India’s political capital, New Delhi, is also home to one of the most diverse districts for shopping. With scores of people coming from all over the country to sell their goods, the city, steeped in history, has found itself hosting whole neighbourhoods dedicated to shopping. Whether one is looking for the latest designs in the fashion world; local, handmade wares; or, simply fabrics and trims for your own collection, Delhi has it all to offer.
The best part of these treasure troves of shopping is that they host much more than stores selling goods; they’re also home to restaurants, malls and monuments where you can spend your time if you get overwhelmed by the markets. We’ve taken the pleasure of listing the three best places to go shopping in New Delhi.
1. Chandni Chowk is Old Delhi's hub
It’s best to explore this hectic market in the morning when the shops open. Located in the heart of Old Delhi, near the world-famous mosque, Jama Masjid, this market is comprised of hundreds of little shops that sit next to each other in narrow alleys.
Usually taking over the ground floor of a dilapidated building, each store is jam-packed with various goods. The market is sectioned off depending on the goods you’re looking for, from trims to sari material to denim to pots and pans. The helter-skelter of the market is exacerbated by the rickshaws that somehow manage to squeeze themselves in-between the stores on the roads coupled with the thousands of people walking along, running various errands.
Even if you don’t buy anything here, it’s an experience unto itself and one can hire a rickshaw for an hour (200 INR, or 3 USD) if you just want a ride through the markets. Make sure you check out the jewellery and trim sections in the markets as this is where the rest of India get its stock from; it’s the main source of these materials.
2. Lajpat Nagar is pricey but worth it
Best enjoyed in the late afternoon sun as the shopkeepers lazily ask you to enter their store, Lajpat Nagar is home to some of the best fabric stores in the country. The streets are lined with various stalls selling goods like jeans, sweaters, cellphone covers, shirts and sweaters. No cars are allowed in several of the streets so these pedestrian-only streets are a hawkers’ heaven.
Make sure you enter the sari shops and fabric stores that line the exterior of the markets, and if you’re feeling peckish, there’s a whole host of restaurants and shops nearby where you can whet your appetite. K.C Creations comes highly recommended for well-priced fabrics along with Vastra, another haven for fabric. Make sure you ask around for Vastra as they’re hard to miss but famous enough that anyone can guide you to it.
3. Dilli Haat is everyone's favourite evening hang-out
Not a well-kept secret by any means, Dilli Haat is Delhi’s best local handicraft shopping area. An entrance fee of 60 INR (0.90 USD) is required for foreigners, but it’s well worth it as you enter what is one of the best areas to while away the evening. Locals and foreigners alike come here past sundown and until 10 pm, when the area closes, to enjoy the stalls and restaurants alike.
Each stall is from a different part of India with the locals of that region coming all the way to Delhi to sell their wares. From gorgeous Rajasthani fabrics to Kashmiri shawls to wood utensils from Sikkim to vases from Tamil Nadu, Dilli Haat is a smorgasbord of fascinating goods from all of India. The best part is that each stall rotates after fifteen days, ensuring that the market is always fresh with new material.
Make sure you check out the carpet section of the market as the prices on offer for the material is second-to-none. You can get a pure Afghan or Kashmiri carpet for less than 5000 INR (75 USD), and even cheaper if you’re good at bargaining. If you get hungry around dinner time, there are also restaurants and eateries from different parts of India.
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Delhi's markets are a goldmine
Apart from museums, monuments and our recommended sites, Delhi has a lot more to offer. Spending a day at each of these markets is easily doable, and if you want just the experience, you can easily go to all three places in one day using the Delhi metro, which connects them all with ease.
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