Its not a chor bazaar, but a Sunday market!
The much coveted/ infamous chor bazaar in Old Delhi instills a sense of curiosity and awe just enough to make you wake up on a Sunday morning at 5 am. A lot has been discussed about the chronicles of this legendary market of stolen stuff in closed circles over the years. Team Escape Route decided to test all the theories at once.
This market spreads right in front of red fort in Delhi at 6 am every Sunday morning. The one kilometer long stretch from Dariyaganj extends up to Chandni Chowk. Yes! Its true, you will find everything from apparels to home utilities in this market. What you see in abundance are first copies of all possible brands one can think of. One would find apparels, shoes, accessories etc. in abundance. The energy at the place is overwhelming. You will find hordes of eager onlookers pushing their way through the crowd bearing the stench and the sale-cries of the hawkers standing on top of their stalls jammed against each other.
Some of the product designs and presentations are surely commendable. However, on closer inspection one realizes it is just a con game. As you get engrossed finding your way in the crowd moving from one stall to another, it hits you this is not the legendary chor bazaar but a lighter, quicker, cheaper version of Sarojini Nagar market in New Delhi.
It took us hours and a lot of walking to find out the stuff one should expect at a chor bazaar; 3 pieces of LED TVs stacked along the bark of a tree, laptops wrapped in plastic next to the TV sets. We also came across few used iron sets dusted and put on display alongside a few worn out pair of shoes which at least looked genuine.
It is amusing to see used shampoo bottles / toiletries containers that have been re-filled with liquid soap on sale. You cannot open and check the stuff until you buy a pack of two stacked together in a sheet of plastic.
Each stall at this morning bazaar is a live tutorial in bargaining. A pair of shoe that would cost you INR 600 at one stall will have an ask-price of INR 1500 at the next stall. Each salesman/con-man has a signature style of selling you his products and it is you who has to make the final decision, for the salesman does not have time. Team Escape Route weighed a lot of options and has prepared an average price list for your ready reference:
- Jeans 250
- Shirts 200
- Shorts and socks 20
- Shoes beginning 500
- Goats 15000 onward (during Eid)
- Toiletries 2 for 150
- Wallets 100
Do not miss out on the delicacies in the inner lanes that are prepared early morning. Puri Halwa tops the charts among many other savories. Parathe Wali Gali at Chandni Chowk isn’t far away and serves as the right breakfast joint after a couple of hours of shopping at the Chor Bazaar err.. Sunday morning market..
ER takeaway: The once noted Chor Bazaar has lost its sheen and element of surprise over the past years and is just a Sunday market where you could buy sub-standard products at cheap rates.