The stories of Paharganj allure the minds and sights of both local and travellers. When you start on the road which leads to you its main bazaar, sights stimulates you with shops carrying Bob Marley prints and wooden decorations that seduce you to its carving. Chaotic and shady, it is a place that invites the fashionable vagabonds who are wearing the ornaments of their exuberate taste.
Where the Mughal poet laureate Zauq’s grave lies, Paharganj is a paradise for both the budgeted travellers and shopping fanatics. If you think you are a good bargainer, this place provides you with a challenge to exercise (and preferably, sharpen) your skills. Main Bazaar is ornamented with archaic structure shops that overflow with books, jewellery, textile, wooden statues, incense sticks, teas of all kinds and handicrafts. In between, you would find cafes that shelter both the tired and energetic hustle bustle of the land.
Walking amongst the dreadlocks while listening to retro Bollywood music that bursts out here and there from the shops, Paharganj attracts me for its collection of affordable clothes and fresh jewellery. Fashion constantly transforms itself here, and every time I come here I find it fresh, alluring and interesting. The choices are inextinguishable and you leave with more memories of what else you could have bought but couldn’t. If you are looking for ethnic jewellery to accentuate your next wedding outfit, head straight to Guru Handicraft Emporium for its variety of earrings of all shapes and sizes, necklaces and rings. What attracts me about this place is that you can have different color options for the same earring design. For my love of hoop earrings, I attack Durga Art which showcases most extensive and creative collection of designs in real silver.
After fulfilling my appetite for jewellery, I dig deeper into the streets for its second hand book stores and my feet always carry me towards The Jackson’s Bookstore. Carrying within itself history of prints and invisible fingerprints that have traced its pages, second hand book stores are the breath of the Paharganj streets. Carrying few beneath my arms, I find the place to be a wanderer’s wonderland. You pass artists and businessmen, lanterns and paper lamps hanging from the shops (cc: Galaxy Handicraft is one of them), old singing bowls, and everything scented with antique. The day ends with a plate of pasta and coffee in the terrace of Sam’s Café through which you can see the adorning flag of India (standing tall in Connaught Place) flying in an intimate slow motion with the wind. If you like the cakes but do not wish to take the stairs, Appetite German Bakery is also a platform of peaceful solitude.
Time pauses and exchanges conversations over coffee in the heart of Delhi where Paharganj lies. No matter how much you wander and window shop, you always leave with a feeling that you haven’t seen it completely.
How To Reach: New Delhi Metro Station
What To Take: A bag, a wallet and a friend who knows how to bargain 😛