Paharganj or ‘Pahar Ganj’ literally means ‘Hilly Neighbourhood’ is one of the three main administrative sub districts of Central Delhi. It is situated on the west of the New Delhi Railway Station which is adjacent to Ajmeri Gate. The name of this region was derived from ‘Raisina Hill’ which is located in close proximity to this area and where the Grand Rashtrapati Bhawan stands elegantly.
>Paharganj was once a very significant suburb of ‘Shahjahanabad’ or the ‘Walled City of Delhi’ that was once the Imperial Capital of the Mughal Empire. This area was situated just outside ‘Ajmeri Gate’ which was one of the main Gateways to the Mughal Walled City. Paharganj was in fact one of the 5 main market places of the Mughal city and was the principle grain market of the city. It also housed the administrative Customs division of the Mughal Empire which was the main centre for Tax Collection during the 17th Century AD.
The historical Qazi Wali Mosque famous for its arched doorways, intricate engravings and the Imperial Theatre constructed in 1960; both stand as a testimony to the great ancient architectural skills and legacy of the bygone era of Paharganj.
Post the Mughal reign and after the construction of New Delhi in the 1920s, Paharganj witnessed major development in and around the area. Post partition and Independence, this region witness an influx of migrants and Hindu refugees who fled from Pakistan. The government allotted small shops to each family as assistance and these establishments have grown into a throbbing commercial centre and marketplace today.
During the 1970s, India saw the arrival of the Hippie movement and Paharganj became a regular spot for hippies, backpackers and college students seeking a pocket friendly and budget accommodation close to the main commercial and entertainment hubs of Connaught Place [Rajiv Chowk] and the New Delhi Railway Station. This trail has continued since then and today, this town bustles with visitors and tourists from across the globe including students. This region is filled with affordable lodging, Budget and Cheap Hotels including reasonably priced food in restaurants and Dhabas that have lately started to serve even International cuisines. The place is dotted with international standard Café and Cyber joints making it an ideal place for tourists, visitors and students looking for low budget accommodation and facilities for a convenient settlement.
Paharganj also houses Shelter Homes for street and working children that is operated and run by the ‘Salaam Baalak Trust’. This Trust also initiated the ‘Salaam Baalak City Walk’ in New Delhi and since 2007; it has become one of the main features of this region. The Trust organises guided tours through Paharganj and the New Delhi Railway Station areas wherein former Street Children of this Trust act as the tourist guides as they are well equipped with all the information about the region and its surrounding areas making them the best guides. This ‘Walk’ aims at sensitizing people about the street life of street children and problems within the Indian society. During the ‘Walk’, these children who act as Guides share their personal story of survival with all the participants of the tour and also introduces them to the members of the shelter homes operated and run by the Salaam Baalak Trust.
Paharganj is easily accessible from the Ramakrishnan Ashram Metro Station situated about 1.1 Kms or 5 minutes away. One can also hire taxis and auto rickshaws to and from this region. The region is approximately 21.5 Kms or 42 minutes away from the Indira Gandhi International Airport and 9.1 Kms or 25 minutes away from the Nizamuddin Railway Station. The New Delhi Railway Station is situated very close at a distance of 0.7 Kms or just 3 minutes away while the Old Delhi Railway Station is 6.4 Kms or 17 minutes away.