For those in the know, Shahpurjat is a charming urban village in south Delhi, that is a brilliant combination of traditional, timeless village life and a fast-changing designer hub. For those who want to explore this village and learn more about it, a brand new guided walk has started today, the proceeds of which will go to an NGO helping girls and women, so put on your comfortable shoes, get walking and exploring, and do good at the same time.
This walk is a total win-win situation.
I was lucky enough to be asked to “test-walk” the venture, and so can say at first hand that even for a Shahpurjat aficionado like me, I learned loads on the walk. I visited parts of the village I had never seen, and went inside homes and ateliers that I would never ordinarily do.
Well, well worth it.
The organisation behind this walk is called Kamilini, and their mission statement from their website sums up their work :
“Since 2007 Kamalini Vocational Training Centre has empowered hundreds of under- privileged young girls and women in the national capital region by imparting basic education, employment skills and entrepreneurship spirit, to better contribute to their family’s support and boost their self-confidence.”
Their latest fund-raising venture, guided walks through Shahpurjat where their training centre is located, concludes at their offices and workshops, where participants in the walk can see for themselves the training and teaching, and the valuable work being done.
You meet in the village car park, on a Monday morning at 10.30am, for a walk that should take about 90 minutes. You are then free, of course, to retrace your steps and visit all the fabulous boutiques that you will discover, tucked down little lanes.
On the walk you see an ancient monument, the Tohfewala Gumbad (though I can’t guarantee the oh-so-cute new born puppies will be there when you visit) :
You wander through streets, taking in the amazing village ambiance, you visit an atelier, you visit a dyer, you see the remains of the Baradari palace and then you visit a haveli, whose delightfully chatty owner happily shows you her store-rooms, her living room, the communal courtyard – something you would never get to see as a casual visitor.
Ending in the main street of the village, where Kamilini is situated, it is a short stroll – or a long stroll, depending how much window shopping you do – to the car park and starting point.
The organisers thoughtfully give you a small bottle of water.
Since one of the interesting stops is to watch a dyer at work, if you have anything you want dyeing, do take it along with you – seriously.
Participation is Rs 500, which goes directly to Kamilini. You need to register in advance via email :
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Walks will take place every Monday and, upon request, on other days, for a minimum of 4 participants.
Personally & highly recommended.