Shopping in Delhi
Delhi is unique
in that it has representative outlets for the handicrafts of each
Indian state. This in it self presents a staggering array of
goods, and at very affordable prices. In the last decade there
has been a dramatic change in Delhi's markets. Upwardly mobile
lifestyle has led to greater sophistication in display and
upgrading of various markets in terms of availability of
Delhi has long been the most important trading centre in Northern
India. Many of its localities, like Sheikh Sarai and Yusuf Sarai,
derive their names from medieval market towns which serviced the
bygone, shifted capital cities of Delhi. Today, all of these have
become a part of the rapidly expanding metropolis. Instead of
market towns, there are specific whole sale markets or"mandi's"
scattered throughout the vast city, and their's is another
For visitors to Delhi, shopping is high on the list of "things to
do". Tourists find a wide choice of items- such as carpets,
silks, jewellery, leather and silver ware, handicrafts and
handprinted cotton - that are synonymus with India. Each item is
available in a range of prices, depending on the quality and the
Another interesting is that each market has its own, distinctive
ambience and adds its own flavour to the experience of shopping.
Haus Khas Village, Connaught Place and Chandni Chowk are worlds
apart from one another, yet each of them reflects an aspect of
this many - faceted city. In fact one of the fascinating ways of
understanding a city is by wandering through its market places
for it is here that contemporary culture is most visible to the
The exploration of Delhi's markets could be begin at Chandni
Chowk. Despite the pressures of traffic and population, its
historic land marks servive to tell the story of the last three
centuries. Many of the shops here are more than 100 years, old
and the mesh of lanes and bylanes is full of superises. Leading
off Chandni Chowk are Dariba, the silver market, Khari Baoli, the
spice market and Kinari Bazar for trimmings and tinsel. In some
of these bazaars the item for sale are manufactured at site,
which lands a special charm to the shopping experience well
integrated into the culture of the old city, these bazaars offer
the visitor a glimpse of life in Old Delhi.
There are some antique stores behind Jama Masjid, and more lining
the entrance to the Red Fort, where the Meena Bazar once was.
These offer items arranging from jewellery to painting and
furniture, and cater almost entirely to tourists. Connaught
Place, New Delhi's original shopping arcade was planned as part
of the Imperial capital in 1911. On Baba Kharak Singh Marg, are
the numerous government State Emporia. Which afford a glimpse of
the handicrafts of each state. So does the recently- inaugurated
new Central Cottage Industries Emporium on Janpath. Across the
road from "Cottage" as it is popularly known, are the inviting
stalls along Janpath.
The Tibetans sell jewellery and ritual objects, while closer to
Connaught Place are available embroideries from Gujarat and
Rajasthan, readymade garments and bric- a - brac. When the
wheather is good it is pleasant to amble down Janpath, where
bargaining is the order of the day. Sundernagar Market is a fine
place to shop for antiques and silver jewellery. The well -
appointed stores keep a choice selection, especially of silver
jewellery from Ladakh, semi- precious stones, some textiles and
brass, copper and silver object d'art.
Not far from Sundernagar is the Crafts Museum Shop, attached to
the museum in Pragati Maidan. Moving further south are the up
market shopping centers of South Delhi- South Extension, Greater
Kailash I and II, Green Park and Hauz Khas Village.
The haunt of the nouveau riche, these markets offer a combination
of ethnic chic and designer lebels, Indian and international.
Hauz Khas Village has set a very interesting trend as market.
Over the countries, a village had developed around the medieval
college and the tomb of Firoz Shah Tughlaq. A few years ago, an
association called Dastakar - set up a showroom in the village.
Now the village has a plethora of boutiques, galleries and
restaurants which coexist with the buffalos, cow pats and men
smokking hookahs on charpoys. Far from being a deterrant, the
"rural" ambience is a positive attraction.
Other villages like Mehtauli, Khirkee and Lado Serai are fast
following suit. Seeing the popularity of crafts bazaars held
periodically in the capital, Delhi Tourism has set up a permanent
outlet for craftspersons at Dilli Haat, where space and the
availability of Indian cuisines make the visit a very pleasant
experience. A more up market outlet for Indian handicrafts and
antiques is the bazaar near the Qutub Minar.
The Santushi Shopping Arcade opposite the Ashoka Hotel has become
another popular up market haunt. Developed by the Air Force Wives
Association, it has a select number of boutiques where apparel,
furnishings and accessories are available. A restaurant and
patisserie add to the quiet charm of the place.