Daryaganj Sunday Book Market - Atlas Obscura

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Daryaganj Sunday Book Market

A weekly bazaar sells thousands of books, from vintage collectibles to paperbacks sold by weight. 

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Old Delhi’s Daryaganj neighborhood is home to the headquarters of many publishing companies—from S. Chand to Oxford University Press—but it’s also known for its Sunday book market, a local tradition since 1964.

Every Sunday morning, the booksellers of Daryaganj lay out their ware on the pavements, piling up volume after volume of dusty vintages and hollering their prices. A treasure trove of bestseller titles and hard-to-find tomes, the book market has secured a special place in many a Delhite’s heart over the years, delighting bibliophiles, casual readers, and eagle-eyed collectors alike, even with the chaotic bustle that has never failed to come along with it.

Here you can find books of any kind, many in English, some in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, or even Sanskrit, perhaps author-signed, sometimes dog-eared and containing personal marginalia, lovers’ notes, or cryptic drawings by children long since grown up, forgotten and frozen in time. There are also locally published editions of familiar literary classics, as well as clothbound antiques and obscure pulp magazines.

Originally, the Daryaganj Sunday Book Market took place in the streets, going on for over a mile. It created major congestion, with crowds impeding traffic, so eventually, in 2019, it was relocated to the Mahila Haat venue. There are just as many books as ever, and some vendors continue to sell their ware by weight, the Daryaganj way of business that discriminates no written works.

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September 15, 2023

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