Paharganj is situated close to New Delhi Railway station and so is Connaught Place. Both the areas have hotels, restaurants and shops for tourists. While hotels and restaurants at CP are costly, those at Paharganj are quite affordable for budget tourists. Same is the case with shopping. While roadside vendors at CP may offer cheaper items, the standard showrooms are only for the rich customers. Moreover, while a tourist may find a hotel in almost every street in Paharganj, the same cannot be said of CP. The shops and restaurants in Paharganj are not as intimidating as those in the CP.
If you are young and willing to be bit whacky, Paharganj offers a ceaseless array of delights for you. There are jewellery shops whose owners will also tell you your future and suggest stones to shape it. There are numerous new-age book shops filled with all kinds of attractive titles including yoga, tantra and new-age philosophy. You may be surprised to hear new age music inside these shops. Paharganj also hosts B.Jain Books, one of the world’s largest publishers of books in homeopathy.
You may find thrift shops with patchwork pyjamas. The area is teeming with all kinds of visitors, locals, foreigners, hippies and college students. Paharganj preserves its history of the era of the seventies. It is a Mecca for low budge backpackers. You can get a room in a hotel for as low as Rs.200 per night. There are several travel agents who not only arrange tickets but also offer public telephone services This is the only market in the city where internet cafés are open 24 hours a day. Internet surfing is cheap. You need to pay only ten rupees for half an hour’s use of the computer with internet facility.
There are all kinds of eateries and restaurants that offer eclectic menu to cater to a variety of Indian and continental tastes. You can have shudh shakahari bhojan—pure vegetarian food—to Asaamese, Bengali and continental including Israeli, Italian and Greek dishes.
Molly, a 24-year British student, is visiting India for the first time. She says that she loves Paharganj because she can have typical English breakfast with sausages and pancakes. Newly wedded couples can find honeymoon suite at extremely low prices.
Paharganj market is also known for silver jewellery. The market offers everything from heavy silver danglers to quaint studded bracelets. These shops offer the silverware at much cheaper rates than designer shops elsewhere in the city.