Going to the Hanuman Mandir at Baba Kharag Singh Marg can be double delight for you. The marketplace around the temple is ceaselessly abuzz with women and girls frantic to buy bangles and bindis or to get henna put on their palms, while the men tag along murmuring words of approval.
As you walk around, you will encounter dozens of stalls stacked with bangles in every possible colour, with women waiting their turn to adorn their wrists, and make their presence felt with the musical jangling of bangles they plan to buy.
“My father started a bangle shop here with his father when he was all of 12 years old. Today he is 110 years old, while I have spent my whole life in this market too,” says Abdul Khalid, the owner of one of one such shop.
As trends have changed over the years, work on the bangles has only become more intricate. The bangles are made of glass, metal or plastic, all embellished with coloured stones, metallic trimmings and glitter.
Remembering old times, veteran Khalid says, “Earlier when we went for a wedding, the girl’s family would shower us with gifts like clothes, flour, sugar and other ceremonial tokens. The bride could then demand from us, her 13 bangles of holy matrimony.”
“I am invited for weddings of all affluent families in town,” says Nabi Ahmed, better known as Babu Churiwala. “From the Jindals, Singhanias, Munjals to Amitabh Bachchan’s daughter — I have presented bangles to them all,” he proudly states.
There are other stalls that sell all kinds of trinkets like beaded necklaces, rudraksha rosaries, incense sticks, bronze idols, peacock feather fans. The bindi shacks have not only hundreds of bindi designs, but also stack up things like nail polish, hair clips and other charms.
As you walk towards the outside, you see scores of mehndi walis, arguably the most talented and well-known in town. Alongside are vendors displaying their treasures on mats.
“I have rare, ancient coins dating back to the British and Mughal times, that are highly sought after by collectors,” says Rajesh one of the prominent vendors. He also stacks up Rudraksha beads and shells — and anything else you would need for your visit to the temple.
The temple itself is believed to be some 300 years old, with the main idol of Lord Hanuman dating back 5,000 years. “This idol of Lord Hanuman in a side pose is of his bal rodhra roop, and there is no other idol like this in the entire country,” says the head priest.
So, here is the chance to get blessings and blessed trinkets all in the same place.