Markets are flooded with crackers, decorated with lights and choc-a-block with festive goodies — preparations for Diwali are in full swing. To get a feel of the festive fervour, we walked down the oldest cracker market in Delhi — Pai Walan, opposite the Jama Masjid. One of the shops there, Imperial Fireworks, has been selling firecrackers for the last 70 years. This time, it’s not just the usual rockets and phooljhadis, Imperial Fireworks and other shops have also stocked a range of Chinese firecrackers.
The hottest selling item is the Chinese ladi — a strip of bombs set to go off consecutively with 10,000 bombs. “This ladi takes 60 seconds to burn out. Sometimes it even lasts for two minutes,” says a seller. These ladis are priced between Rs.2,400 to Rs.4,000.
Bollywood is passe
For the past few years, crackers with images of Bollywood actors on the cover have been the biggest sellers. This time, however, we spotted just a few odd boxes with images of actors Kareena Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai on them. Foreign actors, such as Lindsay Lohan and Jennifer Aniston and Milla Jovovich, have taken over the firecracker covers.
Dragon fight, Seventy Two shots and Spring Butterflies, among others, are some of the new products in the market. Besides the fancy Chinese firecrackers, the shops are packed with innovative noise-free fireworks. “These days, people usually don’t like the sound of bombs, hence most go for anars, charkhis and rockets, which create a visual treat. Also, these fireworks don’t scare children and pets,” says Rajender, who works at Prem Fireworks in the same area.
With shops loaded with firecrackers, the shop owners have taken precautions to ensure that no accidents happen. ‘No Smoking’ plaques and warning boards have been displayed across the market. Fire extinguishers and buckets of sand are also placed outside most of the shops.
“I love to shop for my fireworks from this market as you can get good deals and a lot of variety here,” says Sumit Bansal, a 19-year-old student from the Capital.
How to Get Here
* What: The cracker market in the Pai Wala gali in Old Delhi
* Where: Opposite Jama Masjid, Old Delhi
* Nearest Metro Station: Chandni Chowk on the Yellow Line
* Phooljhadis: R80-R100 per box
* Bombs: R300 upwards for a box of six to eight pieces
* Pistols: R50 for a pistol with 15 bullets free.
* Ladis: R30 onwards for the smallest strip.
* Anaars: A small anaar costs about R20 to R35. Prices increase with size
* Chakris: A box of 10 will cost R90 upwards
Don’t miss while you’re here
Do try the Daulat ki Chaat, which you can find in the streets of Kinari Bazaar and Dariba Kalan in Old Delhi. Made in a big vessel, the orangish coloured chaat is frothy and creamy, and is coated with dry fruits. Also known as makkhan malai in Lucknow, it is served in paper bowls and costs R15 and R20 for one dona
The biggest attraction in the market currently is the longest ladi of the year. It has 10,000 bombs in it and lasts up to a minute or more. The price ranges from Rs.24,00 to Rs.4,000.
Other Places For Wholesale Cracker Shopping
This is one of the largest wholesale markets of household items in Delhi and is located at the western side of Khari Baoli. You can head here for all your Diwali shopping — from candles, to decorations to all sorts of crackers. If you’re looking for branded crackers or something new and funky, this is your
Nearest Metro Station: Chawri Bazaar on the Yellow Line
Lajpat Rai Market
Known for electronic equipment, you can get a good deal on fairy lights here, specially if you’re looking to light up your whole house and need lights in bulk. Besides this, most shopkeepers also have cracker stalls outside, so you can get other stuff for your festive celebrations.
Nearest Metro Station: Chandni Chowk on the Yellow LineCracker Bazaar, Gurgaon
Located at Leisure Valley, Sector 29, it has more than 200 stalls. It’s an open ground, and water and sand buckets are kept to prevent accidents. Nearest Metro Station: Huda City Centre on the Yellow Line