An elaborate boulevard of culture, craft and cuisine... that's Culture Gully in the Kingdom of Dreams.

Spectacular, magnificent and spellbinding... this is a world on a grand scale, whether it is cuisine, arts and crafts, live shows or design and architecture.

As I set foot in the Culture Gully at the Kingdom Of Dreams, I am faced with a huge poster of Dilip Kumar and Madhubala from “Mughal-e-Azam”. A perfect set for my movie shoot to begin... all I need is handsome hero on a horse!

That's not to be, so I console myself with some food. And start wondering where to begin. Food from 14 states of India is on offer with each state pavilion offering its specialty. The pavilion is not just a typical stall focusing just on food but also requires that you pay attention to the décor.

Exciting experience

Culture Gully is an elaborate boulevard of culture, arts and crafts and cuisine. This magical avenue offers the exciting experience of a busy Indian street showcasing the best of local cuisines, renowned handicrafts and live performances by traditional artists. All under a breathtaking skydome.

While the Rajasthan pavilion is inspired by the opulence of oldhaveliswith colourful wall frescos; the Goa pavilion reflects the easy-going feel with a wacky wall decorated with wine bottles. The Bengal pavilion recreates the colonial charm of British India; while Lucknow pavilion showcases the grandeur of the Nawabs.

The décor of the Chennai pavilion is a perfect mix of the rich heritage with a contemporary feel. The Madras Café on the first floor pays ode to the rich classical and traditional art forms and textiles with vibrant murals on the ceilings and walls with one wall completely dedicated to the traditional Kanchipuram textiles.

For tea lovers, the Assam tea lounge with its bamboo matted walls provides a delightful sanctuary. My favourite was the Punjab pavilion with its tempting charpoys over here with colourful embroidered canopies under a roof full of twinkling stars; crevices and cornices artfully created, frame rustic cutlery and a wall transformed with earthen pots lit up from inside.

Mouth-watering stalls

The food stalls are just mouth-watering, whether it is Mumbai'svada pav, Amritsarikulchaor Dillichaat. Then I had a tough time trying to choose from the 30-odd varieties at Dosa House. Check out thethukpa, chingrichop andmomosat the Assam pavilion. Hyderabadibiryani, Goan curry, Lucknavikakori kababand Rajasthanidaal baatiare in high demand. The rainbow ice cream and kulfi made in traditional style by a cycle hawker is a sweet finish.

The IIFA Buzz Café is a glamorous Bollywood themed café, which showcases Indian cinema via posters, memorabilia and snapshots. A world map shows the locations IIFA has travelled to, costumes worn by the stars on the red carpet are displayed and a film of IIFA's iconic moments runs in the background.

Both Nautanki Mahal, showing “Zangoora: The Gypsy Prince” (a ‘fun' package of dance and theatre ) and Showshaa Theatre, a colourful marquee spotlighting Indian mythology productions and a talent circus, are colourful and must-not miss.

Having completed one year, Viraf Sarkari, Director, Wizcraft and Kingdom of Dreams, says “My aim was to bring the rich cultural heritage of India and performing arts at one place.”

Where it is

Sector 29, (Behind Leisure Valley Park) Gurgaon 122001,

Haryana. Ph: +91 124 4528000



Sunday MagazineJune 28, 2012