Around Town / India

Old Delhi Wedding Market

Wedding Marketuntitled shoot-741March 21, 2013

I’ve been meaning for months now to take a long walk through Old Delhi’s wedding market. And finally, last week, under the pretense of “needing” to find unique and cute baby shower favors, I finally did.

In my head, I think of the wedding market as “Sparkle Alley” a mecca for all things ribbon, bauble, glitz and glitter.

Wedding Marketuntitled shoot-729March 21, 2013

Wedding Marketuntitled shoot-714March 21, 2013

The wedding market is a well-worn path on the touristy cycle-rickshaw trail–I counted nearly 2 dozen cycle rickshaws full of foreign tourists speeding through the market on this last trip.

But a rickshaw is no way to do the wedding market. To really appreciate it’s charms, its better to walk and poke one’s head into shops full of gauzy wedding favor bags, beads and trims, lace and pom-poms and just about a thousand other little things that scream “you could do something very very crafty with me, I’m sure!”

Wedding Marketuntitled shoot-708March 21, 2013

Wedding Marketuntitled shoot-712March 21, 2013

I stopped at one shop to buy 15 silver gauze bags for 6 rupees each and to oggle at the neon colored beads. I stopped at another to pick up a bevy of wooden, hand-painted necklaces for the shower favors. I told the shopkeeper that his greeting reminded me of my father and we had a nice conversation about fatherhood and parenthood and India and his astonishment that I might be old enough to have a 20 month old son waiting for me back home (to spare Will the chaos of Old Delhi at midday, I slipped out of the house while he napped and our housekeeper stayed home to watch over over him). He finally gave me requested price as he exclaimed “only because you say I remind you of your father!”

I realized when I got home that I had actually haggled for a better price three doors up from his shop and had turned that offer down thinking the price at that shop too high. I have no head for bargaining it seems, only an unspeakably naive heart for it.

Wedding Marketuntitled shoot-748March 21, 2013

In Old Delhi its not uncommon to hear the hissing and gurgling of milk foaming on old-fashioned espresso machines. I stopped in one such shop to talk to the owner and the chai wallah. The tea was good and as I carried my styrofoam cup through the market in one hand and my purchases in the other, I could hear people around me whispering “chai! chai! She has chai!”

Wedding Marketuntitled shoot-753March 21, 2013

Wedding Marketuntitled shoot-738March 21, 2013

The contrast of the deep pink rose petals and the neon green…fruits? seeds? from one cross-legged street vendor made me stop in my tracks to ask what on earth he might be selling. The vendor picked on from the top of the pile and urged, “try one!” In these situations its hard to say no, so I took a tiny bite and crossed my fingers against the unwashed specter of Typhoid.

The fruit? seed? was sweet and a little tart and wholly pleasant. I bought 100 grams but found out just yesterday that there really was no need to buy any. The worm-shaped fruits fall freely from the bougainvillea trees growing in our backyard and in the yard of every single house on our compound.

Wedding Marketuntitled shoot-737March 21, 2013

Wedding Marketuntitled shoot-735March 21, 2013

Pictures from our quiet, if somewhat anticlimatic Holi celebration coming soon.

Wedding Marketuntitled shoot-760March 21, 2013

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9 thoughts on “Old Delhi Wedding Market

  1. The wedding market looks wonderful, is it in Chandni Chowk? Can you pls mention the address as well so that when I go to Delhi next time, I can make a quick visit….and I’ve been reading so many news articles about Delhi related to gang rape these days and I was wondering how is the scenario there, is it safe to travel and what are your advices?

    • It is in Chandni Chowk, I don’t know the address but its back behind the main drag, running parallel. Any rickshaw driver will know though its not a very hidden place! 🙂 The treatment of women in Delhi, in all of India, is as bad as the news stories and there are always, of course, dangers for women wandering solo in India but I think a bit of common sense, conservative dress and a great deal of confidence go a long way in most situations. The wedding market is a public place with plenty of people and I would never go into a shop in which someone could close the door and keep people on the streets from seeing and hearing me. I always stay in the public eye as much as possible. But, to be safer, you can always visit with a buddy if it makes you feel more comfortable.

    • Not so much staring here, I mean leering of course but not staring in the way I got in China actually! Lots of foreigners here so I’m nothing new or exciting.

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