City Hangout – Sarojini Nagar Market, South Delhi
Everything and more.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Think of Sarojini Nagar, or SN, as the setting of a trashy fairy tale.
It is fit for a beautiful princess, robbed off her principality and left with little to buy a dress for the evening ball where she is to meet her dream prince.
A haven for bargain, SN is the people’s bazaar. On sale – T-shirts, skirts, frocks, jeans, sandals, saris, lehengas, nighties, hankies, bags, inflatable bathtubs, hair pins, toys, pillows, suitcases, plastic tulips, Italian softy and bunta drink, among other things unimaginable.
Every serious shopper converges here – from students on a budget to bored housewives, tourists from other Indian states, and East Europeans.
Fronting the larger shops and showrooms are hundreds of makeshift stalls – all lined with a colorful melee. Leather bags hang from tree branches, lurid pink bras wave in the breeze, T-shirts lie in untidy mounds, and tacky mannequins wearing halters startle you out of nowhere.
You can pick up T-shirts at Rs 50, dresses at Rs 200 and tops at Rs 100 – fashionable largesse from the world of export rejects.
You can even hunt for fake labels and walk away with Gap, Tommy Hilfiger and Lacoste – who’s to know anyway?
An anthropologist could write a book by sitting at the bazaar entrance and observing life: Old women sell lemons and guavas, middle-class matrons rest on benches, migrant workers dig up cable lines, caste-crossed lovers meet under the peepal trees, sunken-cheeked boys hawk handkerchiefs, showroom security guards grumble on cell phones, beggars drag themselves across the pavement, unemployed young men play carrom and chauffeur-driven memsahibs bargain over Rs 10.
SN is a kind of mad-fun place, where, laden with shopping bags, you can stop for Punjabi chhole bhathure, followed by Tibetan momos and Bengali rasgulla.
If you are the type that believes life was better 100 years ago, think again. Then there was no SN.
Nearest metro station INA Open 11am to 8 pm, Monday closed
My biggest peeve with SN is the lack of good restaurants there. In fact, I seem to remember there are NO restaurants in SN, only some juice and snack shops.
sahi s bhai, thodi aur bi photu laga deta saath mein 🙂
I agree, there is lack of restaurants in SN.
prior to the introduction of international retail brands like(mango, zara, forever 21, and soon H&M and other known universally known brands that typically can be found in the malls in europe, north america, and affluent cities in east asia like hong kong, singapore, seoul), SAROJNI NAGAR was hands down the best place to get fashionable clothing in Delhi….in many ways, especially in regards to university students, it’s still the best place to go shopping for stylish clothing. It might be cheap but the designs are way better than the clothes found in air conditioned clothing stores. At Sarojni market, i once found an exact same denim dress i once bought in NY at H&M for more than half the price. Talk about a bargain! but only problem is that at sarojni, you really have to search like an experienced search & rescue team member to get your hands on the nicest clothes. the sellers(bless their hearts) always end up pinning & displaying the ugliest looking clothes on wall behind where they sit. the pretty clothes end up sitting deep down under piles of ugly tops, skirts and dresses.lol
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