When you think of India, you might think of the Taj Mahal, delicious food, holy Varanasi, and bustling Mumbai. But what definitely doesn’t come to mind is street art. However, street art is rapidly changing the streets of India. All thanks to the St+Art India Foundation, a non-profit organization that is working hard to introduce street art to more cities in India. Their aim to make streets more interactive through urban art. During my trip to India, I joined a street art tour to explore Lodhi Colony, the heart of New Delhi street art. In this blog post, I’ll show you the best street art in Lodhi Art District, New Delhi.
Lodhi Colony – the 1st open-air art district in India
Lodhi Colony is one of the quietest neighborhoods in Delhi. Apart from some autorickshaws, I didn’t see any cars driving around. And the best thing: no honking! It was so serene, which is a pretty big contrast to crazy Old Delhi. Originally, Lodhi Colony was built to house government employees. Delhi has more of these government colonies spread out through the city. However, Lodhi Colony stands out, because it has a special type of architecture. Each block has a large front with four windows and an arched doorway in the middle. This is the reason why artists love working in this area: the walls provide easy canvases to create huge murals. Moreover, Lodhi has a couple of not-so-typical Delhi features: wide streets, everything is symmetrical and it is pedestrian-friendly. And it’s located in the center of Delhi!
Join a street art tour or go on a self-guided walk
The first Lodhi Street Art Festival took place in 2016. Every year, new pieces have been added. Today, Lodhi has over 50 murals and more than 25 international artists worked in the area. To learn more about Delhi’s street art, I decided to join a street art tour with Seek Sherpa. Together with a young student (and aspiring artist), we walked from metro station Jorbagh to Khanna Market and we literally saw colossal murals everywhere. I strongly believe that a curated tour will help to learn so much more about the artists and messages. However, you can also easily walk around Lodhi yourself as the layout of the streets is pretty straight forward. Most street art can be found in the area between Khanna Market and Meherchand Market. Use the map at the end of this blog post to navigate. I don’t know who made it, but great work!
Update: I don’t think Seek Sherpa is running this tour anymore. However, St+Art India Foundation also hosts guided tours on Sundays, from September to March.
Social themed street art
Another thing I liked about Lodhi’s street art: it presents a picture of where India stands today on certain topics. I saw murals about the progress of women’s rights, the selfie generation, and climate change. I especially liked the mural of NEVERCREW with the colorful meteorite and the small astronaut. The astronaut is a metaphor for a person who can see things from a different perspective. Another mural I liked was the painting of the Kathakali dancers. The two heads represent the old and the new generation (see photo header).
Other interesting neighbourhoods in New Delhi:
- Hauz Khas Enclave: busier than Lodhi Colony. This is a popular area with a lot of restaurants, boutique shops and coffee bars. You also have a pedestrian zone here which is nice, because India doesn’t have a lot of pedestrian areas.
- Safdarjung Enclave: also a colony area, but founded by the real estate developers in the sixties. Today it is residential area. Our apartment was here and that was nice, because it was a quiet area. The only downfall is that Safdarjung is pretty far from a metro station.
Where to sleep in New Delhi?
New Delhi is huge! So make sure that you choose your hotel carefully and ideally choose one that is close to a metro station. This way you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic with your taxi. OYO Hotels is the largest hotel brand in India. Click here for an overview of the OYO hotels in New Delhi.
Have you been to Lodhi Colony or Delhi in general? And are you a fan of street art?
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