The Royal Town of the Jats, if literally translated, Shahpur Jat is a fascinating place and one of New Delhi’s well kept secrets. The narrow, cramped lanes, winding through crumbling haveli style houses belie the royal stature the area held during the times of Allaudin Khilji. He founded Siri, the first Muslim city of Delhi at Shahpur Jat in 1303.
It included the Siri Fort area and the neighbouring Hauz Khas reservoir as well. Now all that remains is parts of the stone wall or fort, a mosque, a structure called Baradari and the Tohfa Wali Gumbad.
About 900 years ago, Shahpur Jat was slowly occupied by the Dagar farmers from Indri in Haryana. The land was fertile, they were able farmers and got rich quickly. As more clans came in, Shahpur Jat (the wealthy colony of Jats) came into being.
The surroundings are in ruins now, but Shahpur Jat still draws tourists to the old monuments…and some chic shops! The government acquired the open farmlands here in 1978, to create the posh colonies of the Asiad Village, Panchsheel Park and Hauz Khas. The already heavily compensated farmers later made a killing by adding extra floors to their houses – it is these structures that now house designers’ shops.
Yes, today Shahpur Jat is a trendy hotspot for fashion boutiques in Delhi. Its proximity to fashion and design colleges in the Hauz Khas area, the cheaper rental prices and an artsy neighbourhood have all made it a prime location for aspiring designers to set up shop here.
Tucked into various corners of old bungalows, these designer stores retail anything from funky western tops and dresses through fabulous designer sarees in Kota, cotton and silk through trendy silver jewellery and unique home decor products.
WRAP sells exclusive stoles, shawls and cloaks. The Shoe Garage sells custom- made shoes for women, while The Bag Garage sells clutches and purses. Shops like Creative Ghar and others sell kitsch furniture and home decor including sofas, beds, statues, candles, table-ware and cushions. Tan Him also sells pillows with cartoon prints and very elegant bags.
Ready-made designer apparel abound and Bridal Wear Dresses at Couple Cut Couture. Take your pick from Sitara Tarini, Osho, Viva, Aakarshan, Haute Couture, Darzi and Niket. Revolution offers designer wear in extra large sizes. Jewellery is somewhat exclusive – check out Aakaar, Tavishi and Kalden and decide for yourself. Go to Maya for wedding trousseaux, tunics, kurtas and customized dresses.
In the Jungi House lane, you will find Pakistani cotton suits with a starting price range of just Rs. 1000 each at Home Linen. Painted kettles and colored flower pots at Maximum are popular.
Shiva Oriental Rugs houses a large collection of expensive and exquisite Turkish and Afghan carpets and rugs.
The market is also home to a number of workshops for clothes and carpets, and is one of the largest production centres for Zari embroidery in North India.
It boasts of a number of books shops and publishing houses which not only stock old books in various languages but have technicolor posters of old Hindi films for sale as well.
Coupled with quaint coffee shops and shady trees, the book stores provide a quiet retreat from the hustle bustle of shops, where one can relax and enjoy the charming side of city life.
If you need to eat, The Slice of Italy is the only place. That apart, The Cafe Garage provides sandwiches. Otherwise you only have makeshift tea-stalls.
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