Simply Delhi lists some of the most iconic markets of the city.
FUNK ALLEYS Hauz Khas Village: Walking down the labyrinth of Hauz Khas village ( HKV) is almost like treasure hunting— a pub here, a bar there, a top notch designer store at a corner, an upmarket patisserie or a fine dining restaurant, something fascinating waiting is discovered at every step. This pretty maze of bylanes has sprung around the ruins of a 13th century reservoir, tomb and mosque has become of the most happening haunt for the city’s youth. Start strolling down the market from the parking lot and you can feel the high in the air. Begin your tryst with a kitsch as you step into Purple Jungle, a store selling quirky bags, accessories, coasters and cushion covers— all with an ethnic touch. Up next would be Lola’s World, a store housing trendy stuff for children. If it’s bespoke that you’re looking for, meet Rohit Kant, an NID graduate who sells hand painted bric- a- brac at his store in HKV.
And if your shopping bag’s lacking something rural, stop over at Maati to pick up dokra earrings from Jharkhand or hand painted kurtis with motifs like Nataraja and Shiva. And all that retail therapy would have worked up your appetite. Your platter of choices is wide— an Italian fine dining experience at Diva Piccola, sinful burgers at Fork You, Parsi cuisine at Faarsi or a Hyderabadi Biryani at Golconda Bowl and many others. Settle down with your favourite food and a drink and see the village environs so effortlessly encompassing the Boho culture. INSIDER’S TIP Stroll down the picturesque Hauz Khas Lake and walk down to the end of the market to the dilapidated monument. WHAT WE LOVE The parking woes or the overcrowded lanes never discourage the youth from coming here every weekend.
GOURMET GRAB INA Market: Every cook’s favourite place to shop. The narrow alleys of this market offer every possible exotic ingredient— fresh vegetables, imported meats, herbs, breads and more. As you enter, you will notice little stores with imported merchandise stacked to the ceiling. Walk a bit further, and you'll enter the covered vegetable market and meat shops. Before broccoli and asparagus became household names, expats visited INA to get their stock. Whether it is artichokes for your salad, truffle for pizzas or Korean sweet potato starch noodles; you will find them all at INA. Having catered to countless expats and chefs, the shopkeepers have learnt many languages; so don't be surprised if they correct your pronunciation! INSIDER’S TIP Do remember to do some homework before going WHAT WE LOVE The exotic ingredients at relatively cheap rates ANTIQUE CORNER Furniture Market, Amar Colony: Have a heavy breakfast, choose a sunny winter day and then head out to shop at the Amar Colony Furniture Market. It’s not as if the market is huge, it’s just that every shop here will demand so much of your time, attention and energy that you’ll be drained at the end of it all. After all, it’s not always that you chance on a rare piece of antique furniture which doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. At this market, every shop with furniture arranged in a hotchpotch fashion, will surprise you with something rare, be it those period mirrors, wooden laundry racks, antique study tables or even four poster beds. And almost every piece of furniture is made of authentic teak wood, at literally ‘ throw away prices’. A walk around this market will take you back to those period movies or remind you of the furniture you loved at the last heritage hotel you stayed at. Often referred to as the raddi market by the locals around, the Amar Colony furniture market is unsuspectingly located just behind LSR College. The 25- 40 shops are now run by the second generations, and they claim to source furniture from all over the country, Goa, Kolkata or the South. Apart from the pieces displayed, the shopkeepers will tell you that they can make any piece on order, even a reproduction of a period piece. INSIDER’S TIP Do remember to do some homework before going, your
knowledge will come handy while bargaining. WHAT WE LOVE There are no loud sales push here, you can see things at your pace and buy only if you love.
Meher Chand Market: This market deserves a better description than “the new Hauz Khas Village”. A quick walk up and down the old- fashioned market ( confined to a single high street) is enough to distinguish it from the hip and now highly crowded HKV. Sure, it lacks the picturesque location that HKV enjoys, but the city’s affluent still go here hunting for designer labels and CMYK’s specialties— art and design books. The kinara shops stocking organic food are as much loved and frequented by shoppers as are the chic boutiques. And while designer Pia Pauro’s flagship beachwear store pulls you in with its heavily- beaded cocktail dresses, Lovebirds pays homage to iconic vintage styles with its yesteryear- inspired designer garments and accessories. A smart and easy- on- the- pocket option is Soma, a Jaipur brand selling traditional Rajasthani cotton clothes exclusively for women. The store apes big players like Anokhi and Fabindia in terms of display and the variety of clothes, but the hand- block printing and an extensive collection of Rajasthani quilts gives it an edge. Even though a walk around the mini market is not nearly good enough to work up an appetite, the momo stalls offer quick and healthy bites between all the shopping. In the nearby Lodhi market, Chez Nini offers delicious French cuisine in case you are looking for a heavy meal. INSIDER’S TIP At the home décor store, Karigari, you can get contemporary and vintage furniture made according to your own design. WHAT WE LOVE The Kirana Shop selling fresh vegetables, organic food, pickles, herbal teas, natural soaps, spices and more.
Shahpur Jat: Rummaging through bargain markets for antique and cheap imitations of current fashion is passé. A better bet would be to head for Shahpur Jat’s meandering lanes for high- end designer gear, quirky
accessories and customised outfits. This urban village has earned a loyal following for couture labels, footwear and bags— all quite chic and mostly affordable. Check out Jangi House Lane which is dotted with shops selling embellished garments characterised by bright colours and tailored fits. If shoes are more your thing, head to Shoe Garage, one of the oldest shops in the village. A favourite haunt with college goers, you can find anything from flats, wedges, satin sandals to metallic loafers. Bag the best deal on clutches and purses- anything from canvas to fabric- that are high on style, from Falah Handicrafts. But, if you’re looking for quirky home accessories and knick knacks, then head to The Wishing Chair. Or if you’re in the mood to sip a hot cuppa and sit back with a book, then The Mad Teapot is the place to be. INSIDER’S TIP Get near replicas of your favourite designer wear made here. WHAT WE LOVE The kitschy corners of the market CONNOISSEUR’S CHOICE
Sunder Nagar: Probably the best place in the city to trawl for coveted artifacts, Sunder Nagar market is a favourite with the expat population and the crème de la crème of Delhi. Known for its famous Diwali Mela, this quaint little market is packed with both old and new shops selling handicrafts, silver jewellery and antiques. But it is also a haven for tea lovers. Located next to each other, Asia Tea House ( earlier Regalia Tea House) and Mittal Teas stock exquisite variety of teas grown in India and abroad and attract tea connoisseurs from all over the world. But while Asia Tea House takes pride in its Darjeeling teas, such as the Vintage Musk and the Silver Needle, its nearly six- decade old neighbour is known for its hand- rolled green tea ( three times more healthy and expensive than the average green tea) and exotic herbal fusions. The majority of the clientele is expat and both the tea shops offer tea leaves packed in handcrafted wooden boxes for quick gifting solutions. Asia Tea House has a branch in Bengali Market and Mittal Teas has two more outlets in Connaught Place and Lodhi Road. INSIDER’S TIP Tea tasting before buying is a convenient option offered by both the shops. WHAT WE LOVE Dragon Balls from Asia Tea House and mango- flavoured tea from Mittal Teas. THE PLANNERS PREDICT
Chandni Chowk: Walking down the lanes of Chandni Chowk, it is not hard to picture Delhi as it would have been a century ago. Just replace the rickshaws with tongas, imagine wider roads with lesser riff raff and shops with marquees instead of modern- age signboards. No other shopping destination in Delhi offers the retro vibe that Chandni Chowk does. But there’s more to Chandni Chowk than the famed parathe waali gali and Karim’s. Don’t be afraid to get dirty, and the hidden inner lanes will reward you. Make your way to the
bejeweled lane Dariba Kalan, famous for shops selling silver and gold jewellery at market- beating prices, trophies, precious stones and more. And if you are in mood for some numerology, chat up the owner of Rajkamal Jewellers, Jawahar Verma, who not only sells birth stones but also predicts interesting, albeit not always accurate, information about yourself, based on your birth date. A few shops down Rajkamal Jewellers lies a goldmine of Buddhist handicrafts. Singing Bowl Centre is the corner most shop in Dariba Kalan that sells all kinds of brass, wooden and copper artifacts. The entrance reveals little of the jewels hidden inside, but don’t let the unwilling- to- help owners and the shop interiors that look like an old government flat bring you down. From prayer flags and Buddhist masks to Buddha statues and copper plates, the shop is overflowing with the artifacts that cost half of what you might find anywhere else in the city.
Khari Baoli: If you can take the strong aroma of spices that has infiltrated even the walls, head down to Khari Baoli, Asia’s largest spice market, just behind the Fatehpuri Mosque. Haggle for dry fruits before you venture deep into the labyrinth for spices and herbs. Cover your nose before you take a turn in to Gadodia Market and save yourself a sneeze- fest that might get triggered thanks to heaps of vibrant red chillies. INSIDER’S TIP A set of unlit and dirty stairs in the corner most building of Gadodia Market takes you five- storeys up and offers a spectacular view of the entire expanse of Chandni Chowk. Observe the chaos from the top before you plunge back into it. WHAT WE LOVE The kohlapuris of Ballimaran. Cheap, sturdy and always in style.
CRAFTED WITH LOVE
Dastkaar Bazaar: Located at Andheria Mod, this little shopping hub is known for handicrafts and ecofriendly buys. There’s a new theme almost each month, where artisans from across the country setup shop. Colourful cane baskets, teracotta earrings and handwoven bags and kurtas are a hit all year round. From
hand painted wooden statues and silver furnishings to accessories like silk stoles and zari embroidered bags, there's something of interest for all. And when all that shopping makes you hungry, feast on delicacies that range from a Rajasthani thali to Hyderabadi biryani. Both the food and craft stalls keep changing with each vendor being provided few days to display their wares. This year, Dastkar Nature Bazaar ( 18 to 26 October) will showcase the works of over 160 craftgroups, NGO, small producer groups, and new designers. Around 22 States will display their crafts and organise art workshops where visitors can learn from and interact with the craftspeople themselves. WHATWE LOVE The cultural performances
ART’S OWN SPACE
Lado Sarai: In a city obsessed with bling, it is difficult to fathom a place dedicated to aesthetics. But Lado Sarai, touted as Delhi’s own SoHo has somewhat changed perceptions towards the city. Home to over 15 galleries, all next to each other, Lado Sarai is where art lovers can head for an evening of wine, cheese and art. Latitude 28, Art Positive, Neeraj Art Gallery, Studio Art and Wonderwall are some of the galleries that have found their haven at Lado Sarai. It is an interesting melting pot of culture— it’s here that you’ll find a local salon next to an upmarket art gallery, cows taking a stroll down the road brushing against SUV’s, art aficionados asking curious villagers for directions. Art gallery owners have even planned an art night here where they all open their exhibitions on the same date and the galleries stay open till late night, giving the perfect opportunity for art lovers to gallery hop. Adding to giving the perfect mishmash to the artistic ambience are the lifestyle stores here. While Portside café, an upmarket furniture store ups the snob value of Lado Sarai, there’s K2 India, prominent interior designer Sunita Kohli’s design studio. Even if you don’t want to buy any furniture, stop by to peer at the state- of- the- art pieces. INSIDER’S TIP Sit down for a chat with one of the art gallery owners. They’ll update you on what’s the latest. WHAT WE LOVE While at Lado Sarai, do walk in to Maharaja Carpets, the oldest shop in the market which has seen Lado Sarai come up from being just a village to the art hub it is now.
Santushti Shopping Complex: Don’t go to Santushti for just shopping. Go here to indulge yourself with not just
a full shopping bag, but also a soothing treat for your senses. Perhaps one of the most peaceful markets in the city, this complex, run by the Air Force Wives Association, is the perfect haunt for an upmarket shopping experience. Around 30 swanky stores are sprinkled all over a beautiful green lawns, with pretty flowers blooming here and there. From a distance, you might even mistake this place for a redbricked resort, with cottages scattered all around! But start walking around and you’re sure to empty your pockets. Step into the biggest store, Santushti— The Concept Shop, a lifestyle store. Here, you can find a gift item for anyone— a silver earring, a period showpiece or a silk kurta, and everything at surprisingly affordable prices. From here, walk up to the six- month- old Sadhika store and be floored by the collection of leather accessories. While there are so many other stores which demand your attention, we highly recommend Kastros, an exclusive cigar parlour. Even if you’ve never held a cigar in your hand, step in just to educate yourself. The expertly maintained cigar parlour has brands ranging from Davidoff to Rocky Patel stored in the right temperature and looked after like babies. You’d sure have an urge to pick one up, just for the fun of it. And as you browse through the collection, you can’t ignore the aromas emanating from the Basil and Thyme restaurants, just opposite. Settle down here for a hearty meal as you watch peacocks dancing away to glory in the market. INSIDER’S TIP Stop by at the Sancha Tea Boutique for your complimentary cup of exotic tea. WHAT WE LOVE Umeed counter at Santushti— The Concept Shop which sells products made by specially abled children.
DE LUXE DESTINATION
DLF Emporio: “I like my money right where I can see it… hanging in my closet.” How honest was Carrie Bradshaw, the fashion icon from Sex and the City, when she said this? It’s not secret that the luxurious DLF Emporio Mall in Vasant Kunj gives you ample opportunity to hang oodles of finest fashion pieces in your wardrobe, only if you can afford it. A class apart from most other malls that have sprouted in the city, Emporio is all about extraordinary sophistication and exclusive designer brands. While the top floor of the mall is set aside for Indian designers such as Surekha Jain, Satya Paul, Falguni and Shane Peacock, Rohit Bal, Rina Dhaka and Tarun Tahiliani, the rest of the massive, palace- like space is occupied by the cream of international fashion designers. Joining the ranks of Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Roberto Cavalli Tom Ford, Fendi, Missoni, Versace, Giorgio Armani and more, world- renowned fashion designer Michael Kors’ namesake brand made its debut in the Indian market by opening a store at Emporio about two months ago. The 1500 sq ft store reflects the label’s luxe aesthetic through the use of rich leather furniture, sleek metal fixtures and mirrored surfaces. On display are Kors’ typical luxurious accessories, footwear, watches and ready- to- wear. INSIDER’S TIP The mall will retail exclusive Diwali gifts and accessories from October 7 to November 2. WHAT WE LOVE Sipping coffee at Cafe Emporio, which enjoys a central location in the massive atrium of the mall, and soaking in the extravagance.
RAVI S SAHANI/