Rows of booksellers seem to magically spring up on the stretch between Delite cinema and Jama Masjid in Daryaganj every Sunday morning, welcoming bright-eyed bibliophiles on a mission. Rare book titles at throwaway prices, a chance to hoard books by the kilo, and an opportunity to gawk at books from every genre. This is the Sunday Kitab Bazaar in Old Delhi, a revered tradition that has been around for nearly three decades.
Asaf Ali Marg and Netaji Subhash Marg are the places to go to if your eyes are longing for a glimpse of a beautiful second-hand copy of a classic or if your fingers wish to trace someone’s thoughtful writings along the margins of a fairy-tale.
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If you’re a nervous student preparing for a competitive exam and you need all the help you can get, you should consider visiting the market for the colossal collection of useful books at affordable prices.
Be warned, though – this isn’t the place for you if you’re only looking for a specific title. The Book Market is a wondrous dive into the unknown, and full of splendid possibilities.
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Brace yourself for an overwhelming experience; you’ll be enthralled at the sheer enormity of it all. You will probably end up buying a lot more than you predicted – it’s only natural, there are way too many incredible titles you won’t want to go home without.
You’ll be hiking in the hot sun in the summer because the best time to get there is around 10 AM if you want to grab the best copies before they’re sold out. Make no mistake; this one is a very popular spot for those who love their books. You must hustle or you’ll be left behind, seething.
It’s always a good idea to lug around a backpack because books are sold for as cheap as 10 rupees (yes, you read that right.)
You’ll be walking a lot and for that, you will need sturdy shoes and a bottle of water for your expedition. Every minute spent traipsing along the stretch almost spanning 2 kilometers will be well worth it.
If you’re good at haggling, go for it. Some sellers comply, some refuse firmly, and others have great deals already – it’s a beautiful universe and you have nothing to lose.
Getting there: The nearest metro station is Chawri Bazaar, take an auto-rickshaw from there to the market. Go as early as you can, you’ll be super pleased about that later!