Daryaganj Book Market – Perfect kick for Sunday Mornings


The Market

I am not sure how important it is to be a good reader in order to be a decent writer. Well at least this has never been applicable on me. Sometimes I wonder that reading will do wonders on my writing skills but I have been too lethargic to read and allow any writing style to reflect on mine (I know it sounds like a dumb guy boasting about originality in his writing style).

But today I will be taking about a place which has been in existence for around 40 years now and is a favorite Sunday hotspot for literature enthusiasts. Daryaganj is usually known for wholesale stationary market approachable by rickety rickshaws but on Sunday it is an all different avatar. For nearly four decades Dayraganj has hosted a feisty second hand book market which has successfully fed the literary hungry delhiwallas.

I first trip to this market was in early part of 2009 in search on Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead. A scout of 15 minutes, some hardcore bargain with a typical poker-face look and the book was with me for INR 125/-. This recollection entices a strange guilt as I never completed reading the book and It still lies comfortably in my book-shelve.

Well now that I am writing my blog I just couldn’t miss visiting it again today. So I was all dressed up and planned to dodge my parents questions for missing Sunday’s breakfast which we all have together. I reached the market at 9:30 AM and I could see most of the shopkeepers unpacking the books and unbundling their racks. So I decided to casually stroll through the market till I see the typical rush set in.

I was surprised on how quickly things were moving and how fast people started crowding in. I casually turned back and was left with jaws dropped to the floor as all stalls I had passed were all set up & ready for business. Hey guys please don’t misunderstand my earlier writing that this spot if for literature hunters but trust me the book market offers something for everyone – toddlers, kids, school-kids, college crowd, corporate guys, magazines for homemakers and tricks on nearly every trade I could have thought about. There is hardly any reason you give it a miss.

Soon I reached a stall with all books for programming languages and technologies were bundled on top of each other forming about 6 feet high wall. I could only identify a handful of titles which were repeating on that wall formation. I pulled up a folded paper from my pocket with a list of books I had prepared on Saturday night with help from Mr. Google (yeah.. I suck in term of knowledge on books). A book on Cloud Computing by P McFedries and another on PHP frameworks by Kevin M, and surprisingly guy had info on both of them. He smiled and advised that I really missed a great deal as he had sold P McFedries’s by a week but assured that he can arrange another copy of the book if I could wait for one more week while he can provide me with the book on framework in half an hour. I felt glad as it saved me with embarrassment on not purchasing in case he had the copies then & there. A few shops ahead was a bloke dressed with colorful T shirt & shorts, resting on a bundle of books arranged to be his chair he sat with stretched out legs and hands above his head as if least interested in selling anything. I casually asked him about bible on Photoshop (thinking he mustn’t be aware about what it would be) and he casually he turned his head at me and asked “for which version?”. Well I must say that I was once again held back a little and I gather courage to ask him about his age. He was class 11 Student who helped his father on Sundays as his father sits on another stall. Well that was enough for me to test if this market can offer what it boasts and I mush share that all my doubts were wiped crystal clear.

Rest of my walk remained limited to scrolling through stalls with magazines and romantic novels. While I walked through the stall there were loads of interesting conversations to grab. Someone crooning a nice rhyme inviting people to purchase Rs. 20 novels from his stall, someone negotiating sale for half a dozen of National Geographic magazines for further discount, some students searching for a college project, an architect asking for a design book, there was plenty to soak around.
However I must say that everything was not so rosy and as sun was busy changing his altitude I realized how badly I was missing a hat or an umbrella. I suggest that you do carry these along with a water bottle even through you will come across some nice options to quench your thirst. You can try knocking a few juice shops or cold drinks or a thick creamy lassi. This place will give you very little to complain about in terms of options.

You also have ATM’s available around even though for a few I came to know were not dispensing cash.

It was not just books and magazines, there were diaries, notepads, stationary, filers, bags & much more at throwaway prices. Well I was glad that I visited but for you please ensure that you do carry a bag to keep the books (shopkeepers seldom offer bags), umbrella or at least a cap and a bottle with water cause trust me you will not have enough of this book market till you are drained.

So in case you have visited or will be visiting Daryaganj’s awesome Sunday book market then comment to share your experience.!! Happy Sundays.

About TheItchyTraveller

There are things which don't easily sink in. Things I try to ignore but they just resurface again for answers. To me it is travel!. Till a few days ago I was working in a corporate with life bounded by routine materialistic ways. It seems all comfortable except for every now and then, when a question comes from inside "Is This Really What I Want To Do?". I have always had inclination to a few creative things like photography, graphic designing, writing (even though I am pathetic with spellings sometimes :( ) and I have always missed applying more of these passions to my life. But when circumstances take a U TURN, suddenly I had to reshuffle my commitments and I am now with more time to spend at home with family rather than work. This reshuffling no matter how unwelcomed have given me a food of thought and window of opportunity to practice what I loved to do. Thus came this idea of my blog "Romancing Delhi", a blog dedicated to my city and a window to tell world what Delhi has to offer. So here I am trying to reflect my city in my words & photographs. Enjoy and stay hooked !!

5 responses »

    • Hi Minakshi,
      To be honest I can not think of a metro station at a very close vicinity i.e direct link to Daryagunj. The two closest ones will be Indraprastha or Chawri Bazar, which will be around 7-8 KMS from the Daryaganj market.

      You will need to change to some other mode of commutation from there i.e bus or auto.

      I hope this info helps.

      Saurabh Dhayani

      TIP : always check for directions on google maps before going.

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