Dance, Theater, and Music

Dances of India

One-hour evening performance showcasing a wide array of regional dances from around the nation including bharatanatyam, bhangra, Kathakali, Manipuri, and Odissi. Tickets cost $5. Parsi Anjuman Hall, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg; tel. 91 11 2623 4689.

Habitat World (India Habitat Centre)

One of India’s premier performing arts centers featuring dance, music, and theatrical shows (consult website for monthly program). Also hosts art exhibitions, select films, and expert lectures. Lodhi Road; tel. 91 11 2468 2222.

India International Centre

High-profile cultural center for local and international dance, music, and dramatic performances. Also known for lively discussion forums (from literary readings to socio-political debates) and art exhibitions. 40 Max Mueller Marg; tel. 91 11 2461 9431.

Sangeet Natak Akademi

Inaugurated in 1953, this is one of independent India’s first performing arts centers, established to preserve and promote the country’s music, dance, and drama heritage. See website for event details. Rabindra Bhavan, Ferozeshah Rd.; tel. 91 11 2338 7246.

Shri Ram Center For Performing Arts

Operating since 1976; focuses on Hindi theater although there are some English plays. Varied program of Indian regional theatrical and musical performances. Committed to nurturing experimental theatrics. 4 Safdar Hashmi Marg; tel. 91 11 2371 4307.


Hookah Bar & Lounge

Puff on a fruity (22 flavors including grape, cherry, and apple) sheesha pipe at this trendy South Delhi lounge-bar. Great drinks selection and delish Mediterranean snacks. Easy-going music and clientele. 1 Basant Lok, Vasant Vihar; tel. 91 11 4166 3522.


Hidden away in South Delhi is this voguish lounge-bar offering a spectacular beverage list; attracts well-heeled locals. Subtle lighting, hip music, Asian fusion cuisine, and choice of fine Cuban cigars. B-24, 1st Floor, Priya Complex, Basant Lok, Vasant Vihar; tel. 91 11 4166 9778.


“Classy pubbing. Dramatic, circular expanse of three-level lounging, dining, and sipping, on comfy couches or at the terrace under a star-spangled sky.”—Swaati Chattopadhyay, writer, First City. Swanky downtown bar; irregular live music. E-42-43 (first floor), Connaught Place; tel. 91 11 5151 2888.


“Hobnob with Delhi’s society clique over killer Singapore Slings and Oriental snacks.”—Sanjay Singh Badnor, journalist, Times of India. Lounge music; DJ Wednesday to Saturday from 10:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Taj Mahal Hotel, 1 Mansingh Road; tel. 91 11 2302 6162.

Shalom Med Lounge Bar

“It’s all about atmosphere, muslin curtains and candles on dark wood. And Delhi’s beautiful people.”—Shabani Hassanwalia, writer, First City. Calming Mediterranean-inspired retreat. Tip: Sample the watermelon caprioshka and mezze platter. N-18, N-Block Market, Greater Kailash I; tel. 91 11 4163 2280.



October/November (depending on Indian lunar calendar). Five-day Hindu “Festival of Lights.” Candles are lit to symbolically guide Lord Rama home from exile; fireworks; gifts (especially sweets) are exchanged.


September or October (determined by Indian lunar calendar). Hindu festival marks Lord Rama’s triumph over the wicked demon, Ravana. Effigies of Ravana are set alight and theatrical performances take place.


February or March (depending on Indian lunar calendar). Hindu festival celebrating the arrival of spring. People joyfully throw colored powder. Tip: Don’t wear good clothes. Bonfires lit on the evening before Holi symbolize the demise of the demon, Holika.

Republic Day

January 26. Massive military parade (and folk dances) along Rajpath to mark India’s becoming a republic on this day in 1950. Celebrations conclude three days later with the dramatic, military focused “Beating of the Retreat.”


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