Buzzing with the energy of street hawkers, and abound in the brands popular among the students, Kamla Nagar market is a perfect student haunt and a shopaholic's dream for a wholesome shopping experience in North Delhi.
Given its proximity to Delhi University's North Campus, Kamla Nagar and its neighborhood is home to many students from colleges such as Hansraj, Ramjas, Hindu, Kirori Mal and St Stephen’s. Some of these student dwellings are tucked within the market in the form of PGs, apartments, and hostels. This student community makes for a very strong clientele of the Kamala Nagar market, so much so that it dictates to some degree what all is available here.
Over the years, the market has transformed itself to cater to the interests of the students. As a result, we have flea markets with tons of accessories, earrings, pendants, bangles and nose rings, sizzling street food and fashionable western clothes.
At any particular time of the year, one may find students here on a pilgrimage to find the perfect outfit for a cultural event or a social celebration. Ones who have the right eye and time to dispose of can find gems in the crowd of footwear, knitwear, kurtas and other clothes folded or hung in small-scale shops along the roadsides in Kamla market.
The market also has a fair share of big retail outlets such as the ever-busy unisex saloon of Javed Habib in addition to Max, Croma, Madame, Pantaloons, and Incense to name a few.
One thing that makes Kamla market stand out is the food options that are available here. The market is also abundant in cafes and restaurants such as Macdonals’s, Berco’s, CocoPots and Mag ‘N’ Cheese, Belgian Fries Company and Frappy Joe.
However, being a student of one of the colleges in North Campus and a former resident of Kamla Nagar, it is the smaller places that I remember more fondly, perhaps because of the memories spent there.
There was an egg stall right in front of Javed Habib’s who could whip the most perfect bread omelette, kala khatta chuski that we would sip on even in the crispiest of winters, La Phing binge at La Phingwala, small momo treats and Chalte Firte restaurants. I have spent many carefree evenings at Bistro 57, a takeaway cafe, which is known for its mocktails and fast food.
Moreover, Kamla Nagar also boasts of popular food joints that have risen to fame by virtue of their taste. These include Dolma Aunty momos, Zaika Muradabadi restaurant, and Chacha Di Hatti Chole Bhature. These food joints invariably present a busy picture throughout the day with food lovers tucking in their favorite momos, biryani and bhature.
Accessories are something that you must check at Kamla Nagar market. Apart from Viola, you will also find beautiful earrings and chokers just by the roadside. Clip-on nose rings are a specialty that is sported by many girls in the area. You can also buy trendy bags, and belts from the market.
Apart from the regular DU crowd, Kamla market is also popular for ethic and wedding shopping. Shopaholics from all over Delhi come to Kamla Market to buy lehengas, sarees, and lanchas. Among the popular stores are Saubhagya, Meena Bazar, and Lagan- The Wedding Studio.
As you move towards the lanes in front of Sparks mall, you will find an array of shops dealing in everything. From utensils, buckets, crockery to bridal clothes, everything is available. You will also find a piercing studio along the market, in front of the lane opposite Sparks Mall. As a highlight, getting a piercing done in Kamla Market is an ordinary feat for students who get it done on any unplanned visit. Similarly, there are tattoo studios too.
Shopping at Kamla Nagar market may not come at throwaway prices like Sarojini or Lajpat, yet it comes with its own advantages. One, you have a leisurely shopping experience as it is not very crowded. You will find a good range at decent prices and while you shop, you will have ample joints to munch on a snack and relax.
For this writer and for many students who studied in the North Campus, Kamla Nagar is not just a market, it is literally home and bags full of fond memories.