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Palika Bazaar: A Delhi landmark in Decay


If you have grown up in Delhi in the 70s and 80s, Palika Bazaar would have been one place that you would have surely not missed.  It was the first market that fired the imagination of the Delhi-ites used to crowded over-ground markets.  Here was something contemporary at that time and something had so many things in one place.

  • Over the years, the place hasn’t been high on any consumer’s list because of many reasons.  As, NDMC puts it, Palika is in a state of decay.  The place is dirty, stuffy and claustrophobic.  Also, it hardly has any good amenities.
  • Connaught Place’s (CP) market has seen a lot of changes and become contemporary itself.  One would rather shop over ground than underground.
  • Large, Modern malls have come up in Delhi which are state of the art.  There is no reason why a person would go and buy cheap stuff, which is what Palika has been selling for so many years.

NDMC recently started the renovation for the Commonwealth Games but couldn’t complete it.  The work is still ongoing.  Walls and tiles have been changed, new air conditioners have been added and now work is to be done on the escalators.

With close to 400 shops in the complex which have close to 15000 people at any time of the day, this market needs a bad make-over.  You can get more information of this market and also details of each shop and its location from this useful portal –

But the make-over is not just needed in the outward looks but also how the shopkeepers interact with you.  I was talking to this American lady who had been to the market and she was apalled by the aggressiveness of the shopkeepers.  She made an interesting comment – she had bought many things in India and mostly it was from the shops and places where people were least aggressive.

Being aggressive by physically connecting or coming out to talk to you while others are shouting as well is not the best selling method!  It turns the buyers off.  Specially the foreign ones.  Its better to have good signs, nicely illuminated shop, great looking merchandize and friendly atmosphere.  That will do the trick like no haggling or hustling can.

Ultimately this incessant hustling drives away buyers from not only your shop but from those around you as well.  I can bet that if Indian shopkeepers learn the art of marketing and replace the practice of “Hustling” with some serious marketing acumen, the sales will see a big jump for most of them.

So, not only does Palika need a renovation but also needs to have a course in learning for the shopkeepers to refurbish their own selling mechanism for higher sales.  They need to advertise outside – collectively.  And put forth Palika as a customer friendly place that loves and cares for its customers.