When I first visited Chandni Chowk, It was 5 months before my wedding. I had limited knowledge, and it was a spur of the moment decision to just hop on the metro to go and see if we could find some lehenga options that were cheaper than the lehenga I had loved. Two girls on the metro were discussing places to shop there so I was shamelessly eavesdropping on their conversation and making mental notes. Since then however I have been to CC close to 20 different times, with 20 different people- some clients, some friends etc so I think I am finally in a position to write this!
Okay, so you have probably read about a dozen news paper articles about how Chandni Chowk is this treasure trove of the most amazing bridal lehengas and what not, but when you actually land there all you see is shiney, mind numbing bling (and people climbing on each other) that is totally un-drool worthy? Chances are you haven’t gone to the right store in Chandni Chowk yet !!Take it from a recent bride, a self confessed bridal shopping expert (hey im paid to help people find lehengas!) , and someone who is pretty obsessed with finding nooks and corners that sell bridal lehengas- these are probably the only places worth knowing.
Our Real Bride Priya bought her sangeet outfit from Om Prakash.
Photo by arjunkarthaphotography.com
I saw this orange and pink lehenga replica at OPJL and ALMOST bought it !
Om Prakash Jawahar lal (Naya Katra): These guys need to start paying me now, because i first put them on the map 2 years back when i wrote a post about where to buy bridal lehengas in Delhi. Compared to the rest of the riff -raff they have nice, elegant pieces in similar style of Sabya and Manish etc. The downside- they compromise on the flare according to me. Not that you wont get a full flared lehenga here- you will, but i found that the level of flare was slightly lesser than what you would get in some other shops. Also i dont recommend you customise ANYTHING here. Just see the sample and get it made to size
Price Points: A good one will cost you upwards of 80,000 INR and the ones i absolutely loved (an orange and pink one which was somewhat like an Anamika Khanna piece (see photo above)) was 1.2 lakhs. The flare though annoys me- i had a HUGE flare on my lehenga and somehow didnt find that anywhere in Om Prakash.
Asiana Couture : Relatively new kids on the block but already making a ton of waves in the Chandni Chowk bridal scene (LOL- i make it sound like Chandni Chowk has a ‘scene’) . I hadnt actually heard of them when i went shopping for my lehenga, but over time i have seen brides wear some lovely pieces from here. Then i actually visited them and absolutely loved some of their stuff- a lot of new , current styles and very like high quality pieces which if you follow Indian designers, you will know! Prices are not super cheap again, but because they are lesser known than OPJL, you will get a better price for sure ! Again, stay far away from custom.
Photos of Kamal Bhai Saree Sangam
Kamal Bhai Saree Sangam( Katra Pyarelal Gali): Another hidden gem that nobody really knows about – they sell styles similar to Om Prakash but at a cheaper rate. However the variety is kind of limited so at times it is a hit, and at times a miss. I saw a montone deep red lehenga with gorgeous soft gold work all over which I had also seen at Frontier as well as Roop Sarees – but here it was half the price. I didn’t pick it up because I wanted a colorblocked lehenga at the time- something with contrast. Co-incidentally, my friend turned up in that red and gold lehenga on her wedding.I have also seen some gorgeous customised pieces and while they turn out nice the finishing never ends up being like the one had you just ordered off a sample. Prices just a tad bit cheaper than OPJL but not more expensive than everyone else.
Sudhir Bhai (Close to OPJL) : Have you noticed how all shops sound similar? Everyone is a Bhai or a chand or lal or a singh !! Sudhir Bhai is another semi well known shop in Chandni Chowk and once we exited OPJL , this is where we went next. This has some stuff which is really nice and cheaper prices too ! But sometimes a hit, sometimes a miss because the variety keeps changing. My friend scored a lovely peach and yellow lehenga for about 35000 from here for her sisters wedding.
A lehenga from Sunehri
Sunaree : My friend got her wedding lehenga from here and these guys are definitely more affordable than the rest, though they don’t have some of the more unique heavier pieces that others do. She bought a very nice shaded peach and coral bridal lehenga and the prices here start lower and you could score some lehengas at about 50k but you REALLY have to hunt to find a good piece.
Lehenga House: These people advertise a lot and you will see their big-a** hoardings every where in Chandni Chowk ! Umm..personally I didnt find anything here- they have variety but I didnt find anything unique or different from what people generally wear. They are cheaper than the shops I have mentioned and you may find something here but I didn’t find anything that looked super high end you know?
Pakeezah Plaza:You will have to hunt here, but sometimes you can score some majorly drool worthy stuff. SOMETIMES. Still worth a visit as it is cheaper than the big names and has quite a bit of variety! Real Bride Urvashi bought her lehenga from Pakeezah Plaza. See her beautiful orange and blue lehenga with gotta patti here
Smaller shops like Tek Chand Arjit Singh, Chetan Saris, Shringar Saris, kalakriti : These are nice for saris and stuff (Specially kalakriti is great for anarkalis and Shringar has nice saris) but the variety of lehengas here is pretty limited. You can wrap up your lehenga shopping in the first three places i spoke about. I saw a white lehenga at Tek Chand whose border i really liked so we spoke about customising and he told me he could give me a beautiful white and pink lehenga for about 75K, but ultimately i didnt trust getting something customised from scratch so i let it go and im Glad i did, i wouldn;t have found my lehenga otherwise (I still, am whole heartedly in love with it)
CTC , Chabbra, & the rest: Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. I went inside one such store that a lehenga agent recommended to me and the guy made me sit and had a 10 minute discussion of what my ‘style’ was. After i told him, you know i dont like bling- i like stuff like Sabyasachi and Manish Malhotra etc…he was like ok i shall show you something DITTO same. Out came a red lehenga with A lot of cheap mish mash of swarovski and sequin work which quite frankly even a bride in the 1960′s would have been terrified of . Ofcourse these places are really cheap so you the lehenga was under 50K for example but the quality was just not there ! Mega waste of time!
So is Chandni Chowk the best place in Delhi to shop for lehengas: Personally, i dont think so – its definitely a must visit for bridal shopping just because it helps you guage an idea of the vast variety they have, however do remember they take atleast 4 -5 weeks to make a lehenga . Plus if you compare prices, there isnt a very significant difference according to me, so while a trip to Chandni Chowk is nice dont get too caught up if you dont find your lehenga there. I *almost* did, but then i didnt.
Points to remember
- Those of you from outside Delhi- Chandni Chowk is like having a gazillion people fit inside a 10 feet box with lanes so narrow that only 1 person can go at one time. I am NOT exaggerating. Its not an easy to place to navigate in the least and honestly none of the shops have addresses
- Be careful of those random lehenga agents who take you to shops they get commissioned on. Dont ask them directions for shops because they end of taking you to totally different ones. True story- a girl wrote in to me saying that she went to what was Om prakash, but turned out to be a different Om prakash than the one I recommended. That ‘different’ Om prakash was a scamster and the shop dissapeared with their money!
- Bargain. It works in Chandni Chowk.
- Changing colors, a little bit of emrboidery on the blouse or little changes to dupatta is fine but do not ask for a major overhaul of a lehenga here. It is best to order on an existing sample!
- Dont forget to stop for some chaat and some karims mutton korma. Even if you land up in the hospital the next day with a heart disease , or diarrhea, its bloody worth it !
- Remember most shops in Delhi work with smaller ‘masterjis’ and ‘workshops’ who do the work. So chances are you see the same lehenga in 3 different stores. My aim was to find one that I did NOT see in every store , and Im ecstatic that I chose what I did, but dont be disheartened if the lehenga you like in one store is very expensive. Go to a few others and you will hit jackpot !
Some more resources to check out :
- View my picks of Where to Shop in Shahpur Jat (great for sangeet outfits)
- View my picks of the Best Bridal Makeup Artists in Delhi (from budgets ranging 8000 rs to 30000 rs)
- Viw my picks of the Best Candid Wedding Photographers inDelhi (from budgets ranging 25000 rs a day to 1 lakh rs a day!)
- I also wrote a post on my Beauty Blog about where to shop for lehengas in Delhi
- Shinjini wrote a post about Chandni Chowk shopping
- Wedding Pitara blog wrote a post as well about where to shop for bridal lehengas
We are now only a few days from launch. I think I have pretty much given away who I am from this post .
But you know whats coming soon…the Bridal Files…shhhhhh…keep it low till we launch. Dont forget to Subscribe for updates.
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