Sarojini Nagar is a neighbourhood in New Delhi,India. The area is one of the most developed and cleanest areas in Delhi and is popular because of its market. It was one of the sites of the 29 October 2005 Delhi bombings. It is close to Safdarjung Airport.
Sarojini Nagar Market started out as the local shopping area for the huge Sarojini Nagar Government Colony, a housing project for junior officer level employees of the Indian Central Government, as well as the state Government, built in the early 1950s. Until the mid-1960s, both the housing area and the shopping area were commonly referred to by the name Vinay Nagar. The official name started being used after then, and the old name has not been used since the early 1970s.
Prior to adoption of name names, Sarojini Nagar was called Vinay Nagarand also beena nagar, Laxmi Bai Nagar was called East Vinay Nagar and Netaji Nagar was called West Vinay Nagar. Named after the famous woman freedom fighter Sarojini Naidu, this colony is encircled by Safdarjung Enclave, South Extension, Laxmibai Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, Chanakyapuri and Netaji Nagar. It is in the vicinity of Chanakyapuri, one of the most beautiful localities in Delhi, also the home of various embassies and consulates, including those of the United States and Russia.
Essentially located in the South West Delhi locality of the city, Sarojini Nagar (or SN as it is sometimes called) is one of the most favoured places in the city to buy clothes and fabrics at unbeatable prices. Apart from a large number of large sized showrooms for various international and local brands, the crux of the market is formed by street side shops which sell garments of all sizes, designs and colors.
The market which is surrounded by government housing has the following sections, as locals call them. 90% of the shops in SN are family owned.
- The Babu Market
- Subzi Market
- Central Market
- Mandir wali side.
Babu Market is located at the north-west corner of Sarojini Nagar Market. It has four rows of enclosed shops facing each other. Most of the shops are garment and clothes shops. The first shop on the corner of Sarojini Nagar which faces the north-east of Babu Market is Mahindra Sweets. This shop is outside the enclosed area of Babu Market. More famously known as Mucchal Halwayi ki Dukaan. A name given to this shop because its owner had big mustaches. After his demise, his children have taken over the business. On rainy days or during evenings crowds line up in front of this shop to buy hot Samosas and Jalebi. This shop is followed by steel utensil shops which draw large crowds during Dhan-teras.
On the North West corner of the market, the first shop is a Shoe shop. This used to be a bakery and general store till early 1990s. Some other famous shops in Babu Market include Kurta Payjama shops (Lalaji ki Dukan), Chacha Saree, Keval ki Toy Shop, an open air barber shop, open air chaye wala, Neelgagan Stationary, Meat Shops and Kumar Dentist. Most of the shops that are enclosed in rows facing each other are garment shops. Shopping here becomes a challenge during the Summer time when temperatures get into 45 to 48 °C (116 °F). G, H, and I are the nearest Residential block to Babu Market. During evenings, the section of the market that faces the central market lights up with hundreds of street vendors, pop-corn vendors, and other small street sellers who usually carry a small kerosene gas lamp on their carts. There is also a CGHS dispensary just opposite to Babpu Market where govt. employees can get free checkup from a 24 hour available doctor. Like any other section of the market, parking is a big problem in Babu Market, specially during evenings.
The far south end of the Sarojini Nagar market is Subzi Market. Subzi is the common Hindi word for vegetables in North India. This Subzi market is famous for its fresh vegetables in South West Delhi. The vegetable vendors shout at the top of their voice to attract customers to their stalls. Some of these vendors get creative with the calls and rhyme them in a comic way.
Subzi market is also the best place to get freshest fruits in South West Delhi at a reasonable price. Customers can bargain with vendors when buying large quantities of fruits or vegetables. There is a parking lot right behind the market facing the Government Girls Senior Secondary School No. 1.
Facing Subzi market is a section of Central Market which is famous for the shops Alpana Traders, Kalpana Traders, Furniture Houses and General Stores where one can buy spice. Till early 1990s the corner-most shop of the western end of this market used to be a Sweets Shop. After the father’s demise, the younger generation converted this into a garment shop. Right outside this shop however a traditional Tikki and Kulfi vendor continues to sell his famous Tikki and Kulfi. The large central market is shaped like a horizontally extended “I” or “][“. Layout of the market is unique wherein visitors move around in a circle without realizing so. People who get lost sometimes find it hard to believe that by keep going on they will reach the starting point of their trip. Shops are lined up in rows and there is a newly constructed open-air path-way in front of the shops for customers to move through the crowds to get into each shop. These pathways are also largely occupied by illegal street vendors. Shops have a front opening, and a back opening. The back-streets (galiyan) of SN market are just as crowded and busy as the path-ways in front of the shops. In fact the most famous Export Bazaar/Market for clothes is located in the back-streets of the market which is closer to Subzi market. On one side of the central market there are famous bakery shops like Golden Bakery, Keventers, Mohan Restaurant, Paradise Sarees, Grover Furniture, Capri store and Atta Chakki. On the other side of the central market which faces the Hanuman Temple are the Lahori Restaurant, Electronic Stores, Ushnak Milk Dairy, Optics Shops, New Photo Life, Band Box Drycleaners and Pharmacy shops. Also this side has become famous for Economy Apparel brands like Koutons, John Players, Charlie Outlaw, TNG and Cotton County.
The North side of central SN market mostly has footwear shops. Some of the famous shops in this section of the market are Paul Shoes, Paul Photo Studios, Om Boot House, Liberty and Bata Shoes, Woodland Shoes and Reebok Shoes. There are also a few famous leather belt vendors who occupy the space near the large arches where the you may still see the decades old sign “SAROJINI NAGAR”. Some of the letters in this sign were already missing and may be as it stands today, these letters may not even be there.
Sarojini Nagar was also a hot bed of BJP, RSS and VHP activities. The annual dussera festival is still celebrated with the nine days of Ram-Lila followed by Ravan Dahan. In early 1980s and 1990s RSS Svayam Sevaks (activists) could be seen holding Shakhas (daily gatherings) in their uniquely recognizable short-pants and white shirts. Some of the parks in the surrounding area are named after famous freedom fighters and religious leaders such as Swami Vivekanand Park. In late 70s or eighties this park was also called the Fountain Garden or (Hindi: Fuarey wala park), since it had water fountains and lights that would attract local visitors and kids during evening hours. The park got renovated and landscaped around 2007 and provides respite to tired shopaholics/joggers/residents.