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Notes on the Geography of Northern India: South Delhi

Although tourists are drawn to Delhi's historic monuments--and guidebooks hardly address anything else--there's also a huge, booming city that's got nothing to do with monuments of old.

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Northern India: South Delhi picture 1

Far out on the city's southern fringe, the wealthy have built hundreds of walled estates known, misleadingly, as "farms."  Here, the gate to one.

Northern India: South Delhi picture 2

Behind the gate, a mansion paid for by sales of school books published by the Mohan Book Depot. The architecture isn't quite up to the viceroy's palace, but the lawn lighting is quite special, marking the landing site for intergalactic travellers.

Northern India: South Delhi picture 3

Closer in, there are many hundreds of apartment buildings for middle-class Indians.

Northern India: South Delhi picture 4

Retailing is still on a comparatively primitive level, even by Asian standards, but the icons and the language are international.

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So are tastes.

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Not what it seems, but the intention is to appeal to an audience that has spent time overseas.

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In Ansal Plaza, Delhi got its first proximal shopping center. The billboard advertises a TV show broadcast between 2002 and 2004 and so approximately dates the photo.

Northern India: South Delhi picture 8

Lessees include Polo, L'Oreal, Gucci, Burberry, and Nike. The McDonald's is one of perhaps 30 in the city.

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