From gorgeous authentic handicrafts to an array of fabrics in every colour imaginable, New Delhi keeps the serious shopper on their toes.
Delhi or ‘Dilli’, as the locals call it, offers a wide spectrum of shopping options – from authentic rural Indian handicrafts to global brands that are a byword for the times.
The National Capital Territory (NCT) of the coalesced older, more traditional ‘Old Delhi’ and the younger, contemporary urban capital of ‘New Delhi’ is a traveller’s delight. Delhi or ‘Dilli’, as the locals call it, offers a wide spectrum of shopping options – from authentic rural Indian handicrafts to global brands that are a byword for the times. A veritable treasure trove (pun intended) of beautiful objects awaits those who are willing to explore its nooks and crannies.
Take your time scouring the metropolis for precious finds, from the Cottage Emporium’s Kashmiri rugs to textiles, handmade crafts and furniture by local artists at Handicrafts and Natural Products Emporium. Ayurvedic plant remedies, herbal soap, shampoos, oils and natural fragrances are also prized here. Look for practicing Fair Trade associations working with disabled artists, such as MESH, which produce toys and fashion accessories.
Street Side Up
The Tibetan market with its serpentine queue of stalls lining the pavement, selling imitation jewellery and Tibetan artefacts is a great place for bargain shopping. It finds its match further down the road, however, in the famous Janpath market. Equally a bargain hunter’s paradise, Janpath is one of the most famous and centrally located street markets in Delhi that sells everything from shoes to bed linens and old-fashioned lanterns.
Located in Connaught Place in the heart of Delhi, both can be easily reached from the superbly located Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel, New Delhi, which provides easy access across the city for travellers seeking an ideal location. With its excellent spa, award-winning restaurants and inviting bar, the hotel offers visitors a decadent home away from home.
Not too far away is a beautiful melange of stalls from different states of India selling handicrafts unique to its region called Dilli Haat. It is a must-visit for the sheer spectre of it.
A rather unique feature of Delhi is its markets, especially the wholesale ones that lend a distinctive flavour to shopping in Delhi. Start with the famous Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi. More like a mini-township in itself, Chandni Chowk is somewhat frozen in time, providing a flashback to the past. Possessing an old-world charm unto itself, this place is a veritable maze with its labyrinthine lanes that are actually sub-markets in their own right.
One of the more popular lanes or markets is the Katra Neel market selling fabrics of every texture and shade. Another well-known Katra is Chhatta Chowk (originally catering to women wearing veils who didn’t want to be observed), selling artificial and semi-precious jewellery, as well as an array of hand embroidered and crafted items. The street food in Chandni Chowk is famous not just in Delhi, but all over India, probably even farther.
Another well-known cloth market, Lajpat Nagar, while not as gargantuan as Chandni Chowk, is more contemporary in style. Although it’s a wholesaler’s haven, it has much to offer the retail shopper, too. Grid-like in structural layout with narrow, perpendicular lanes, Lajpat Nagar has maintained a quaint throwback in time to the Delhi of yore.
The upscale Khan Market plays daily host to Delhi’s expat community and hoi polloi, given its fantastic array of high-end Indian brands for home styling, apparel and accessories. The vast multitude of cafes and restaurants certainly add to its phenomenal appeal as Delhi’s favourite market.
South Extension, eponymous for its famous South Ex Market and a frequent haunt for Delhi’s young adults, features a range of popular local and mid-range brands. Another interesting characteristic of South Ex Market is its layout – two horseshoe-shaped markets called South Ex Part 1 and 2 facing each other and separated by a thoroughfare. One of the nicest places to find fine, delicate handicrafts in Delhi for collecting and for gifting is Central Cottage Industries Emporium, representing artefacts and handcrafted items from across the Indian sub-continent. It’s the perfect way to bring home a little piece of Delhi.