The name Shanti Mohalla is a misnomer for a fabric sourcing paradise. There is little peace as one finds ones way through the crammed bylanes or gullis jostling small auto trucks, cycle rickshaws, pull carts and honking two wheelers. The first view of the place is rows of tiny shops with some bolts of fabric which can be seen from the main road. Despair not at the small stock which is visible. Once inside the shop, one is led into a basement or a godown at the back or an emporium tucked in the bylanes and then one is awestruck by the collection. Feast your eyes on the sheer variety of fabric and the quantity that is stocked. The bolts and bolts of colours, some printed, some plain, some embroidered, some with bling on it and more. Incidentally, the main road resembles a bylane and there are around 18 gullis or smaller bylanes attached to it. It goes without saying each is filled with fabric to the core. And they collectively do a business worth crores every day.
For many in the profession Nehru Place the sampling adda is now passé and most bulk buyers now head to Shanti Mohalla. The variety and range is mind boggling. In the opinion of regulars, “nearly all, almost all types of fabric can be bought here”. Delhi in recent times has managed to come with uncanny spots which are great places to pick up fabrics, knits, odds and ends accessories and of course handicrafts. So amidst traditional pockets of zardozi, sujni, kantha and hand embroidery there are equally fantastic places where one can pick up some fabulous fabrics. This is another addition to the growing list.
It is motley of 2000 – 3000 shops. Of the total number of shops nearly 90% work with cotton. Cotton is the fabric of choice, so it is available in all forms and all weaves. The maximum demand is during the summer season, winters are generally a lean period. About 18 - 20 shops work with other fabrics like silk, crepe, georgette and chiffon. The range available includes voil, cambric, chambray, checks, poplin, rayon, viscose, silk, denim, corduroys, jute, cotsilk, chiffon, georgette and crepe.
Location: To the uninitiated the market is situated near Gandhi Nagar near Old Seelampur. To be precise, after making it to the Swami Akshardham Mandir crossing, move into Mandawali, then to Laxmi Nagar and from there to what is popularly known as Jheel Chowk. From here, ask for directions and you will be guided via accessible roads to the Market. This is the easiest way to reach the market.
Timing: The Market is closed on Mondays and works roughly 10:30 am to 7:00 pm or more.
Highlight: Gully or Street No. 17 has 80 - 90 shops which deal in accessories and their repertoire includes threads, buttons, elastics, tapes and embroidery threads. The other is what is called Cut piece market - which has around 200 - 300 shops. They deal in cut pieces, fabric scraps and end pieces of fabrics.
Insider Tip: Unlike other markets where cloth is sold by meter, here plenty of cloth is sold by weight especially velvet and denim. The range of silk, embroidered fabrics is wonderful. Sheeting and grey is also available in plenty. Bargain, bargain and bargain as there are no fixed prices. Prices on bargaining can drop by more than 50% especially for stock lots. For fresh pieces, the prices are cheaper by nearly 25% when compared to the market.