It may have started in the 1960s, but is a favourite haunt for Delhi people looking for good décor and furniture pieces at a reasonable price even today. For the first timer, Amar Colony market may seem like a junkyard, but the seasoned buyer (in many cases spanning across generations) sees it as nothing less than a hunting ground for fashionable and quaint furniture. Some go there to buy antiques or pick up replicas, while others hunt for contemporary craft items. Whatever be the reason, there is something to beautify every nook and corner of your house at this bazaar.
To begin with, you will have to chart your own course to the shops, since the entrance is actually an open area, where carpenters turn sawdust into gold. Customers who swear by the place insist that there is, perhaps, no better way to give old (and sometimes, discarded) furniture a new lease of life. Once you have found your bearings, you'll be awestruck with the sheer volume. Since they are stacked one over the other, you have to really look through the piles to unearth interesting and one-of-a-kind pieces. But it's well worth the effort!
The current flavour of the season is decidedly Tibetan, with furniture of all sizes crafted by Tibetan artisans. Red bookshelves, crimson cabinets and orange cupboards with several ornately designed kalash-like motifs, Buddha figurines and monks in various postures, are a visual treat. We spotted a bright-green garden bench with pretty tiles neatly placed on the backrest (see pic on top). You could get this replicated. Then there are jharokas from old havelis in Jaipur, carved chests from Jodhpur and stunning black cabinets with brass work from Orissa. Some shopkeepers insist that if you look hard enough you will find a piece from every part of the country. You will also be able to lay your hands on several reproductions of Victorian-style cupboards, French mirrors, American-style side tables and sofa sets. You could team one of these pieces with a wrought-iron, clay or ceramic planter or a glass lamp and assemble a funky collection for your precious room.
The best part? Unlike fancy showrooms where eager salesmen pressurise you into making a purchase, here you are left alone. That said, whenever you need any assistance, there are plenty of people to guide you around. If the shopowners discover that you are a furniture enthusiast, you will be regaled with stories about their 15-20 year tenure at the market; you may even be taken to their store room where a huge stock awaits you. While a few pieces are literally a steal, others require bargaining. The discount also depends on the quantity you purchase and your bargaining prowess. The more you purchase the more likely you are to get a discount. Of course antiques (made from rosewood and Burma Teak) cost more and the shopkeepers claim that - owing to the demand - they do not last for more than a day. So hurry up, guys!
Hue's here: If colour-infused furniture with ornate designs is what you like, go for the Tibetan fare. Bookshelves (6ft x 3ft) will cost you Rs 8,000 to 10,000; cupboards range between Rs 20,000 to 35,000; and cabinets, Rs 10,000 to 15,000. (Also, if you ask for replicas the price comes down considerably)
Flora and fauna tiles, some antique and some new, can be found on side tables, backs of chairs and benches and cupboards. A pretty green garden bench with tiles at the back costs Rs 3,500 to 4,500; cabinet (3ft x 3ft) with tiles, Rs 3,500 to 7,500.
Furniture from Orissa - a combination of wood painted black and brass work — is quite a stunning sight. There weren't many pieces when we went there, but the store owners assured us that more are on the way. Black wooden cupboards with brass work costs Rs 5,000 to 6,000.
Keep a lookout for innovative products like a truck that can double up as a magazine rack, costing Rs 1,500 to 2,000; or a small chair with Rajasthani motifs for your child's room, priced at Rs 11,000 for the entire set; and wood and plywood blocks with Buddha's face painted on it (Rs 3,000 to 6,000) The market is located behind LSR college in Amar Colony. Near the Lajpat Nagar nullah.