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Blog // Travel
June 5, 2006

Places That Defined Delhi For Me – 2

Khan Market is a funny place and in many ways sums up the expat experience in Delhi for me (here is my brief flickr album of one visit). Quite a few people I met claimed that at Khan Market you could find “any imported food you could want,” which was of course a totally bogus […]

Khan Market is a funny place and in many ways sums up the expat experience in Delhi for me (here is my brief flickr album of one visit). Quite a few people I met claimed that at Khan Market you could find “any imported food you could want,” which was of course a totally bogus claim (as it is of the other food markets in Delhi). Moreover, on several occasions I heard and read Khan Market referred to as a “world class shopping destination” (same said of Basant Lok, which I sadly did not have time to photograph for this series). As you can imagine the latter claim is also bogus (in fact bogus and asinine).

But the story does not end there, because Khan Market is an interesting shopping experience, with some great stores (especially if you simply bypass the dull imported sunglass stores and the like). Whilst it is easy to criticise the food stores, they do provide some of the best selections of imported (sorry make that parallel imported) goods in the city (just check the use-by-dates!). Full-Circle is one of the better bookstores in Delhi (though I did prefer the two bookstores in Basant Lok). Cafe Turtle is nice but overrated, whilst The Marketplace Cafe came to be one of my favourites in the city. Anokhi is a must visit for fashion and home-wares and in that vein there are several other good stores. I came to depend on Khan Market for a steady supply of good condition (if outrageously priced) foreign magazines. Finally, Khan Market is a fascinating place to buy stationary and hand made papers (well there are more interesting places in the city, but they lack a large degree of “ease.”

I’m sure I’ll miss Khan Market when Christmas comes around and I find myself paying silly prices for interesting cards, decorations and wrapping paper. However, I won’t miss the pretense with which it is described. Like so many things I saw in India, with Khan Market it is best to take the descriptions (including this one) with a grain of salt and experience it for yourself. You may, like me, find yourself simultaneously enthralled and disappointed, rewarded and frustrated. You might not find what you came looking for but walk away with something else that you treasure for a long time.

[tags] Khan Market [/tags]

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