The Ultimate Shopaholic's Guide To Unique Markets In Delhi
By Rishabh Sinha
To appreciate and understand what I am about to tell you, you need to be one thing. You need to be a shopper through and through. Someone who loves leaving destinations with handfuls of souvenirs and is always excited to explore the markets of whichever location they are travelling. And one such city that is a shopaholic's dream come true is Delhi.
Replete with wondrous street shopping options, gigantic malls with the fanciest stores, hidden lanes with generational eats and stores with antique pieces - markets in Delhi offer it all.
Elevated view of Main Bazar, New Delhi
Hi, my name is Rishabh, and I am a shopaholic. I have this super stamina that makes me go from market to market, foraging for the newest and trendiest items. And you know what? Everyone knows about Delhi's most famous markets.
Sarojini, the endless fashion street. Lajpat Nagar the one-stop shop for accessories. Palika Bazaar, the queen of the underground markets. Connaught Place, Rajouri Garden, Khan Market - yes, yes, we've heard it all. But that's not what I am here to tell you.
Being the avid shopper that I am, I have strolled the streets of Delhi quite extensively, and these are the 10 spectacular markets that only a few people know about.
Khan market shopping street in New Delhi
So, without wasting another second, let's get into this. These are 10 of the coolest markets in Delhi, and to visit here, you have to be good at three things - bargaining, bargaining, and bargaining.
Chic boutiques, artisan treats, Delhi's upscale streets
Meherchand market shopping hub streets (Source - Hindustan Times)
Wearing a label makes everyone feel slightly elevated; isn't it true? Especially if it's your childhood BFF's big fat Indian wedding. If you are brand-conscious and have an eye for delicate fabrics, Meherchand Market should be your stop.
Emerging as one of Delhi's most classy and exclusive markets, Meherchand boasts some trendiest clothing houses with high-end textiles, exemplary dye stores, and the best lattice stops.
Meherchand, the hub of all foodies and shopaholics (Source - Hindustan Times)
The market also has terrific cafes to lounge in. You can buy the traditional and iconic prints of Bollywood's trending fashion darling, Masaba Gupta, from her store, Masaba. You can even get something from Anuradha Raman, who crafts each piece with excellent craftsmanship and a fusion of traditional and contemporary design.
Must Taste: Crispy phyllo pastry at the Mediterranean bakery and kunafa.
Nearest Metro Station: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. 10 min walk to the market.
Labyrinth lanes, boho bargains, the cosmopolitan chaos!
Main street of Paharganj market
Is Akshay Kumar from OMG2 making you want to dress more hippie? Then you've got to hop on over to Paharganj Market. Known as one of the coolest markets in Delhi, Paharganj is always lively with the laughter of global backpackers, boheme travellers, and locals who have a taste for antiques and multi-ethnic clothing.
Busy street of Paharganj main bazaar
From oxidized accessories, chunky pieces of jewellery, baggy and colourful tunics, comfy pants, silver antiques, old editions of famous books, and leather bags to fabrics - you can get everything to make your wardrobe Woodstock coded. The streets of this market are also filled with scores of eateries and bakeries set up by Indians and foreigners alike, selling a variety of cuisines.
Must Taste: Falafel and chocolate shake at backpacker's favourite spot, Sam's Cafe.
Nearest Metro Station: R K Ashram Marg. 10 min walk to the market.
Sunder Nagar Market
Antique allure, tea tales, upscale urban oasis!
Sunder Nagar shopping street, New Delhi
If the timeless monuments of Delhi are considered to be the soul of this city and the rich culture to be its impulses, then its markets circulate blood to the city's veins. Sunder Nagar is one such market in town.
Oblivious to the pattern of trends and flamboyancy, this market has managed to maintain the authentic old-world street shopping feel. Sunder Nagar shops are chock full of artefacts, antiques and handmade decor items.
Sunder Nagar shopping street, New Delhi
If you are looking to Pinterestify your home, then head here. The market sells stained glass lamps, carved wooden furniture, engraved metal cutlery, pottery, Persian carpets, brassware, crystal lamps, stained glass decor and scores of handlooms.
Sunder Nagar also has some bespoke art galleries that house the work of famous Indian artists like Satish Gujral and Krishna Khanna.
Must Taste: Caramel tea from the quarter-decade-old Asia Tea House.
Nearest Metro Station: Hazrat Nizamuddin. 7 min walk to the market.
Khari Baoli Market
Spices, scents, age-old stories, centuries-old secrets!
Spices sold in Khari Baoli market
Khari Baoli is Asia's biggest spice market. Simple as that. It has a spicy history that dates back to the time of the Mughal Empire. This is not the only reason I am listing this market as one of the most outrageous marketplaces in Delhi, though.
The streets of this market smell aromatic and fragrant, reminding one of a glorious past long gone. Visiting this market will send your olfactory and optical senses into overdrive with its smells, sights, and sounds.
Different spices for sale in Khari Baoli
It is reminiscent of the iconic Sex In The City, where the gorgeous protagonists visit the Spice Souk in Dubai. Khari Baoli trades over 200 different types of spices, not accounting for the varieties of each spice.
This place has everything from common spices like bay leaf, red chilli and clove to exotic ones like saffron, black cardamom and ajwain. Take advantage of going to the rooftop of Gadodia market for an uninterrupted view of the central courtyard, featured in many movies.
Must Taste: The famous palak chole chawal from Gole Di Hatti.
Nearest Metro Station: Chandi Chowk. 5 min walk to the market.
Amar Colony Furniture Market
Craftsmanship corners, vintage vibes, furniture fantasies fulfilled!
Amar Colony furniture market (Source - So City)
If you want to revamp your home, but your budget is considerably strict, then you should take the exact route I did. In the hustle-bustle of bars, cafes and branded stores, the furniture market in Amar colony is a delectable hidden gem. You couldn't be more wrong if you expect big giant shops with contemporary furniture.
Wooden furniture shop at Amar Colony market (Source - So City)
This market in Delhi has several lanes filled with small shops full to the brim with wooden, metal and antique furniture. You can find a piece of furniture that belongs to the colonial era or something from an old palace in Rajasthan.
If you fancy vintage items, this place will be a site of wonder for you. The shops also provide services for cleaning, restoring, repainting and re-upholstering the things you want.
Must Taste: Spicy chicken tandoori momos at Hunger Strike in Amar Colony Market.
Nearest Metro Station: Kailash Colony Market. 11 min walk to the market.
Decor delights, rustic relics, dreams decoded!
Decor items sold at Banjara market (Source - India Eat Mania)
Contrary to the vintage babies, if you want to deck your home in vibrant, modern, bohemian fusion pieces, visit the Instagram-famous Banjara Market. This market is situated in Gurugram and is known for its exquisite selection of interior decor items at unbelievably low prices. Located in Sector 56, this market is open all 7 days and can be easily reached via metro.
Aerial top view of Banjara market
From decorative mirrors to brassware, macrame planters to ceramic pots, and wooden lattice room separators to cane furniture, this market in Delhi is an interior decorators' paradise.
There is a catch, though: the market is quite expansive, and a minimum of 2 - 3 dedicated hours is something you should have on hand when planning a visit to Banjara Market.
But once you put your time, curation and bargaining skills to use - this single market alone has the power to redecorate your whole house.
Must taste: Dry lemon chicken from Banjara Food Truck and fresh local juices.
Nearest Metro Station: Huda City Center. 10 - 15 min walk to the market.
Elegant embroideries, timeless textiles, sari saga spun!
Entrance of the Meena Bazaar, Red Fort
You must have heard of the Meena Bazaar in many Bollywood movies and songs like 'Kajra Mohabbat Wala' as a reference to extravagance and appeal. But I am sure many of you have yet to learn about this market. Allow me to be your guide and mentor.
Meena Bazaar is not just another fashion market; it is one of the oldest markets present in Delhi. Located just below the massive stairs of Jama Masjid, this market is associated with the era of the Mughals, as it was Humayun who established this market for the noble ladies of the house.
Shop inside the Meena Bazaar, Red Fort
It is famous for Pashmina shawls and the ultra-fine work of zari and arcade. Even after being located in the cramped lanes of Old Delhi, the place beholds the elegance and charm of the Mughal dynasty.
This market has many things to offer, including but not limited to artistically crafted kurta sets, heavy embroidered ethnic outfits, junk alloyed jewellery, regal sherwanis, glittering headdresses and framed Holy scriptures.
Must taste: Go to Kallan Sweets near Jama Masjid and try Keema samosa. They are to die for!
Nearest Metro Station: Chawri Bazaar. 10 min walk to the market.
Hidden treasures, thrilling thrifty thrills, bargain bonanza beckons!
Chor Bazaar street market, Delhi
Do you know that one friend we all have? It would be insensitive to call them a hoarder, so let's say they are an avid collector of various items. If you want to pleasantly surprise that friend (or if you ARE that friend), this next market in Delhi will itch that scratch.
Chor Bazaar, which means 'Thieves Market', is one of the most outlandish markets in Delhi and is quite ancient too. The market is hidden in the thronged lanes of Chandni Chowk (opposite the Jama Masjid) and is an explorer's delight.
Chor Bazaar street market outside the Jama Masjid
Branded clothes, shoes, hardware, vintage cameras, phones, electronics, wall clocks, perfumes, watches, fans, home appliances - whatever you fancy, this market has it all. And for throwaway prices!
This flea market offers you a massive amount of items that are either second-hand, stolen or surplus. If you have an eye to find the best among the rest, you should be here someday.
A word of caution, though: pickpockets are scams are a dime a dozen here, so be careful while perusing and keep your belongings close.
Must taste: Walk down to the 'Wajaruddin Ji tea stall' opposite Gate No.1 of Jama Masjid and try the 'butter tea'.
Nearest Metro Station: Chandi Chowk. 10 min walk to the market.
Gadget galaxies, tech temptations, the electronic epicentre!
Entrance of Gaffar Market, Delhi (Source - LBB)
Gaffar Market will be an entirely different experience if you have yet to be. If you just broke your phone's screen or are looking for affordable accessories for your phone and camera, then this market is where you should head.
Gaffar market is undoubtedly one of the busiest electronic markets in Delhi. After crossing all the fancy shops and stalls selling a myriad of items and essentials in the central lane of Karol Bagh, you will find yourself in a zone filled with everything that can quench the thirst of any techy nerd.
Shops at Gaffar Market (Source - Navbharat Times)
Play stations, cell phones, televisions, high bass speakers, hoverboards, trendy gadgets or even imported food items like hot Cheetos and Mountain Dew Baja Blast - this market is undoubtedly a treasure trove. But heed this warning: don't make any Sunday plans for Gaffar because that day is a holiday for all those shopkeepers!
Must taste: You can grab the famous Kulfi Falooda of Roshan Di Kulfi.
Nearest Metro Station: Karol Bagh. 8 min walk to the market.
Tibetan trinkets, serene souvenirs, Himalayan heartbeats here!
Craft products at Monastery Market
Delhi has always been a hub of cultures, and the markets here speak volumes about it. Many markets in Delhi hold the essence of its history, and Monastery Market is one such place. While most of the markets in Delhi are flooded with the vast varieties of women's clothes, this market emerges as a men's haven. Have a boy's vacay coming up? Monastery Market can be your one-stop shop for tees, trousers, denim, sneakers, hats and wallets. Maybe even luggage.
Souvenir shop at Monastery Market
All my ladies out there, don't be sad - you've got plenty of options here as well. Located near Kashmiri Gate, this market was established by Tibetan refugees and is run by the Tibetan Refugee Market Association. Monastery Market will get you some fantastic deals on clothes and shoes, but it will also give you some insight into the lives and occupations of Tibetan refugees.
Must taste: Authentic Tibetian thukpa and dumplings at Zomsa restaurant.
Nearest Metro Station: Chandni Chowk. 8 - 10 min walk to the market.
These markets are not just an exhibition of the goods and commodities that travellers can buy, but these places make Dil Walon Ki Dilli more alive and happening. They leave no stone unturned to charm you and keep you engaged for hours.
Markets have always been a door to learning the culture of a place, and these markets of Delhi have always spoken in favour of the city. If you want to learn more about what makes Delhi - DELHI, you should venture into these markets.