In good books


Whatever your interest area be, if you are looking for some good books, head straight to the Sunday books market in Old Delhi’s Daryaganj

Be it the intersecting narrow lanes, exquisitely designed havelis or the age old markets, Delhi’s Walled City has a lot of things on its platter to talk about. That’s the reason going to Old Delhi has always been an exciting experience for Delhiwallas. Especially, Sundays become more interesting in Daryaganj, mainly because of the ever popular books market on the sides of Daryaganj main road.

For more than two decades the market has been keeping alive the taste and flavour of the bibliophiles of the capital city. Located in an area of around 1.5 km starting from Daryaganj red light to Delite Cinema, the market has hundreds of stalls having a rich collection of old and new books. The popularity of the market is such that it has become one of the Sunday attractions in Old Delhi for Delhiites and foreign tourists alike.

What makes this books market unique is the large variety of books available here. Starting from elementary school books to higher classes and from entrance exam study material to super speciality books on photography, interiors and even surgery, everything is available on the pavements of Daryaganj. But, the only thing that is needed is a lot of patience and the ability to scan the book you require from thousands of books that lay open in this market. “The market has something for everyone. For someone preparing for GRE or TOEFL to looking for hobby books everything is available here. I have come here to collect good study material for IIT entrance. Here notes as well as books are available from several institutes and that too at cheaper rates,” says Rahul Bhatia, a student of Class XI. What makes Daryaganj Books market first choice of serious book lovers and avid book collectors is the availability of some rare and old books in this market. “There are books, especially in Urdu and Persian literature, which are generally not available in regular book shops. Moreover there are not many book shops in Delhi and most of the existing book shops are mainly concentrated in South and Lutyen’s Delhi, leaving no choice for the book lovers in other parts of the city,” says Dr RK Mishra, who has recently retired after four decades of career in academics.

Apart from the large variety of books available here, another major attraction is the heavy discount one can avail here, but only after constant bargaining. “That’s the fun of buying books from here, we get discount upto 50-60%. But now it’s getting quite difficult. The shopkeepers are becoming more and more fussy about giving discounts. They also know that there is no dearth of book lovers in Delhi. But still if you have good bargaining skills, then this is the best place to apply them,” says Latika Das, a student of architecture.

Despite its popularity, time and again several issues have been cropping up regarding this market, including that of book piracy and encroachment. Recently, the issue once again grabbed limelight when on June 22 this year, police officials from the area ordered the weekly book bazaar to be closed. The reason that was put forward was that the crowd results in traffic congestion, pick pocketing and even eve teasing. But like several previous years, nothing much happened. The market is running every week at its age old venue, as usual thronged by thousands of book lovers.

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