Unique Shopping Destinations within Delhi

Shopping in Delhi

78% of all men/women when asked about his/her ideal way to spend their leisure time would say Shopping.

It a way to de-stress for some, for others it’s the reason why they earn. Purchasing something new, innovative, colorful, antique basically anything interesting gives most of us shoppers a high.

But for the other 22% shopping can be tiresome & boring. How many malls can one see & how many shoes can one try ?

The distinct feature of Delhi markets is that every shopping hub has its own ambience and specialty. Here are a few of my recommendations for people who don’t want to go to the same old boring branded shops.

Dilli Haat

delhi haat

Situated in the heart of Delhi, Dilli Haat is an upgraded version of the traditional weekly market, offering a delightful assortment of craft, food and cultural activities.

The handicraft stalls are allotted on a rotational basis to craftsmen from all corners of India, usually for fifteen days. This ensures a kaleidoscopic view of the richness and diversity of Indian handicrafts and artifacts. One gets to appreciate the hard work & skill that goes into creating one-of-a-kind handicrafts while watching the live demonstrations by craftsmen.

Dilli Haat is a joint collaboration between the New Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Delhi Tourism and Transportation Department. The basic idea of setting up this crafts bazaar was to promote the Indian handicrafts industry and Indian cuisine. Spread across 6 acres of land, Dilli Haat is situated on Sri Aurobindo Marg, opposite the INA market.

There is an entrance fee to go in, but it is well worth spendingthe Rs. 20,  just to see the imaginative landscaping, creative planning, see the artists, and eat the regional food, even if shopping is not on your mind.

Santushti Shopping Arcade

The Air Force Wives association runs this small shopping complex, which is a favorite haunt of diplomats’ wives, located opposite the Ashoka Hotel. More than a dozen boutiques are ringed around a small garden. This isn’t the best spot for bargains, but it is the perfect place to find high fashion Indian clothing.

There is a handbag shop here that has an annual one-day sale when everything in the shop is on a discount. I strongly recommend going to the sale and get there soon because you know how women get around the ‘Sale Sign’.

Must have a ‘spot of tea’ at the popular Basil & Thyme restaurant.

Pragati Maidan

Pragati Maidan

Pragati Maidan hosts a variety of exhibitions, trade shows and trade fairs each year. Functional since 1972, Pragati maidan is a premier event venue in India. It has a dozen indoor halls and almost 10,000 sq. m. of open display space that is spread across 61,290 sqm. Facilities here include Medical aid, ATM’s, Restaurants & parking.

India International Trade Fair & the New Delhi Auto Expo are the well known events, but something or the other is always happening here.

Crafts Museum

There is plenty to see near Pragati Maidan:

  • Crafts Museum which is open from 10am-5pm daily, except Monday. Pick up some souvenirs from Crafts Museum Shop.
  • Dolls Museum – A unique museum of Dolls is located near the ITO crossing on the Bahadur Shah Jafar Marg. These dolls are collected from different parts of India as well as from other countries of the world. Pick up some children books from Children Book Trust of India in the same building.
  • National Science Centre
  • Rajpath and India Gate

Sundernagar Market

If you are a jewelry buff, Sundernagar should be on your Top 10 things to go to. A choice selection of Antiques and silver trinkets, especially of silver jewelry from Ladakh, semi- precious stones, some textiles, brass, copper and silver artifacts are available here.

The Sundarnagar market also has shops selling India’s finest tea and a tea tasting session at one of these shops should be on the top of your itinerary.

Shopping is always on top of the itinerary for me, especially when visiting Delhi. There is whole hoopla of places to go for hard-core shopping. However, this list is for those looking for something more unique, something different.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Delhi 6

This is not a movie review, just a few things I thought of when I saw the movie.

  1. Yeh dilli hai mere yaar, Bas ishq mohabbat pyaar….Iske baye taraf bhi dil hai …Iske daye taraf bhi dil hai… the songs were remarkable.
  2. Extraordinarily talented  ensemble cast- Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Waheeda Rahman , Rishi Kapoor Om Puri, Atul Kulkarni & Divya Dutta
  3. Movie is about the People & Place, not Plot or Story.
  4. Loved the dance-song-routine on the rooftop – Ghenda phool. Abhishek was at his hip-hop best.
  5. Longest ever Motorola Advertisement. Even when he is having an out-of-body experience & meets Amitabh in heaven, he is thinking about his Moto-Rocker.
  6. Chandini-Chowk ka khana, jalebi , parantha…
  7. Surfing channels was an interesting take on today’s India- were we have going to the moon & invisible kala Bandar both as breaking news on the same day.
  8. Sonam kapoor, is beautiful, should have been given more air time and trendier clothes. She does do the college thing of changing in the metro station’s loo but when she goes for the Indian Idol audition finally, she is wearing a salwar-kamiz.  Not that she was looking bad, but just a thought.
  9. It’s no RDB but it’s not bad, a one-time watch for sure.
  10. Love Delhi.

Shopping @ South Delhi

cloth

I once saw a fuchsia pink ambassador (India’s oldest and most iconic car), driven by a Blonde European Lady, outside South Extension Market, with the back seat filled with Nalli & Benetton shopping bags: an image that forever will make me smile.

Well! Delhi is all about contradictions – unusual things usually happen here. The shopping is no different.

Take Khan Market for instance. It gives an impression of a local market, 2-3 lanes with a couple of big showrooms, double story buildings with a parking lot in the centre & a few nice restaurants.

But did you know that Khan Market is the most expensive retail destination?!?  In its annual report on global retail rents, the worldwide real estate consultancy firm Cushman and Wakefield put India at 16th position & Khan Market moved up eight places from its 24th position last year. Believe it or not, the market ranks above some of the fancied elite shopping destinations, such as Moscow, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Amsterdam and Toronto.

If you’re in South Delhi the list of places to shop is endless including, but to limited to, Khan Market, DefCol, Southx, Lajpat Nagar & Hauz Khas Village…this is just the start. There is also New Friends Colony, Ashram, Munirka, Ansals Plaza, GK, Lodi Market, Green Park and Nehru Place, and some place even I don’t know about.

Khan Market

Khan Market

Khan Market is popular with the diplomatic community. It houses stores like Benetton, Tag Heuer, Levis, Woodland, Nike and also specialty boutiques like Anokhi, Ogaan, Bizarre, FabIndia and some-such.

Apart from these one will find excellent book shops, opticians, grocers, photographers, tailors, and household furnishing stores. Across the other side of the road there are shops that mainly specialize in Lamps, there is also Khadi & Hyde Out (for Shoes). Must visit Cafe Turtle, Big Chill & Khan Chacha Rolls whenever you are there.

Defense Colony
There are two DefCol markets; one is more famous for the restaurants and the other for the designer boutiques under the flyover.  Since my office was in A block, I know the one with the restaurant like the back of my hand. There is not much to shop here, except a nice Punjabi T’shirt shop. It’s mainly a place to indulge yourself. My recommendations- Appam & stew @ Swagat, Sizzlers @ Moet’s, Iddli @Sagar, Pizza @ Little Italy, chana-kulcha and onion chaori @ Nathus. Try the ‘Harry-Shanti’ saloon for a haircut.

South Ex
On both sides of the ring road when one finds colorful displays & neon lights, with huge departmental stores like Ebony, Big Jos, Hopps – one can be sure to have reached South Extension.

Southx is an up-market shopping area where quality garments and footwear sell like hot potatoes. The annual sales here are a much-awaited feature. Remember- most shops are closed on Mondays.It’s basically a hangout for the-so-called- hip-n-happening-college-crowd. Must do’s here include a peek at the jewelry shops & eating bhelpuri at the corner shop in Southx-Part 1.

Lajpat Nagar
Delhi is a genuine paradise for shoppers, where else can one buy cheap-export-rejected-designer-branded-goodies. If that caught your attention, Lajpath Nagar Market is the place for you. I once bought home-décor table runners with potterybarn’s label for 100 bucks a piece (beat that!).
But that’s not all , you get good photo-framing options, accessories, home tit-bits and running cloth material. It has the largest ladies suit market in Asia. Of course one has to bargain, but the prices are very reasonable anyway. One can never get tired of just looking around when here.

Hauz Khas Village
The haunt of the nouveau riche, HKV offers a combination of ethnic chic and designer lebels, Indian and international. A few years ago, an association called Dastakar – set up a showroom in the village. Over time, a village had developed around the medieval college and the tomb of Firoz Shah Tughlaq. Now the village has a plethora of boutiques and art galleries which coexist with hatched roof buildings and men with hookahs on charpoys. Far from being a deterrent, the “rural” ambience is a positive attraction.

Bridal Shopping in Delhi … coming soon!!

Dev D review

Dev D

Dev D is the latest incarnation of the epic Devdas by Saratchandra Chattopadhyay. The idea of the movie might be from the book but the implementation is anything but.

My first thought on Dev D – What a weird name for a movie ! What an eccentric song (emotional attyachaar) ! What a bizarre promo ! And finally what a strange but totally entertaining movie !

Dev (Abhay Deol) is the son of a rich industrialist from Punjab who is packed off to London for higher studies. Paro (Mahi) is the daughter of a manager in Dev’s father’s factory and is a good friend of Dev. The movie begins with a quick characterization of the hot and fiery Paro and the spoilt brat that Dev is.

The conversations between Dev and Paro and Dev and his dad, who he liked to call by his name ( Sattu) are absolutely hilarious.

A refreshing change from the rest of the bollywood adaptations of the novel, Dev D narrates the same story in REAL situations. The screenplay is smooth, no lecture bazzi happening and no long-drunk-falling apart-dialogues.

Anurag Kashyap takes the basic structure of Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s original story, but updates it to today’s time and issues, making the characters’ actions and motivations something that a lot of the viewers can relate to.

I loved the fact that names of the characters just fall into place, amazingly imaginative. The minute ‘Chunni’ introduces himself, one can’t help but smile. Wearing his goggles to see who is calling when the phone rings was an LOL moment for sure.

The songs felt like, what-the-hell-is-happening, but in a couple of seconds you are drawn into it and you come out of the hall humming ‘em. Contradictions-Confusion-Craziness all-in-all interesting.

Times of India gave the movie 5 stars, saying that Dev D is indeed a coming-of-age film. I agree.

Unlike the last couple of movies I’ve seen recently, this one keeps the viewer engaged. It doesn’t bore you with song and dance routines, or thinks that the audience is dumb or assumes that logical reasoning is outside the scope of the viewers mental ability. CC2C, Gajni & RNBDJ may have been blockbusters, but this one deserves the awards.

Shekhar @ Stalefresh says it was a bold & well thought of movie; most my friends are of the same opinion. But I’m sure this is the opinion of a certain segment of people. If this was a report I was working on I’d say – ‘Teens & Young Adults, living in urban areas, adventurous and outgoing are the key segments’. Some movies are not made to please everyone, but to shock a few.

My verdict – Thums up  (With vodka please 😉

Taxing Time

It’s that time of the year again when reminders from the finance & Hr dept are filling up our mail box. ‘Investment Declaration’, ‘Tax’, ‘Exemption’, ‘HRA’, ‘Flexi’ are the only thing one hears about. I hate this time as much as I hate paying tax, but some things can’t be avoided. I’m listing some basic fundas I know about Income Tax India. If you know of something different or better, let me know!

 

What is the Tax slab for 2009-10?

taxes

 

What is Taxable Income?

Gross Salary Income + Income from any other source (Interest, House Rent etc)

LESS Exemption under HRA

LESS Conveyance Allowances of 9600/-

LESS Medi-claim/ LTA/ any other allowance

LESS Interest paid on Home loan up to 1, 50,000/-

= Gross Total Income

LESS Deductions under Sec 80 C up to 1, 00,000/-

LESS Deduction under Sec 80 D/E/G

= Total Taxable Income

 

What is the HRA exemption?

HRA Exemption – Least of (Actual HRA received OR Rent Paid by the employees less 10% of Basic OR 50% of Basic (metro city))

So, if you live in Delhi & 50% of your basic is 1 lk p.a., which is the HRA and the rent paid is also 1 lk then the tax exemption will be 90 thousand. (1lk- 10% lk)

The only way you’ll get HRA = tax exemption is when your rent is Rs.1.20 lk i.e. HRA+10%of Basic

 

What is deduction under Sec 80 D/E/G?

Sec 80 D Medical Premium for self / parent (up to 15,000/-)

Sec 80 E Interests paid on Education Loan

Sec 80 G Donations to approved fund (generally 50% of donated amount)

 

What is deduction under Sec 80 C?

Every one is always talking about the 1 lk investment. These are done under section 80C.

They include an employee’s contribution towards PF, so that investment that needs to be made is of

1 lk – PF deductions for the year (12% of basic). The rest of the investments may be made in one or all of the following:-

Ø Public Provident Fund

Ø Life Insurance premium (ULIP/ Traditional)

Ø Pension plans

Ø ELSS – Equity Linked Saving Schemes of mutual funds

Ø Infrastructure bonds

Ø National Savings Certificate

Ø Special Fixed deposits (5 years)

Ø Home loan principal repayment

 

What is the Tax on Bonus?

All Variable Income/ any one time variable payment (e.g. Incentive, Overtime and Other Allowance) have a higher tax rate which is calculated and deducted in the same month in which the payment is made.

 

Lastly, Tax Saving is a good idea but not Tax Evasion. Don’t fell bad about paying taxes, it’s our country that will benefit :).

 

Your shopping Guide to Delhi

ConfessionI’m an obsessed Delhiite and I’ll love Delhi no matter how crazy it becomes.

Although, this was not always the case; there was a time when I thought Delhi sucked.

This was way back when I found traveling in Delhi inconvenient and the pollution levels unbearable. Things have changed for the better, with the metro and the CNG autos and buses. Traveling has become easy and pollution comparatively less. Agreed, the traffic jams and road rage is still a problem, but I can handle Delhi hormones 🙂

I’m planning do a 4-5 part series on Delhi for the benefit of some of you planning to visit Delhi for the Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 or otherwise. For the people who are know-it-all and disagree on my-take-on-Delhi I have only one thing to say : “You may not agree with me but the difference between you & me is that – I wrote this & you are reading it !!”

So, let me get back to the topic of discussion …Shopping! Delhi is a shopper’s paradise; one can find stuff in every budget and every style.

connaught place map

Let me start with the heart of Delhi – Connaught place aka. CP. The area is built on a series of roads which run in concentric circles – much like a wheel. In the center of the wheel (hub) there is a huge underground bazaar called the Palika Bazaar, selling all kinds of things. Above this is our very own Central Park.

Connaught Place

CP is a kaleidoscope of Restaurants, Banks, Movie halls, Branded Shops, Roadside shops and Offices. I have spent hours just window shopping there.

Spend some time in the State Emporiums (opposite Hanuman Mandir) for the traditional handicrafts of each state – The Rajasthan and Jammu-Kashmir emporeums have really amazing stuff, and the prices are also reasonable. Central Cottage Industries Emporium on Janpath has things from anywhere-n-everywhere in India; it is exclusive and hence expensive.

Visit Khadi Bhandaar. I always pick some handmade soap and khadi kurtas – excellent stuff for gifts. Other interesting thing includes the Chuddi (bangles) Market behind Hanuman Mandir – a treasure trove for bangles in colors to match every outfit and the wholesale market for flowers in front of the Coffee House (from 5-8 am).

cottage emporium

Bargain hunters must visit Janpath & Tibetan Market for silk scarves, bags and clothes. House of Scarves on Janpath gets my vote for the best variety. Another cool store is People Tree near the Rivoli movie theater for unusual stuff (I admit – some of it is overpriced).

janpath

The Inner & Outer circles have there share of big-branded-shops. During the ‘SALE’ season, crowds can make it difficult to walk. Whenever we go to CP, a stop at Wengers (A block) is a must, the chicken puff is-to-die-for among other delectable delights & the cold-coffee at Kavenders or DePaul can’t be missed.

Panchkuian Marg is best for furniture & cane stuff, we bought our dog’s basket from there 😉

In the summer days enjoy the cool underground market & test your bargaining skills. At Palika Bazar you’ll find all types of electronics, clothes, leather goods, and jewelry… even the Nintendo Wii which may not be available in the rest of the world will be in stock here.

Shankar Market is famous for Indian dress material. Fresh Juice Shops & Rajma-Chawal corner shop were my office lunch time hang outs in this area. Gol Market & Bengali Market near CP, are better known for the food than shopping.

A short ride away is Daryaganj. It’s the most extensive second hand book pavement market. Book lovers and students come from all over to purchase books at throw away prices every Sunday. Some day I hope to find hidden treasures among the heap of books.

daryaganj

I can go on and on but am gonna leave some stuff for the next post ! Keep Reading.