Come Sunday and the Daryaganj area of Delhi becomes even more alive and bustling than it usually is, thanks to the book fair held there. The book exhibition-cum-sale has been held in a particular stretch of Daryagunj since years, causing the place to become popular as ‘Kitabi Sadak’.
Whenever I visit Delhi, I plan my visit so as to include a Sunday, so that I can go to Kitabi Sadak. For book crazy people like me, it is heaven, with its hundreds of book stalls and thousands of books on sale, spanning thousands of genres, available at the most unimaginable of prices. You can find some rare and unique books here, too, which you might not find elsewhere so easily. Course books, religious books, novels, comics, sketchbooks - you name it, you can find it here.
I have always found great bargains here, and did not want to miss out on the fun on my current Delhi trip, too. The OH was dragged to Daryaganj on the morning of a very hot and sweaty Sunday, laden with water bottles and bags for packing the books we would be buying. To his credit, he got into the atmosphere of the place once we got there, and began to help me with hunting for bargains.
We saw people standing on books, sitting on books, even sleeping on books. We found people talking about books, too, often very passionately.
The area gets quite crowded on Sundays, and you need to watch your purse, mobile phone, and other valuables closely. If you can put up with the crowd (and the heat, if you are visiting in monsoon or summer), and willing to scavenge, you will find great treasures here.
If you get thirsty, you can grab a glass of cool mint-and-lemon shikanjee or one of malaai-maarke lassi. If you get hungry or need a place to sit, there are a number of small shops along the book stalls, selling the yummiest of chaats, nankhatais, rabdi and other delicacies. We stuffed our tummies with shikanjee, lassi and chole bhature. The lassi, in particular, was the best we have ever had.
Of course, I came home with precious loot. What did it consist of? The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve, 20 Fragments Of A Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo, Sam’s Letters To Jennifer by James Patterson, and In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. All acquired for a princely sum of Rs. 160/-.
So, that is the story of one very hot but happy Sunday, spent in indulging the senses. In all ways.
Read Part 1 of this travelogue here.