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The best deals flourish in streets

If you have patience and good-bargaining skills, head for Delhi's weekly markets that offer almost every household item.

india Updated: Jun 08, 2007 16:46 IST

If you are looking for some splendid bargains and are game for some colourful chaos, look no further than the markets that magically spring up by the roadside once a week in many Delhi neighbourhoods.

Huddled together, makeshift shops offering just about everything - from vegetables to household items to inner wear - make the ordinary pavement metamorphose into a buzzing centre of commercial activity.

Hugely popular, it is not just the working class and lower middle class but also the upper middle class who frequent these markets.

"I visit the weekly Wednesday market in Vinod Nagar every now and then. Budh Bazar, as it's called, gives me the best bargains. It really does not make any sense going up to a posh shop or a mall for every small household thing," said Karuna Misra, a schoolteacher.

"For instance, a mug which would not cost less than Rs 100 in a mall can be easily bought at Rs.40 or maximum Rs.50 in this market. And the quality is not bad either," she added.

From cutlery, linen and plastic items to clothes, accessories, leather goods and food, the weekly markets offer a variety of things.

"I bought a double bed sheet in pure cotton for just Rs 150 from the Monday weekly market near Shakti Nagar in north Delhi. Can you imagine getting this in a general linen shop, let alone in a mall? If you have an eye for quality and can bargain, then weekly markets are the best places to go shopping," explained Sarita Mehra, a homemaker.

Students are always on the lookout for good bargains because of their tight budget at these shops.

"I go to the Saturday weekly market at Pandav Nagar in east Delhi when I can. I usually get very good clothes, bags and accessories which I manage to bargain to fit my budget," said Richa, a postgraduate student of Delhi University.

"As far as the shops in malls go, they are definitely more organised and provide goods which will last you for a long time. But somehow there is a thrill of going to the weekly markets and shopping. It's literally like a treasure hunt," she added.

"And longevity, especially of the clothes, is not really an issue. At such cheap prices, I don't mind going for one-season wear clothes," said Sanchari Das, a journalist.

In north Delhi, the Thursday Dhaka market is very popular with college students. "Most items there are branded products that have been rejected due to minor defects. It's like a factory outlet where a pair of Levis jeans might be available at a really subsidised price because of a button missing," said Angana Adhikari, a frequent visitor.

"The other day I bought a Nike T-shirt from there for just Rs 100. My friend bought a Puma T-shirt for Rs.150," she added.

Patience and good bargaining skills are required to get the best deal at the weekly markets, which are invariably a crowded affair.

"If you don't have the patience to rummage through the things and carefully check each item for any defect, then these markets are not for you," Adhikari warned.Another very popular weekly market is the Sunday books market at Daryaganj in central Delhi.

A book lover's haven, the market is flocked by people, old and young alike.Academic books to novels, literature and poetry to sports and adventure, cookery to self help books, comics to old editions of magazines on photography, painting, interior decoration, religion or travel - you name it and it's all there in Daryaganj. Prices begin from as low as Rs.15 and go up to a couple of hundreds, depending on the book.

As long as one gets what one wants, at a subsidised rate and in good condition, it doesn't really matter that they are old hand-me-downs.

"Most of my Sundays are spend rummaging through the books at Daryaganj. Other than everything else, I always pick up a handful of old editions of National Geographic magazines. Be it their pictures or some of their articles, those magazines are simply great," said Amir Ahmed, a photographer.

"I went there last Sunday and after two hours of rummaging through the books in the heat I bought five of them. I wasn't expecting to find the Kafka series there but I got it. It was as good as new and I bought it at half the printed price," gloated Shiney Mathur, a student.

So take a break from the sophisticated ambience of the mushrooming malls and give the weekly markets a try. It's definitely a good bargain.