King Khan of markets

Shopping hotspot
Last Updated : 11 September 2012, 14:36 IST
Last Updated : 11 September 2012, 14:36 IST

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Delhi enjoys a multiplicity of markets – from the popular ones like Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar and Janpath to the upmarket Connaught Place. The elite Khan Market near Lodhi Colony, however, enjoys a distingu­i­s­h­ed reputation.

Home to some of the biggest brands in garments, shoes and jewellery to restaurants, pubs and salons, it is patronised by the high and mighty of Delhi.

While politicians, industrialists and expats can be seen frequenting its lanes in day-time, by night it becomes a party-zone for the city’s youngsters thanks to its numerous watering holes. It is thus with good reason that it has been rated as one of the costliest retail locations in the world year after year.

 Khan Market had its humble origins in 1951 when refugees from North-West Frontier Province were granted shops here. Accordingly, it was named after Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan.

President, Khan Market Traders Association, Sanjiv Mehra informs us, “Initially, there were only grocery and clothes shops here over an area of eight acres. It is in the last decade only that jewellery showrooms, salons, pubs, restaurants etc. have come up.

“While the former are still on the ground floor, the latter have set shop in the upper floors and terrace where they get more room.”

“It is these pubs and restros, in fact, which have attracted the younger crowd and made the market more popular. Earlier, only middle-aged people could be found shopping here.” The market is in the shape of a horseshoe which the shopkeepers consider a lucky charm, he adds.

Superstitions apart, Khan Market had its advantages from the very beginning.
Dinesh Bali, owner of jewellery showroom ‘Symmetry’ here, explains, “Being situated in the heart of Delhi with high-profile neighbourhoods like Golf Links, Jor Bagh, Amrita Shergill Marg, Pandara Road etc., Khan Market has always catered to the crème de la crème of Delhi.

“You can think of it this way. Khan Market is the local market for all these places. So if the CM is looking for even groceries, she’ll come to Khan Market for it.”

“The market has also developed accordingly. International brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Good Earth, Swarovski, Oma, Blackberry etc. have set shop here. Meanwhile Fabindia, Biotique, Body Shop, Sugar‘n’Spice and eateries like Mama Goto, Side Wok, Big Chill and Amichi are the biggest attractions.”

The development of the city and its various other markets has also favoured the rise of Khan Market. Apparently, in the Delhi Master Plan of 1960, there were only two markets- CP and Khan Market. The Defence Colony market also came up only in the 70s.

More recently, the Commonwealth Games led to a revamping of Khan Market. The CM took a personal interest in its orderly and timely beautification. It was also popularised as a tourist hotspot for visitors to Delhi at that time.

Paramjeet Singh Khurana, owner of the Final Touch salon here, says, “We shopkeepers here have also played our part in maintaining Khan market as a world-class shopping destination.

“There are no street vendors or hawkers here, beggars or encroachments. The pavements are swept thrice every day – something you will not find in any other market of Delhi.”

“Besides, we make sure that the parking is spacious, orderly and free of charge. CP has come under flak for its parking mess in the past few years. We feel these are the areas where Khan Market scores over other markets of Delhi.”

Published 11 September 2012, 14:31 IST

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