Known to have begun around 1964, the weekly book market at Old Delhi’s Daryaganj is said to be one of the oldest regular book markets in Delhi. The book market stretches westward from this point along Jawaharlal Nehru Marg (the southern border of Old Delhi) and northward on Bahadur Shah Jafar Road (which bisects Old Delhi from Darya Ganj). Darya Ganj is actually a wholesale market in Delhi for books, old and new. This market is also known as the Book market.
The markets in Delhi are set on the narrow footpaths and cramped streets of Daryaganj only on Sundays. This market is practically a treasure for book lovers because of availability of second hand books in good shape and at reasonable prices, sometimes the prices dupe down so low that you can by a John Grisham at as low as 10-20 INR. Not only popular fiction but competitive entrance exam guides, text books and all kinds of magazines are also available here. Sometimes books are not properly arranged and you have to literally scrounge to strike the gold out of the pile but it’s worth all the effort and time since you get your little surprise at fairly cheap rates. While walking along the footpath I noticed my school text books lying around the corner and felt as if I have found some old friends of mine amidst the huge book stocks of this wholesale market in Delhi.
If you plan to visit this book market then it is advisable not to carry an ‘already prepared book list’ in your hand because if you are hell bent to buy only those books that are on your list then you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the surprises of this book markets in Delhi. The vendors have no clue about the authors or books. So it will be difficult for you to find exactly what you want. But on the other hand, it opens for you some uncertain doors to enter and dwell into. Carrying a rough list of Hemingway, Richard Bach and William Dalrymple in my pocket, I ended up with Edward Albert’s History of English Literature, Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin’s Three Cups of Tea, E.R.C. Davidar’s Whispers From The Wild, Syeda Hameed’s Beautiful Country in my satchel. Also among the books I ended up buying, was a small thin book of 60s classic Haikus by Basho, something that I read about in my creative writing classes, and was extremely joyous about buying that book in just 10 INR.
It’s not the books that you end up buying in this Sunday book markets in Delhi but a bunch of stories you wreath around this footpath while buying some stories and giving some to this place.
Timings: 11am-6pm (open only on Sunday)