According to the announcement, the requirement of 150 metres from the Masjid (Mosque) will only apply to pork shops
Located on top of the Metro’s Red Fort station on the Violet Line, Lajpat Rai Market welcomes visitors to Chandni Chowk at its entrance, just opposite the famous Jain Temple.
In business volumes, it is no comparison to the wholesale cloth, electrical, or grain markets, which draw traders to the historic bazaar from all over India. But in the clientele, it gets no smaller number, though it is not easily visible.
Visitors are attracted to the market by the endless variety of cheap electronics and local brands offered here. The market came up near the famous Bhagirath Palace wholesale electrical market and was mostly in tented or temporary structures initially.
It got famous for baraat bands in its section opposite Red Fort, practicing Bollywood songs at their loudest in the open. If one approached the bandmasters well before the wedding “season,” one could strike a bargain for the best bandsmen in their shiny armour.
The band “companies” offered mares too, for the bridegroom’s last-mile journey to the bride’s residence. On its side opposite Gauri Shankar temple, the Laj pat Rai Market had a popular Vig pooriwara in the corner, drawing crowds for its cheap poori-sabzi served with the pickle made of raw man goes’ pulp.
The poori-sabzi restaurant is no longer visible today. There are just about four major “marriage bands” available today, as against 60 of them at one time, a market leader confided. The rest have closed shop or shifted to other parts of the metropolis.
The tradition of practicing the latest tunes from Bollywood films too died years ago. The market today has flourishing sales in electronic items like “assembled” smart televisions, and music “towers” with today’s hot favourite of Bluetooth connectivity, giant speakers, and amplifiers. For every genre of electronic item, including mobiles, there are an equal number of artisans offering repairs that may not be available easily anywhere in the city.
The human-size sound speakers are loud enough to be heard across fields as large as Ramlila Grounds. One can see any number of dealers in small lights, table fans, and CCTV systems.
The small shops are offering TV circuit boards, their components, car stereos, and remotes for all purposes. There are rows of luggage bag sellers.
There is an odd law books’ store too. Some of the shops are so tiny that traders stand at sales counters, and their wares are stacked behind. As years have gone by, the market has bid farewell to businesses like selling CDs, DVD players, and cheap Chinese cassette players.
One has to walk miles in the broken market lanes to find anyone selling empty cassette tapes. Repairs are disappearing even for Japanese two-in-ones or pocket-size cassette players. This was a rare service available here.
Most traders are interested only in knowing “how many dozen” pieces you want. Many of them do not hide that the Covid lockdowns gave a severe blow to business.
In January, Lajpat Rai Market was one of the earliest public places to face a fire this year. But there was not much effect. Business runs as usual here, traders say bravely. Once you jump up the stairs from Hanuman temple, there’s a tea shop and a few cheap biryani vendors, but there are not many eateries in the market.