Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Friday Market: West Patel Nagar

This blog is in line with our commitment to help you experience Delhi as a real Dilliwalla. Here I go..

Every locality in Delhi has a dedicated day for weekly market, though this concept is prevalent across the country in some form or the other, also known as Haat or Bazaar. In rural areas where availability of goods is not as easy, these markets serve the people with daily needs and also offer opportunity to trade locally produced goods but for the Delhiwallas only the first case applies.

                                                     A Lingerie-seller Setting up the Shop

On Fridays it takes place at West Patel Nagar. For tourists, it's more convenient to visit Monday Market at Karol Bagh (though Patel Nagar has more authentic feel). At one time, it was an event for all residents in that area, but now with the middle class getting richer, it's limited to the ones who can't afford the expensive malls and shopping centres and the old timers who don't want to let go the olden day memories.

A Crockery Seller

You get everything of daily use from home furnishing, clothing, crockery to furniture, food and spices. Most of the stuff on sale are of poor quality,  but dirt cheap and is not targeted at quality-conscious buyer. However, the spectacle is an experience in itself.

                               This Street becomes the busiest place on earth after the sunset

As the sun sets, the wave of humanity descends to this market, and you can experience some fierce bargaining taking place while the atmosphere is filled with the intoxicating smell of Chhole Bhature (a spicey north-Indian fast food)The sellers shout at top of the pitch to sell their wares while the buyers put their bargaining skills at test to become a shopping champion. You may get overwhelmed with the length of this bazaar which would easily run over more than a kilometer.

Nothing in Delhi can make your travel experience more authentic than this.

How to reach: Get down at Shadipur Depot Metro Station on Dwarka metro line. Take a man-ridden cycle rickshaw (10-20 rupees) or walk down to West Patel Nagar Bazaar on Fridays.
Caution: Female foreign travellers are advised not to venture out without a male companion or a guide. If alone, they can visit Monday Market at Karol Bagh, which is more tourist friendly. Please avoid carrying any valuables and carry minimum cash because pick-pocketing is quite common.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Anand Vihar Railway Terminal (Station)

It was my first visit to Anand Vihar Railway Terminal to see my mother off. Now, most of the east-bound trains start and end at this brand new terminal. I caught a metro from Patel Nagar destined to Vaishali and got down at Anand Vihar station. The Railway Terminal (Station) is visible from the Metro Station being at a higher level, and is connected with a bridge, which I realised only after following a longer way through main entrance. To those who are not aware, I must tell, most of the low-income residents of Delhi belong to eastern states of India and that's quite clearly visible from the railway station whom it serves. While the New Delhi railway station gets to see all types of travellers from elegantly dressed business visitors to foreigners to the shabbily dressed labourers, here you mostly see people belonging from lower middle to low income bracket.

Since the station is newly constructed, it's very well laid out with clear signages and I must tell: this is the cleanest station in Delhi. Because it's not yet utilised to its full capacity, which hopefully will change in near future, everything is easy including the baggage screening. The station has two baggage screening counters one of which is always empty. I was very happy to see the policemen diligently screening every piece of baggage and not being rude even to a single person. A part of the building is used as reservation counter, which too was quite efficient, where I picked the platform ticket from.

Suprisingly, in the parking I could see many radio taxis parked which is quite a rarity at any other station. Secondly, the auto drivers too were not as pushy as you find them at the other stations.

I put my baggage through screening and climbed the stair to reach platform number one. All the sign boards are clearly laid out, so I didn't have to ask anybody in getting to the platform. The train was already waiting at the station, though what surprised me was: next to each Sleeper coach I saw a TTE (Travelling Ticket Examiner) checking the ticket before people boarded. Those who were ticket-less were issued ticket upfront with penalty.

We had to walk to the end of the platform where AC coaches were parked. Though we had six units of luggage, we were able to easily wheel them to our coach on the smooth marble floor. Another interesting thing what I noticed was: complete absence of porters. I couldn't see even one as long as I stayed there.

After saying my mother Good Bye, I descended to the parking area, went past the Police Station and started walking towards the bridge which connects the Metro Station. From the top of the bridge, I could see spectacular view of the station. You guessed right.. I did click some beautiful photographs.

View from the Main Entry/Exit

The Baggage Screening Counter

Train at Platform No. 1


Police Station

Connecting  Bridge to Metro

View of the Terminal from the Bridge