Delhi: Khan Market

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History

Location: Khan Market; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India

The Times of India, Jun 28 201

Ambika Pandit

The city's swishest market was once a cozy neighbourhood with a central park and chaupal. The market was named after freedom fighter Khan Adul Jabbar Khan ( brother of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan) and the rent even then, joke the residents, was exorbitant -Rs 50. The first buyers got 75-square yard flats for a stiff price -Rs 9,500. Flat No 13 of Khan Market belongs to one of the 74 families that moved here in the 1950s. Today, only 10 families continue to live here with memories of a very different Khan Market, a neighbourhood that once reflected the aspirations of post-Independence India.

Commercial value

Some facts: Khan Market; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India
Some facts: Khan Market; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India
Some facts: Khan Market; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India

The apporoximate monthly rent for a 450-sq ft shop is around Rs 7-8 lakh. The estimated sale price of a flat here is around Rs 16 crore but sales are uncommon so the estimates mean little.

Given the commercial frenzy surrounding the market it might be hard to believe that it once had a central park with a fountain or that one of the parking lots used to be a chaupal.

The neighbourhood that was the soul of Khan Market started disintegrating in the late 1980s when residents started selling or renting out their flats to relocate to bigger houses elsewhere in the city .

Entry to the 10 flats where Khan Market's original families still live is through the middle lane which is now packed with cafes, restaurants (at least 36 of the 74 flats here house restaurants) and boutiques. The houses are, in fact, hard to find because of the bright signboards that dominate the building façade.

For the families living here, keeping the market out of their homes is hard work.

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