Paharganj: India's Hippie-Trail by Sudhir Pillai

There is a street near New Delhi’s colonial heart that is a heady cocktail of desi kitsch and global hip. In Paharganj, Russian and Hebrew computer keyboards, Spanish menus and screaming neon signboards coexist with books and posters of Karl Marx and the Dalai Lama, and rudraksha strings. This is the first brush with India for the budget-tourist.

The place, with its riot of colors and images is a natural semiotic inspiration for the artist. It is a collision of what is quintessentially Indian and the nirvana-seeking universe of Lonely Planet.

It is an ever-changing secret corner, and a world unto itself that is frozen in tourist guide books. Located in the heart of India’s hippie-trail, Paharganj is where all the stereotypes of the world come together – the bewildered budget tourist, the pushy, can-do Indian tout, cameras aimed at beggars and cows, and shopkeepers speaking several tongues.

For the beleaguered back-packers, Paharganj is home.

Realistic paintings in oil and acrylic on canvas.

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