By Upasana Gupta

My Nana, an avid reader, a collector of books, among many other things, a sophisticated and amazing man, used to take his daughter to a strange market in Delhi, where the street boasted not of food, clothes or jewellery, but of heaps and tons of disorganised books. Now, nearly 3 decades later, it still exists, in the by-lanes of Purani Dilli, to be endured by the generations to follow. You know that charm of a messy chaotic bazaar, as opposed to an ordinary organised store? Well that’s what you encounter at the Daryaganj Sunday Kitaab Bazaar.

Books, my feel-goods, the smell of old pages in old books, the sound of flipping a page, the look, the feel of the stacks against the shelf, the familiar names, the unfamiliar endings, I guess you could call me a bibliophile.

The footpath stretch, strewn with books of all genres and themes and authors and languages, old book-walas sprawled like walruses, upon their treasured ‘maal’ {the books}, with no knowledge whatsoever of their prized possessions. The backdrop of ruined sandstone fortress added to the vibe of the day. It is believed that the Mughals used to organise a chor bazaar, to strategically find a lost ‘ring’, in the circle of thievery, parallel to this book bazaar, and then the shopkeepers conceptualized the idea of a book bazaar, trying to create a ‘flea-market’. In the age of no google/wiki, magazines used to serve as the prime source of glossy pictures, project information from the ‘down to earths’, and not just current, but magazines dated back to whatever issue you desire.

What to find |

You can find pretty much everything from a ‘Wuthering Heights’ to the entire Jeffrey Archer collection to academic course books, and all of course, for at least one-fourth, if not lesser, of the printed price. There’s hard bound classic digests and there’s dog-eared oldies, there’s diagonally printed biographies and there’s rejected discontinued scripts. Amidst the ‘George Eliot’ classics {bound in cherry red leather}, the many many copies of the ‘Anne Frank’ diary and the pot-pourri of Shakespeare’s works, I found myself over-indulging in the art of shopping, something I rarely enjoy.

Somewhere near the Bata store is a book-wala who has the best collection of ‘Collezioni’ and ‘Moda’ for the fashionistas, printed prices being more than 2000, and being sold here for 400 bucks. Pick from the palate of art, technology, self-help, photography, travel, and the works; there’s something for everyone who walks down the deranged sidewalk.

 

When & Where | Notes in our Little Black Book

Every Sunday, 9 am till late evening

Daryaganj {asaf ali road side}

Closest metro station- Chawri bazaar

Don’t drive yourself, you will not find parking unless you’re superman {closest parking: Hotel Broadway Asafali Road}.

Go in the first half of the day if you’re not scared of the sun, it gets crowded later and the ‘accha maal’ starts to finish.

You do need to hunt through the {more often that not} mixed up books, to find what you need.

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx

I’ve found myself time and again, going back to books, old and new and those in the middle, and reading and exploring not just to unravel what’s been written within, but even the part of me that reveals itself by the simple relativity to a parallel character.

Leaving the rest of it for you to see for yourself!

 Please feel free to write to me at upasana@littleblackbookdelhi.com

About The Author

upasana

Start the conversation

Shefali K. says:

Hi Upasana,
Would you know if any bookseller or shop at the Daryaganj Fair specializes in books on Gandhi, leaders of the Independence era, Indian politics and history ?
Thanks,
Shefali

Shobhit says:

Sir
Someone told me that this market opens at 10am is it true?
Can i get book for iit preparation(engineering exam ) here? They will be second hand or new? How much discount at max will i get on cover price? From which shop should i buy these books?
Currently i am in12 th and new to delhi plz helppp

I also want to buy about 80 thick ruled reguster like the classmate ones with good page quality. Can i buy from here? Which shop is best what price will i get for

Ankit Mishra says:

Upasana, Do I can purchase in bulk?I am interested in second hand engineering book.

upasana Editors says:

Hi Ankit,
There are many books on engineering available at the Book Bazaar. I’m almost sure you should be able to find some :) Try the shops towards the right side of the market, away from Turkman Gate- those generally stock education-related books.
Hope this helps

~ Upasana

setpanchifree says:

well i have listened about this market like a many times.
but your article make me think to collect something from there. I just love to keep books and wish to have a library of my own …(little one) :) thanks for inspiring me… :)
keep writing keep rocking..

Guest says:

Upasana… if one parks the car at Broadway, how long does it take from there?

Upas says:

Hi, 
It is around a 10-15 minute walk. Almost everyone there is pretty familiar with the way to the Book Bazaar, so if you ask around, directions shouldn’t be a problem either. Feel free to post any other questions :) 

Akshay kaushik says:

nice work.. found ur article really cool.. now will surely want to see this book bazar in real…!!!
carry on this awesome work.. :)

Drashya93 says:

hey cn u tell me how 2 reach thr by metro?

Upas says:

Hi Drashya, you can take the metro to Chawri Bazaar and take an auto from there- its a 5 minute auto distance.

Upasana

Prerit says:

Or what you can do it get down at chandni chowk metro station and exit from Delhi public library side and from there you can take any bus to Daryaganj, Almost all buses go there and it will cost you a mere Rs 5. I do the same!! All the best :)