Anyone who lives in Delhi and is even minimally interested in books is aware of the famous Daryaganj Book Market in Old Delhi. It comes alive every Sunday without fail to quench the thirst of all the book lovers. So let's have a look at what you can possibly expect in this market and how to make the most of it!
The good news here is that in terms of variety and genres, Daryaganj covers almost everything. Several shops are dedicated to academic textbooks and guidebooks and other material for students. But thankfully, the market does not limit itself to just that, unlike the nearby Weekday market of Nai Sarak. If you want to read something for entertainment, novels ranging from Sidney Sheldon to Chetan Bhagat and from Stieg Larsson to Stephanie Meyer are easily available. If you are looking for more eclectic literature, it may be difficult but still not impossible to stumble on a Marquez or an Umberto Eco.
A lot of these shops also offer a good collection of old classics by Dickens, Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Hemingway, the Bronte Sisters and everyone else you can imagine. The Daryaganj market is also a good source for nonfiction groups. Newbie readers can find motivational books, self-help guides and management literature that's quite popular nowadays. But if you're a more serious reader, you may find various biographies, autobiographies and other books covering serious issues of philosophy, science, history, politics and international relations.
You can also find quality Hindi and Urdu literature if you're really keen. Due to the predominance of English, such books can rarely be found in the glitzy modern day bookstores nowadays.
Another important aspect here is the price (or its lack of steepness thereof!). Some of the books will cost as low as Rs 20 and most of the regular books are likely to cost less than Rs 100. But still, it is better to buy in bulk to avail even more discounts and as usual, bargaining is be your best friend here.
It may also be a good idea to look for books that are otherwise very expensive, such as books related to painting or photography that are bound in hardcover and come with a lot of illustrations on high quality paper.
Do not expect all of your books to be in good shape. They may be torn or discoloured as most of them are second hand books sold off by someone else. If you just want to decorate your shelf, Daryaganj is not the place for you.
Finally, do not expect it to be easy because your rival booklovers would be waking up early and crowd this market every Sunday. You can go in the afternoon but by that time your favourite book might have already been snatched by someone else, so plan accordingly.
Head here simply for the love, the feel, the smell and the sight of rows upon rows of books! Happy book hunting!