Delhi chronicles 2: Exploring Kitabi Sadak

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.

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Read Part 1 of this travelogue here.

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37 thoughts on “Delhi chronicles 2: Exploring Kitabi Sadak

  1. Thank you TGND. Though am for a year in the NCR I have not explored this place.. In Gurgaon most popular used books will be sold for 100 Rs and then we can then return it back for 50 Rs. Thus ultimately we end up paying 50 Rs. If the book is very popular then they simply sell it for half the book price. Kitabi Sadak is now the alluring temptress . The weather is rainy now right? Where all the shops open??

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    1. @Paatiamma

      I didn’t get the chance to visit Gurgaon. 😦

      The shops open at about 10 in the morning, I think. I am not sure till what time they stay open, but when I left there last Sunday at about 4, many were packing up for the day. So, if you do go, you should go between 10 and 4, probably.

      The weather is rainy now, yes. It is quite hot and humid.

      Hope you get to visit the book lane soon. 🙂

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  2. You came to my city and one one of the places I love. Daryaganj. Love that place for the fact that you get academic books to novels. I remember one visit where our group of 4 friends couldn’t carry the books on the bus and had to hire two autos 🙂

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  3. Sam’s letters to Jennifer… 🙂 go on.. its a great book… 🙂 🙂

    Kitabi Sadak.. hmmm.. I think I must pay a visit to this place when I’ll be in Delhi…. Here in Chennai too, I’ve got so many shops like such… which indeed are heaven to book readers… and as u mentioned the prices are so unimaginably low… 🙂 😉

    Such books though some are pirated, some donated, second hand books… you get whatever you want to read at low cost… One of my friend told that his book club is against buying books from such shops as they feel its not legal… but I feel a book is a book… you read a book to gain some knowledge, to enter the era which writer has created and it actually doesn’t matter from where you are getting such treasures of reading.. 🙂

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    1. @Pratiksha

      I am looking forward to reading Sam’s Letters To Jennifer. Thank you for the thumbs-up. 🙂

      On principle, I don’t buy pirated books, too. Kitabi Sadak has a lot of them, as well as donated books and pre-loved ones. I am fine with donated or pre-loved ones, though. In fact, I think donated and pre-loved books have a charm of their own.

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  4. Delhi is one of my most favourite places to be, probably because it was the first place where I travelled alone, probably because it was city closest to reach my brother and probably because of a wonderful friends who live there. Despite my three previous visits, I have never been to the kitabi sadak. I hope there is a next time in Delhi, when I can go there and get some great books! Happy reading!

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  5. Gosh! I miss it November last when I came to Dilli. It was a Sunday and somebody told me of a place near Connought but couldn’t see the place. And! Now it’s on your blog. How dumb I was for not asking properly. Next time now and better I re-locate to Dilli for a while next year when I come:)

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