few steps ahead of each other and can be easily spotted. Order classics like tingmo and thukpa without any hesitation, and they might be the best you have tasted in Delhi. If your appetite allows it, also consider ordering their Tibetan platters, available in vegetarian and non-vegetarian, with an array of traditional dishes. 

Shop Local

If you want to up your fashion game and refresh your closet with the latest trends without burning a hole in your pocket, MKT is where you need to be. There are several thrift stores tucked away in the narrow lanes, where you can bag the most fashion-forward clothes, accessories and footwear. If you look hard enough, you can even get your hands on thrifted clothes or rejects from really high end brands. If you're all about channeling a boho vibe, then you can also find beautiful silver jewellery at a steal. 

'Koja' For Korean Fans

In the last two years, Korean culture has stolen many hearts in the capital and elsewhere. If you count yourself to be one of them, then at MKT is your dreamland&ndasha shop named Koja that sells everything Korean. From Kimchi noodles, rice cakes to chilli oil, you can find all your favourite Korean ingredients and foods, in addition to cute knick-knacks, stationery items, etc. 

Visit Monasteries And The Historical Gurdwara

Before signing off from this colourful market, spend some time at the monasteries here. The yellow gongs, architecture, and serene silence make for perfect captures. Another attraction here is the old gurdwara, where Guru Nanak Dev is believed to have stayed in 1505. Known as "Majnu Ka Tilla Sahib," the gurdwara is situated on a "tilla" (mound) alongside the Yamuna River, marking Nanak Dev's visit here to bless Iranian mystic Abdulla (Majnu) for his selfless act of ferrying people for free on his boat.

Location: Majnu-ka-Tilla, New Aruna Nagar, Delhi

How To Reach: Vidhan Sabha and Vishwavidyalaya, on the yellow line, are the nearest stations. Hail an auto from here to reach the main gate of the market.

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