Honestly Answered Questions
Is it a hotel or a guest house?
Neither. As a bed & breakfast establishment within the Delhi Tourism rules, it is closer to a homestay. We have the second and third floors of a newly built residential block. As well as their bedroom, guests have used of the shared spaces and facilities: the living room, kitchen and large roof terrace. Dilip, the manager, lives on the premises with his wife and young daughter, Diya.
Does Diya B&B have a whole building?
No. We have the second and third floors of a newly built residential block, and the roof. Access is via a ground floor parking lot to a lift or staircase. Guests should not expect a smart entrance hall or driveway.
Where is it?
Diya B&B is in Chuna Mandi, the Western half of Paharganj (see below), about half a mile from the New Delhi station on the Eastern side. It’s in a residential street (photos above, left and right) with gates that ensure there is no traffic at night. The street is just a block or two away from the Main Bazaar – but at the Metro end, which is leafier and wider than the daunting railway station end.
What is the area like?
Most people stay in Paharganj for one of two reasons: because of its great central location, or because it’s the only place they can afford. It is centred on Main Bazaar, which is Delhi’s backpacker hub. While this draws some travellers with its cosmopolitan feel, others would run a mile from anywhere displaying a Bob Marley T-shirt. The reality is, as usual, a bit more complex. Main Bazaar and its seedier hotels at the wrong time of day certainly don’t have much to recommend them except to hardened budget travellers. But choose a side street instead, or stroll along the nearby vegetable market in the evening, when families go out for the daily shopping, and there is a very different and much more pleasant atmosphere. The narrow lanes away from Main Bazaar have more of an Old Delhi feel with their older houses; even a number of havelis remain.
I’ve read a bit about Salaam Baalak Trust. What’s the connection? Is Diya run by street children?
It was set up entirely by people associated with SBT – see more in ‘about us’. But no, the staff are not current street children. SBT benefits from the employment we provide to its former beneficiaries, the donations we hope to encourage and by our spreading the word about the organisation, and street children more generally, to our guests.
Does everything work uninterrupted?
Not quite.. We are not a hotel with big back-up generators, but any problems are almost always short-lived. The power may go off for 10 – 15 minutes in a day. There are two WiFi networks. At least one of them works almost all the time. Water supply is pretty much guaranteed unless the whole of Delhi runs short.
Is it noisy?
On the whole, no. The general background noise, especially at night, is very low. Any loud noise will come from the temple opposite for a couple of hours. Although the sound comes from worshippers singing, that hour or two can be long and painful. We are never quite sure when this might start, but at the time of writing it is about once a week during daytime. The morning school run at about 7.30 can also involve quite a few car horns… And if you visit around Diwali or at the height of the wedding season, evenings will echo to the sound of fireworks – but that is true of anywhere in any city in India..