Book market

The Daryaganj Sunday Book Market, now at Mahila Haat, still carries a wonderful charm!

Among all book markets in Delhi, Daryaganj Sunday Book Market held a special place in the hearts of Delhiites that still hasn’t changed even after moving to a new location!

The markets have always been a great representative of the old way of life in Delhi and its culture. One can hardly ignore the fact that markets like Chandni Chowk and Meena Bazaar are part of Delhi’s heritage which, although not local, domestic and international tourists love to explore during their visits. One such market, an attractive attraction for bibliophiles, has been the popular Daryaganj Sunday Book Market for a year.

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Installed only on Sundays, this market seems to have existed since the 1960s but has experienced many relocations over time. Also known as Sunday Patri Kitab Bazaar, it was first established behind the popular Jama Masjid near Kasturba Gandhi Hospital. The documents indicate that at that time there were only four to five vendors selling the books that would be second-hand, collected from Kabadiwalas.

Over time, the market has seen several relocations around Jama Masjid and the Red Fort. In the end, it turned out to be fixed on the sidewalks of Netaji Subhash Marg and Asaf Ali Road, giving the market an “L” shape as the number of vendors also increased to almost 250 Until 2019, the bazaar stretched from Golcha Cinema to Delite. Cinema, both closed.

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After the Supreme Court ordered the closure of the market which had become a cause of traffic congestion, the market remained closed for some time. But, to relieve book lovers, it has been reopened at Mahila Haat, near Delhi Gate metro station on Asaf Ali Road.

This recent relocation, however, has changed the decades-long habit of people wandering the streets to pick up their favorite books and novels in an informal market as the Mahila Haat paved the way for it to be cleaner and more organized for the readers. However, reports claim that the sellers were unhappy with the new settlement and had also staged protests against the relocation, not all of which yielded positive results.

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Now, strolling through Mahila Haat in this new Sunday market, explores the variety of genres, and one can choose from second-hand novels, children’s books, coloring books, biographies, quizzes, memoirs, coffee table books, Mangas, comics, encyclopedias, contest books and old books.

You will come across people saying that they even had the chance to choose books at prices as low as Rs 10! Believe it or not, this market surely offers books at very low prices. One of the main reasons could be the fact that they are second-hand and placed on the ground with dust covering them on all sides.

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Apart from that, there is a good chance that you will get the first signed copies of various books and novels here. It just requires your keen eyes and patience under the sun if you visited during the summer. Since vendors aren’t very interested in offering carry bags, it’s a good idea to have your own.

Although you can negotiate with the sellers for the price you want, and there are times when they might agree with you, you also have to be prepared that some of them may not be prepared to. lower the costs. In such cases, you can either find these books from other vendors.

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It is also easy for you to find some stationery here, as well as antique products from bygone eras. Unlike before, now as the market moves to Mahila Haat, the crowd appears less and with the specific motive of buying books. The more organized space also aims to reduce instances of pickpocketing, which was a common feature in Daryaganj.

Another minor change that can be seen among sellers is that they have now switched to the digital mode of transaction. We still advise you to carry cash with you, as many would still not have it. And, you definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on buying your favorite book!

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However, what has not changed is the tea vendor who served tea to vendors and a few customers at the former location of this book market. He can be seen wandering here too. Back in Daryaganj, those big bookstores still exist that sell books in kilos! If you want to visit a better place to buy clean and dust-free books, you can always visit these stores. After all, Mahila Haat is not very far from Daryaganj.

Whatever the location, what can never change is a book lover’s interest in visiting this market and the urge to look at every colorful text and graphic that emerges from these books!

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