The Basant Lok complex, popularly known as Priya’s, has been a favourite hangout spot for years. With its spacious lanes, innumerable shops and a balanced mix of high-end, affordable and street options of clothes, food and accessories, this market caters to all kind of customers. Once considered the most happening hangout zone in the city, the place is losing out to malls opening up in Vasant Kunj and Saket. Many of the shops have rolled down shutters and moved to these malls.
In this age of multiplexes, PVR Priya as a single-screen theatre, hasn’t lost its charm. It still is a class apart from its counterparts, such as Odeon, Regal or Rivoli in Connaught Place. Rather than the rickshaw-pullers occupying the front row; you’d find college goers-enjoying a fun flick with friends. The theatre doesn’t allow bags inside, and the cigarette-selling kiosk just opposite the theatre makes quick buck out of this — you can deposit your bag here for R10.
The old fountain
Quite often, numerous pigeons fly down to the huge circular dry fountain that has two earthen bowls of water and grains scattered. You would find people sitting motionless on the boundary, watching these birds closely.
Apart from the big labels, there are street shops selling equally fashionable items. Two shops, just opposite Archies — the popular gift and card shop — offer surplus garments at cheap rates. Not just clothes, this complex has stalls with a great collection of belts, bags, footwear and jewellery. But don’t forget to bargain!
Stores such as Modern Bazaar and Le Marche stock a great variety of cheese, breads, soups, frozen meats and much more. Here you will find what you may not be able to find at any other grocery store and this is what makes them popular among the expats.
As you approach the complex, a long line of pan shops welcomes you. Apart from the regular stuff, common at most pan shops, here you can find the special chocolate pan. At just R20, when huge chunks of chocolate along with the gooey pan mixture, wrapped in a betel leaf, melt in your mouth, it is a moment of complete bliss, not to be missed.
More to it
Priya’s is not only about shopping, eating and watching movies — there’s much more to it — coffee shops, fitness options, salons and skin clinics. Alongside the tattoo parlour, where you can etch funky tattoos, there is an astrology point, frequented by youngsters eager to know about their budding relationships. Also till the end of this December, you can find a shop, right opposite the theatre that stocks Delhi souvenirs, comprising bags, mugs, cups and T-shirts. During the day, shoeshine boys roam about with their polish kits and wooden planks, looking for customers. A place for book-lovers too, the complex has bookshops such as Om Book Shop, and Fact and Fiction. There is also a magazine stall that has all kinds of magazines and novels you can think of.
Eat and drink
Be it a quick meal at McDonalds, the smoking hot crispy pizzas at Pizza Hut, the yummy noodles at Yo China, the traditional tandoori delicacies at Punjabi by Nature or the crispy chicken at KFC, you can just take your pick easily in this market. You can have a sinful Hot Chocolate Fudge at Nirulas to satisfy your sweet craving or eat a healthy sub and salad at Subway. The options don’t end here. There’s also street food you could binge on. From momos, french fries and hot dogs to sweet potato juices to steamed corn, you name it, you have it here. RPM, the discotheque, is popular amongst the young lot. Unlike the other discs, in RPM, you would find loud music playing even in the afternoon. In the evening, a huge crowd gathers around the stairs. Also equally popular among the young lot is Hash. The market also boasts of other hotspots like The O Experience and Turquoise Cottage.