Amar Colony, Furniture Market 

around bed and chai hostel Inside Delhi’s popular neighborhood Lajpat Nagar, not far from its famous clothes market, you can find one of the most hidden and preserve traditional specialized market, known as Amar Colony Market. Not easy to find indeed, this open air market lays along a quiet peaceful street in which you are more likely to meet some pupils going to middle school than flea market lovers. However, some dusty antiques shops betray its presence, they also can sell some nice treasure, but it’s a lot harder to bargain the price, and their completely renovated furniture looks a bit kitschy, even for India!
The main gate is not really welcoming, if the street is pretty clean and quiet, the place looks messy and dusty, with an iron fence, full of trash, and at the end of the little path, you can see a big blue tarp, the “roof” of the market!
First surprise, all the furniture are in a such a state that in Europe most of us would not pay any attention to it! Many chair have no seat, the tables are wonky, the beds are in thousand pieces…
When I made my first step in what, at a first glance, looks like a dump, I lost my prejudices and I felt like Howard Carter discovering Tutankhamun’s tomb. The air smells like old books and wax, thick, sometimes it’s even hard to breath, when you turn an old vase and a cloud of dust clog your nose. It’s pretty quiet, no sellers constantly harassing you, no crowd, here you can hunt peacefully!
In the first row, a funny Sikh with his turban and his huge belly, drinking a warm chaï in a old armchair, laugh at me. I was staring at an incredible bed, with sculptures in Khajuraho temples style (if you know what I mean…), I laugh back and he showed me an other sculpture also quite expressive! In the next row, I opened some wardrobe, and I was surprised to find some old frames with very kitschy paintings, small wooden boxes, clockworks and even Bakelite phones, at this point all this place felt like a giant storage for forgotten memories. Everything looks very poetic, if you are searching for your lost sock, that’s the place it probably ends up!
At the back of the market, you can find its reason of existence: the craftsmen, they are all renovating the furniture, with great skills and old tools. In Europe, when grandma’s wardrobe is out of order, you trash it, go to the closest Swedish furniture shop, and buy their cheap and standardized cupboard. Here, it’s an other story, you bring it to one of these guys and some days later it’s brand new and ready to be used for many years.
In one of the rows, one seller came to me and proposed me his service, he impressed me in his traditional attire, brightly white, how can he keep it so clean in such a place ? Mystery. Do not forget that in India it’s forbidden to import antiques of more than a hundred years old without the approval of the archeology survey office, so, if you want to buy something, be sure it’s not too old and try to get a certificate of authenticity.
At the exit of the market, under a pile of chairs, I found a big wooden statue of a lion, the funny thing is that you can see in the eyes of the beast what stays from a lamp, it was probably at the entrance of a temple, guarding it from demons. I couldn’t find Aladdin’s lamp here, but if it exists any place on earth where you can found such items, it’s here, in Amar Colony market.
Just in front of the exit gate, there is a really good Nepalese street restaurant, the cook is a friendly guy and his chilly potatoes are gorgeous! Don’t miss it! Not far from there, you can end your exhausting trip with a nice Bollywood movie at Sapna Cinema,70’s style, cheap ticket and great atmosphere!