New Delhi is known for its great shopping. In fact it is quite common for people from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana to head for the capital and shop around for the day before heading back home. If you have a special need, be it a wedding present, a silk outfit or cultural artifacts then shopping here can be one of the most fascinating experiences of your life as you unearth the many possibilities of New Delhi.
While the lanes of the old market may be easy to get lost in, it is undeniably the best place to shop for bargains. Head for Katra Neel for your clothes needs. Bhagirath Place caters to all your electronic needs as does the old Lajpat Rai Market. If you are looking for Zari and Zardozi work head to Kinari Bazaar. Interested in picking up trinkets? Then head for the jewelers in Dariba Kalan. Chatta Chowk is a great place to hunt for bargains and souvenirs like embroidered bags, hand paintings, semi-precious stones, and a whole lot more. Remember not to get duped and don’t enter shops you don’t want to just because some guy is pestering you to.
- Location: Chandini Chowk is a 15-minute ride from Old Delhi Railway Station better known as Nizamuddin Station.
This huge structure in the heart of Delhi also houses most of the capital’s financial activity. It was constructed by the British and named after the Duke of Connaught, who was a member of the British royal family. It is basically a huge circular structure with shops on the inside and on the outside.
The inner circle is home to all the major multinational brands. Right next door is Janpath where there are lots of small stalls somewhat like Fashion Street in Mumbai. Bargaining is mandatory here. Palika Bazaar is another market nearby which had the unique distinction of being the country’s first underground market, although it is in a somewhat neglected condition today.
- Location: Heart of New Delhi. This is central Delhi.
A Haat is a weekly or monthly village market. The Delhi Haat is a more permanent feature and has stalls featuring goods from all over India and you can browse through some of the finest handicrafts here. The rustic appeal has been worked on, but it is a far more sophisticated version of a village Haat. The best part is that you can get authentic crafts from all over the country at a single location. Bargaining may or may not help depending on when you visit the place. These are not the cheap rip-offs at Chandini Chowk, but the genuine thing, so they will be more expensive.
- Location: Near the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences or AIIMS about 35 minutes from central Delhi.
The Gaffar market is a labyrinth that almost equals Chandini Chowk. Just as much as the chowk is populated with the descendants of the Mughals and preserves that cultural identity, the areas in Karol Bagh are populated and settled by the Pakistani Punjabis who came over after the partition.
The businesses are all run by them, and are flourishing. You can visit Ajmal Khan Road for its weekly Haat on Mondays to get some nice bargains. Bank Street is good for those looking for handmade or machine-crafted jewelry. Arya Samaj Road is a book lovers' haven with its secondhand book market. Lots of things for everyone at this market.
- Location: About 20 minutes from central Delhi in a taxi.
Another modern market which has seen tremendous growth in the last couple of decades, it houses all the big malls you might want to visit. This is the market with huge department stores and state-of-the-art showrooms. This is where the rich Indian likes to shop and the youngsters with flush pockets like to hang out. Not much of rustic or traditional India but a picture of the effects felt on Indian lifestyles in the surging economy. Lots of eateries catering to all kinds of palates are available here.
- Location: Greater Kailash, about an hour from central Delhi in a taxi.