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Shopping in Delhi is an Indian experience you won't forget. From dusty streetside markets teeming with locals to modern multi-level shopping complexes and boutique designer establishments, there's no shortage of options. And then there's the sellers perched along the footpaths and lingering at every tourist site. It's practically impossible not to buy in India.
Here's a guide to just a few of Delhi's shopping havens.
Chandni Chowk Market Old Delhi
Get amongst it in Chandni Chowk - but if you don't like big crowds don't bother. Once a major trading centre of Asia, this market is swarming with people to navigate your way through - more than usual for Delhi - and at times there are bikes, bullock-drawn carts and cars to dodge too. Consider it an adventure! Chandni Chowk has the busiest and cheapest markets you'll find. It's where the many of the other sellers in town go to get their goods, so why not go straight to the source. You'll find a bit of everything - books, clothes, shoes, leather goods, electronic goods, food stalls and an immeasurable number of other matter. Don't miss the narrow side-lanes for even more options and a few surprises too. Centuries old, Chandni Chowk was established in 1650 when Mughal Emperor Shahjahan shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi and wanted a market just across the road from his fort - Red Fort, perched at the end of the shopping strip.
Connaught Place New Delhi
Also known as CP, the area offers a mix of shops, restaurants, bazaars and cinema halls packed into two concentric circles that wrap around an expansive circular park at the centre. It can be easily categorised into two areas - Inner Circle and Outer Circle. Situated in the heart of Delhi, CP is a popular place to shop. Amongst the colonial-style buildings with colonnaded verandahs you'll find over 400 retailers, including branches of all the major International banks, a number of tour operators, tourist-friendly food joints, modern local brands and some western outlets too. Branching off the circular ways are sub-markets and an air-conditioned underground market, Palika Bazaar, dominated by electronic items, clothing, fake designer products, pirated software and other illegal bits and pieces. The prices down here are low, but be careful and watch your bag. CP is closed on Sundays.
DLF Emporio New Delhi
India's five-star luxury mall, this is the perfect place to exchange the dust and smells for high-end designer extravagance. With an Italian marble, burnished wood and detailed brass interior, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in the middle of Paris or Milan (just don't look out the window). Showcasing only the top international designers, the likes of Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Fendi, Dior, Just Cavali, DKNY, Burberry and Hugo Boss retail here, the only place in India you'll find the real versions. Lap up the luxury to the sound of the classical pianist playing in the central lobby. Whatever you do, don't miss the floor dedicated to India's top fashion designers. Ranging from traditional garments to impressive modern-twists on conventional ideas, the colours are mesmerising, the designs stunning, and the results tempting to the hip pocket.
Dilli Haat New Delhi
Dilli Haat is the first ever permanent craft market showcasing handicrafts from all over India. It's a project created to bring together the many different styles and techniques of craftsmanship and handicrafts iconic to each state. Rows of bangles, silks, fabrics, decorative ornaments, furniture, leather goods, rugs and spices - and as always much more - are presented well for browsing along the organised stall setups. Created to imitate a village fair atmosphere, there are also open-air stages for traditional performances from across the country, and a wide range of cuisines. Not quite a traditional market, Dilli Haat is definitely the tamest ‘market' you'll find in Delhi, and if you're not travelling throughout India this could be a good chance to see the traditional variances. With 62 stalls, spaces are allotted on a rotational basis to vendors who would otherwise be limited to selling within their own village. Barter hard to bring the prices down. There's also a small ticketed entry fee: 15 Rupees for adults and 5 Rupees for children.
Janpath Market New Delhi
Stretching north of the Imperial Hotel, the streetside Janpath Market tinkles with everything from chimes, trinkets and pocket-sized souvenirs to shawls, clothes, pillow covers and colourful crafts. Well known for its wide variety of fashions, the market includes street-side shopfronts and vendors who simply spread their garments and handicrafts along the footpath and pinned up to the walls. You can even get your ears pierced in the street with some dangly new earrings, if you're game. Next to Janpath you'll find plenty more crafts and jewellery at the Tibetan Market, and Connaught Place is just up the road. Janpath Market is closed on Sundays.
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