The beating heart of Delhi was originally christened Shahjahanabad. Exploring always leaves you dumb founded at things you discover at its busiest markets in Old Delhi. You need to have special skills to maneuver between busy lanes, massive traffic, cows, noise and people everywhere. It transforms you to an old world charm, distinct to its origin. Be ready to have a long drawn battle for a good bargain and patience to choose from the cornucopia of shops and places to eat. Despite the chaos you feel, warm and welcomed, first time and every time.
7. Chandni Chowk
It is the first location that pops in your head, when you think of shopping in Old Delhi. Traders from Turkey and China have been visitors for over three centuries now. It’s like the magical world of Alladin for somebody who loves shopping. Be sure to have a faint notion of what you are looking for, before you get lost and totally weary. You can choose between-
- Buying perfumes, gold and silver jewellery at Dariba Kalan.
- Buy spices from Khari Baoli.
- Zari and zardozi trimmings from Kinari Bazaar.
- Clothes from Katra Neel.
- Electronics from Bhagirath Palace.
- Shawls and pearls from Moti Bazaar.
- Chemicals from Tilak Bazaar.
Shopping here is no less than adventure and a crazy one for sure. But they have their loyal customers who keep coming back to them no matter what.
6. Nai Sarak
Or New Street is the link between Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazaar. It can be approached by taking a left turn from Paranthewali Gali or by taking a right turn from Chawri Bazaar. It is mostly dominated by 20th century architectural buildings and was made in the British era. It is a haven for book lovers, as they can somehow acquire any book under the sky for you. The market has both retail and wholesale books and stationery items too. There are some age old shops selling old and new musical instruments too. The market remains closed on Sundays.
5. Chor Bazaar
This is the famous thieves market of Delhi that every Delhiwala must have visited, at least once in his lifetime. Located near the historic Red Fort, the itinerary of goods changes every week. The prices are shockingly low, authenticity can be asked, at your own risk. On your lucky day you might get a PS for as low as a grand, and on a bad day probably nothing. People will give you their self created formulas for shopping here. I suggest have a lot of time on hand, go in a group and use your own judgment. If large crowds make you un easy, hit it around eight when they are still assembling, or else look for a bargain after four.
4. Chhatta Chowk
Chhatta Chowk was earlier known as Meena Bazaar or Bazaar-i-Musaaqqaf, meaning market with a roof. You can enter the market through Lahori Gate entrance of the Red Fort. You will notice the vaulted arcade immediately. This market used to personify the growing riches and wealth of the Mughal empire, in the olden days. More than the shopping the market is a visual delight for somebody with interest in Mughal architecture. The shops today generally cater to tourists and sell souvenirs, trinkets, eatables and drinks. The stalls are colorful and the market always buzzing with bargain seekers.
3. Daryaganj Book Market
A favorite hangout for book lovers, stretching for more than a kilometer, is often called the world’s largest weekly book market. Open only on Sundays, it is a huge source of used books. The most difficult to find books can be traced here and even those out of print and of any topic. The books might be yellow or with dog ears, lying on the pavement, but ask any book lover and he will vouch for this destination. From comics to cookery, from atlases to classics, every genre is found here. The salesmen are avid readers, found gorging on books while waiting for a keen customer.
2. Janpath and Tibetan Market
The market was given a makeover recently and is the ideal place to buy a gift to back home. There is something for everyone and at a decent price. They really haggle for a bargain and you might come away feeling cheated still. Open daily, around the year. It’s a favorite with foreign tourists, especially hippies. It is located on the outer circle of Connaught Place. You find items here, that you wont see in a mall or a designer showroom. The Tibetan Market here has a wide range of Himalayan arts and crafts to choose from. Teenagers are seen in abundance here buying artificial jewellery from walking salesmen. Don’t be surprised to see almost all shop keepers speaking fluent English, French and Spanish.
Located right next to the New Delhi railway Station, it stretches for almost a kilometer and is always teeming with people, traffic and animals. It is one of the most noisy, and chaotic markets and dirty too. It is a favorite amongst back packers, as there is cheap accommodation available and lots of eating joints. The shops sell anything from books, music, clothes to incense, statues and all kinds of handicrafts. Most of the shops are running an import business with many countries and are well apt to the bargain looking client. Quite a few patient customer has stumbled upon a unique expensive item, to take back home here. Is open daily and till late in the night.