Red Fort’s Meena Bazaar Has Been Completely Refurbished & It’s SO Beautiful!
What Makes It Awesome?
If you haven't been to Red Fort yet (why?), now you have a great excuse. The huge market complex before the entry to the fort, Meena Bazaar (formerly known as Chhatta Chowk, or Chhatta Bazaar) is finally ready and revamped after years of renovations. Through the Lahori Gate entrance, and after crossing the courtyard from where you can get a close look of the tricolour hoisted at the top, you'll be lead to a massive, arched walkway that is Meena Bazaar. The market is full of shops that sell handicrafts made by artisans from across the country. You'll find stuff like kutchwork bags, juttis, pashmina shawls, costume jewellery, wall-mounted plates, crockery, and so much more. The stuff here is priced so low, you'll be tempted to keep shopping. The juttis here (super-padded and comfortable, I tried a pair) start at INR 200, which has to be some kind of record. The bags start at INR 250 and shawls at INR 300 (the synthetic kind, the pure wool kind are priced higher, naturally) and both come in such beautiful patterns, you'll be spoilt for choice. But what I really took a liking for were the decorative pieces made out of marble. Some of them had beautiful stones, such as mother of pearl, rose quartz, and more. I loved the tiny elephant-family sets, but the jewellery boxes were really pretty as well. Those started at about INR 200. Personally, I didn't like the jewellery as much—it was the same stuff you'll find everywhere else (mirrors, tassels, etc)—so if you like that sort of thing, you'll get into it. Definitely check out the home decor stuff, too. If you're someone who's easily tempted into a shopping spree, I recommend you enjoy the tour inside the fort and the museum first, and hit up the stores on your way out (be prepared for a LOT of walking).
What Could Be Better?
Since the market is inside the Red Fort complex, you'll have to purchase the ticket for entry (INR 50 for just the fort, INR 80 for both the fort and the museum).
I suggest you go as early as possible, to avoid waiting in queues to buy tickets. And also, wear comfortable shoes and carry a water bottle, so you can avoid purchasing a single-use plastic bottle there.