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Old Is Gold: The Best Antiques Around India



Old Is Gold: The Best Antiques Around India

Revisit the past at these spectacular antique markets across India

Typewriters were cool way before hipsters made it a trendy accessory to go with their polka-dotted bow ties. There’s a reason why nostalgia sells. When compared to a world of bitcoins and virtual everything, old-school stuff — especially anything that uses mechanical technology — is actually a lot more endearing.

Do you still use a set of fountain pens? Do you want to buy a pocket watch? Or a working typewriter? We tell you where to score some of the best antiques around India.

1. Chor Bazaar, Mumbai

Mutton Street may conjure horrific images of a meat market, but this bustling lane near Mohammad Ali Road is anything but that.

A time capsule dedicated to all things old, this is India’s best one-stop market for antiques.

Vintage cameras, clocks, typewriters, chandeliers, signboards, ship parts, antique furniture, retro advertisements, toys — you name it and there’ll be a shop in Chor Bazaar that stocks it.

Some even sell Impala cars, straight from the 1950s! The market is closed on Fridays.

2. Amar Colony & Red Fort, Delhi

Tucked away in a small zone off the popular Lajpat Nagar market, Amar Colony has several shops that mainly sell old furniture.

Some of these are genuine antiques, while some are fresh pieces that have been given a distressed look.

It’s a great place to refurbish your pad, and sellers can also create custom pieces for you. We spotted a couple of gramophones too. Bargain hard, though! Closed on Mondays.

The road opposite Red Fort comes alive every Sunday with sellers offering down jackets, clothes, electronic items, shoes, tools, and other knick-knacks.

It’s highly disorganised and chaotic, so be patient and carry drinking water when you visit.

3. Charminar Area, Hyderabad

In a city that’s older than history itself, antiques are not something unusual.

On Sundays though, the alleys around Charminar are lined with pop-up sellers offering radios, telescopes, antique maps, porcelain items, clocks, and an assortment of goodies from bygone times.

Most sellers are part-time vendors and price their goods reasonably, with some leeway for bargaining.

4. Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu

A nondescript, dusty and hot town, Karaikudi is home to the Chettiars — wealthy sea-faring merchants of Tamil Nadu. As many of their mansions came down, a wealth of antiques flooded the town’s markets.

Expect to find old photos, frames, Burmese teak four-poster beds, mahogany doors, toys, and an overwhelming variety of antiques at fixed prices.

Ask locals for the exact road lined with these shops. Closed on Sundays.

5. Shivajinagar, Bangalore

The city’s most famous gujri (secondhand) market stocks mainly automobile spare parts, but some enterprising shopkeepers also peddle antique clocks, gramophones, furniture, and copper vessels.

Exercise those limbs and trawl through this vast shopping paradise in Bangalore. Expect shops to be closed on Fridays.

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Mineli Goswami is a 24-year-old Assamese-East Indian, which usually translates into pretty good weekend feasts. When she’s not at her desk struggling with poetry – more often than she’d like – she’s seen wasting time on an assortment of things such as lugging an antique SLR, breaking nails climbing boulders, and chasing turtles. She’s graduated in history and has an unofficial PhD in Bandra-style jiving.

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