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As the wedding season begins, we take you to the Asia's biggest mandi of wedding cards. Read on to know more about the Chawri Bazaar and how to proceed for your card selection.

entertainment Updated: Oct 15, 2010 14:24 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi

The wedding season has just begun, and you are most likely to head to the Walled City’s Chawri Bazaar. A part of this market is dedicated exclusively to wedding cards. The place is easily accessible. If you are at the Chawri Bazaar Metro station, walk in the direction of Jama Masjid. Soon, chaat stalls will give way to card shops (more clues: daily wage labourers carrying tonnes of A-4 size paper on their bent backs). This is our destination.

Huge is the word. A store owner casually observed that the bazaar has more than 500 card shops. Another claimed that it was Asia’s biggest mandi of paper and wedding cards. It wasn’t always that way. The card business started here during the 70s. It quickly took root, as the workers needed to make a card — designers and labourers — were already in the area.



wedding cardThe trade flourished, and today, all sorts of cards are sold here, with prices ranging from Rs.2 to Rs.80 to more, in colours ranging from garish maroons and purples to conservative whites. Some are even printed in languages like Hindi, Bengali, Gurumukhi and Urdu.

The stores generally take an order of a minimum of 50 cards. The wedding season, from September to April, is the busiest time. Both big showrooms and small stalls are then crowded with shoppers — mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters — agonising over designs, colours and the wording.

“Nowadays, men and women, especially those who work in the IT sector, often come themselves to choose their wedding cards,” says Vipin Ahuja of Cards Corner. The younger generation, which prefers “sober and non-flashy cards” is often at odds with parents who want “as many religious symbols as possible,” he says. Nevertheless, the inter-generational disputes are resolved — often in favour of parents — and orders given.

Ahuja says that he prints around 25,000 cards every month during peak season. Not impressed? Multiply that with 500 shops and you have 1 crore, 25 lakh invitations from the card market each month!