Ten-second takeaway

No visit to Avenue Road is complete without taking a peek into the past at Balaji’s Antiques & Collectibles. And you can score vintage typewriters at a fraction of a cost too. Hipsters rejoice!

The beginning of an era

Started in 1924, Balaji Antiques {popularly known as Rare} , the oldest antique store in the city, first started out as a gramophone shop on Avenue Road. The family-owned business {three generations now} specialises in South Indian paintings {Mysore, Tanjore} and antiquarian maps, with a focus on colonial as well as ethnic collectibles. Artefacts and collectibles from Balaji were also used to create an authentic period look for David Lean’s legendary film A Passage to India.

Collectors’ edition

The first floor of the store is crammed with every possible kind of antique: from adorable baby bottles to original Ravi Varma Press lithographs. Do say hello to Balaji D, the amiable owner, who will happily show you around his store {three floors of it actually}. The first floor is stuffed to the gills with vintage cameras, Swiss type writers, ancient brass urns, ornate fans, English-style water filters, and even stately gramophones. Especially lustworthy are the fine collection of Swedish enamelware, children’s collection of tin toys and soldiers, old film posters, army-issue bullet boxes and of course vintage typewriters.

The second and third floor are dedicated to beautiful furniture, some of it in teakwood apparently. Take your pick from writing desks, almirahs with mirrors and crystal handles, carved cabinets, art deco style mirrors, wooden boxes, and more. The pricing here is competitive and there is something for every kind of budget.

In case you don’t want to make that trek to Avenue Road {we insist that you do}, then you could visit Balaji’s new branch {only by appointment} in Cooke Town called Virala.

Where: Balaji’s Antiques & Collectibles, 64, Balagi Silk Complex, 1st Floor, Avenue Road

When: Monday to Saturday, 11am-7.30pm

Contact: 080 65956427, +91 9342410288

Price: INR 200 upwards

Check out their website here.