In the age of kindles and e books, who really cares for the all the paper backs and the hard bound books? That is a really good question. Personally, I am a book lover- the one with a cover whose pages you can feel but it doesn’t mean that I am up in arms against these new reading devices. Let’s accept it- they are easy to handle, easy to carry. But you can’t dog ear them, nor you can read them while having lunch or dinner- or places that are best left unmentioned. Books are wonderful and I am one of those people who scream with delight when they see a good book. Daryaganj old book market in Old Delhi is a paradise for book lovers. Umm, not just novels, lots of magazines, self-help books, comics, coffee table books, cheap good quality bags, spiral note books and other stationary and even the syllabus books can be found sprawled on the one metre wide pavement. For those preparing for various competitions and entrance exams- all kinds of books and supplementary books can also be found at an unbelievable price. Lovers of mills and boons can buy such ‘novels’ at just Rs. 20/-! Other expensive books can be bought at a price that is almost like eighty per cent discount on the original price and that too in excellent condition.
For those looking for something new to read, just take a walk down the daryaganj lane and you’ll find books that you didn’t even expect to find anywhere. Yes, it’s a treasure trove.
I think earlier I said ‘take a walk’- I seriously meant it word by word. You cannot go there in your BMWs or Nanos or even riding the extinct Bajaj scooter. The area is in old Delhi, so obviously it is full of life and the source of that life is the huge crowd. It is not one of those sad, melancholic corners where you think you’ll find a comfortable, lonely spot to sit and read something from the thousands of books lying in front of you. Nah, there is barely space to keep your own body parts in a place. And as for sitting down and reading something- the good Bhaiya(s) and Uncle(s) do not want a crowd in front of their book display and they ask you to move immediately-unless, of course, you are nice, polite and courteous to them and buy something straight from their shelf.
I find this market very tempting and it is my most favourite place in the whole of Delhi. The books are of course are the major attraction but you get to see so many people from all walks of life- book lovers every week at one place, something like that only. And since it is in old Delhi, there is history all around, you just got to pay attention. The market is spread over long area ( I won’t use the word large, that would be providing wrong information) and checking out each vendor is impossible. And being humans, you do get tired and hungry and as we all know, old Delhi is one of the places with delicious eateries. That is another added attraction of the place. Besides, there is Jama Masjid and Red Fort in the vicinity, where there is even a bigger market, which actually encroaches into the territory of the book market. That is another thing that one must check out though some other day because it is impossible for a novice to cover both the markets in the same day.
Here is the information-
Place- Daryaganj, Old Delhi
Nearest metro station- Chavri Bazaar on the yellow line
Time- Morning 10 a.m ( and that is the best time to visit, all the stuff is there and the crowd is very less. On the down side, not all the vendors are there) till late evening.
There is the promise of finding great books but with a lot of walking and the herculean task to look through the large number of books. And if this seems too much work, one always can miss on such brilliant markets and books from an online store.
(source of image 1- ourdelhistruggle.com
Image 2- dnaofdelhi.com)