Champa Gali – Delhi’s Secret Cultural Hub

Except for a Tata Nano painted in peculiar patterns of fluorescent colours, usually parked on the side of the street, not much catches the eye when you enter Lane No. 3 of Saidulajab, a village in Saket. In fact, it may seem like the odd-looking Nano is the only thing of any significance, if at all, in that area. But extending not very far in from there is Champa Gali, a street born six months ago, which has now become a hideout of like-minded people. It houses a cafe with an on-site roastery, design studio, creative workshops and will soon have a pop-up street-style tea stall. The fountainheads of the concept behind the street – Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters, People Tree, Jugaad Trust, Jugmug Thela, Jamura Design Lab and Eastman Works – have turned it into an alley of entrepreneurs and social enterprises that come together to give freedom to thought. A place where a niche crowd clusters together to celebrate, create, socialize and be a part of a like-minded community, hitting it off and spreading good vibes.

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Though Champa Gali has usually given organizing social events a miss, in the past they have held two Open Houses that have had exhibitions and sale of artworks and an evening of music and poetry. Also, as their third event recently, the street saw the launch of Delhi Sultanate’s Bass Foundation Roots sound system. To see the Jamaican-style hand-built reggae sound system, both expats and locals amassed at this space, which was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise monotonous reggae scene in Delhi.

The knowledge of the street’s existence is fairly new among Delhiites. Tell them you’re at Champa Gali, and it perplexes them, because ‘what sort of a name is that, right?’ But the space has been kept slightly unknown for a reason. One can’t expect just any gig at Champa Gali. Rhea Sanghi, community manager at Blue Tokai, explains, “There has to be something unique and India-centric. The kind of artistes we’d want to see performing here have to be the ones that highlight something about India. That is also what attracts a niche, interesting crowd.”

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When you enter the street, you first come across Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters, a well-lit, airy cafe with a selection of blends on offer and has a live roasting room that holds brewing sessions once a month. Started by a Delhi-based couple, the roastery has been taken very well by the broader coffee-drinking crowd of the city. An ideal place to spend a lethargic Sunday afternoon, the cafe also has a quaint open sitting area with a very effortlessly rustic vibe to it. Expect an occasional visit from a cat or a monkey, though harmless in nature and as calm as the mood of the space. As neighbours Blue Tokai has People Tree, a creative space where you can shop for hand-printed and Khadi clothes and stoles, magazines, books, handmade stationary, footwear etc. On our visit we stumbled upon one of the works on art written in the form of pamphlet by an NGO art room foundation, who also have independently published books. Jugmug Thela, a pop-up tea stall, which usually isn’t open to public unless there is an Open House at Champa Gali, will soon be launched permanently here.

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Head here with your laptop, sketchbook or just good company and enjoy a peaceful afternoon over good coffee. Currently the space shuts by 7:30pm unless there is an Open House, but they’re working on extending the closing time by an hour after frequent requests from patrons. We sure hope that works out!

Address: Khasra 258, Lane 3, Westend Marg, Saidulajab, Saket
Nearest Metro Station: Saket, Gate No. 2

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