Delhi 101: #28 Kinari Bazaar – Where colours change with seasons

Most of what glitters is not gold here, but this is where you go to jazz up for any occasion. Royally.

Shopkeepers trace Kinari Bazaar back to the mid-17th century when Mughal Emperor Shahjahan built the Red Fort and the city of Shahajahanabad around it – the area referred to as Chandni Chowk or Old Delhi now. Called the Anarkali Bazaar at the time, royal ladies would come here in their palanquins to shop, especially for fabrics embroidered with zari (traditionally threads of gold and silver; you also have with cheaper metals now).

Delhi 101: Cover image of book by Ajay JainThis post has been taken from Delhi 101, a book written by Ajay Jain. It is about 101 surprising ways to discover Delhi, one of the most amazing cities in the world for travelers. To know more about the book and to order one, click here.

Locals call it the Rang Badalta Hua Bazaar or the market that keeps changing its colours with seasons. And it sure does. The wares on offer vary with the festivals of Raksha Bandhan, Janmashtami, Dusshera and Diwali – and for the great Indian wedding season.

Grooms and brides can hire or buy their traditional wedding dresses here including sarees, lehngas, bridal veils, sherwani suits (long coats buttoned up to the neck for grooms) or the sehra (headgear for groom) as well as jewellery, churas (bangles worn by bride), garlands made of silver and gold confetti (some with crisp, real currency notes for creating an impression). It is vital to go to Kinari Bazaar for the most important day of ones life.

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And there is more. If you want to hide behind a mask, you can pick up a costume here. You can get one for different animals, deities and mythological figures – in demand during festive seasons, for theatre and by Bollywood (the Monkey Man suit was in high demand after one was used in the movie, Delhi 6 starring Abhishek Bachchan). Other pickings include decorative streamers, artificial flowers, gift wrappings of all kinds,fancy lights – the list goes on and on to suit alll tastes.


It’s even more fun during the festive season. Rakhees (bands tied by sisters on brothers’ wrists on Raksha Bandhan as a promise of protection by the latter) of every conceivable design can be bought here. During Dusshera and Diwali, you can pick up costumes, mock weapons used by the warriors of the time and decorative candles and diyas (wax and oil lamps). These festivals mark the victory of good over evil and the homecoming of Hindu God Rama. During Janmashtami, you can celebrate the birthday of Lord Krishna with adornments to make Jhankis – decorative altars depicting His birth and life.

Walk past these shops and you will reach the beads market – of all shapes, sizes, colours and design. Pick these up and make your own jewellery or add some zing to your wardrobe.

This is also a place to bump into a lot of Page 3 designers and foreign tourists; we met some Argentinians who buy beads, make them into fancy necklaces and sell them on the streets of Europe during the summer. And then they are back to India to backpack around with the money.


* Throw a fancy dress party – with costumes from Kinari Bazaar.
* Get married again to your spouse – this time in traditional livery
* If throwing an anniversary party, dress up in the wedding best
* Have a jewellery design party – take the beads and threads from here
* Decorate your house for the festive season – or do so anyway

Shopping Tip: Browse patiently before you get what you want, and bargain hard.

TRAVEL TIP: Kinari Bazaar is located off Dariba Kalan (the jewellers’ and silver market) – the latter can be accessed both from the road leading to Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk (the main thoroughfare). You can also come in from the opposite end from Paranthewali Gali.

METRO: Chawri Bazaar or Chandni Chowk



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  1. Nice photographs of Kinari ke dukan.
    Touching concept.
    Prodip Kumar Sahoo
    Research schlar
    Animal Ecology and Wildlife Biology Laboratory
    Gauhati university
    (Poetry and Music is my life)


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