Everything you needed to know about Wedding Shopping in Delhi’s famous South Ex market
Ask anyone in Delhi – which are the best markets in Delhi to do some bridal shopping – and South Extension is guaranteed to be in their top 3 list. But if you’re not familiar with the market, shopping at South Ex for the first time as a bride can be an overwhelming experience.
Aunties and relatives will give you their own version of “beta you must shop at this store” and suddenly you have a list of 20 stores to visit, and no clue about what the specialty of each store is. You will head into the market on Day 1 expecting to get everything done in a single visit, and realise after 7 visits that there are still a dozen more shops on your list and you’re nowhere near completing your trousseau shopping!
Well, calm down already. I have lost count of how many times I’ve been to South Ex for bridal shopping – either for myself or a friend or a cousin, and after years of “wedding research”, I’ve put together the most extensive list I could possibly put together in a single post.
Here are my notes on where to buy the best lehengas, jewellery, and everything else South Ex is famous for. And yes, there’s a small section with my favourite menswear stores as well!
South Ex: A Wedding Shopping Guide
South Ex (in short) is divided into 2 sections – part 1 and part 2, and they’re connected via a foot bridge that’s a 2 minute walk from the main market (you could cross to the other side using an underground subway earlier, but that’s closed for now).
I have personally bought something from most of these stores, so they’re truly tried and tested!
For the best lehengas
- Frontier Raas – has a large collection suitable for a range of budgets (my SIL bought the lehenga she wore to my wedding from here)
- Roop Sarees – for reasonably priced lehengas – both, heavy as well as light. Price ranges from 30k to a lakh. This shop is an absolute favourite and highly underrated.
- Heritage – limited but exquisite collection
- Rabhya Ethic Couture – it cropped up a few years ago, and has supremely heavy bridal wear (if you’re looking for something high on the bling quotient, but honestly it’s not something I would personally wear)
For the best saris (general)
- Meena Bazaar – large variety, very popular (a couple of my trousseau saris are from here)
- Roop Sarees – they have such a large collection, sit here a while and you’re likely to find what you’re looking for
For the best silk saris
- Greenways – a large collection of contemporary style silks, suitable for the modern bride (I bought 6 silk saris from here for my trousseau!)
- Nalli – for a traditional collection of all kinds of silk material, colours and style
- Rasi Silks – they have a vast collection of silk saris
For the best Indo-western gowns
- Ritika Bhasin – a designer-wear store for the sophisticated bride
- Frontier Raas – brighter, heavier gowns
For the best designer-wear
- AZA & Anantam – two well-known multi-designer wear stores where you can find gorgeous Indian wear from the best in the business, such as Manish Malhotra & Nikasha. I suspect Anantam’s collection is curated by someone who has a very similar style aesthetic to mine, so if you like mine, you’ll definitely like their collection!
- PFDC (Pakistan Fashion Design Council) – Pakistani fashion in New Delhi! Visit if you’re looking for unique bridal wear options with a Pakistani twist.
- Ritu Kumar – this massive store has beautiful traditional lehengas and anarkalis to swoon over, and considering how many pieces are priced under INR 1 lakh, it’s worth a visit
For the best menswear
- Study by Janak – an underrated store, it covers the whole gamut of options for grooms with dapper sherwanis, kurtas, blazers and Nehru jackets (my husband’s Mata Ki Chowki kurta set was from SBJ)
- Heritage – a large variety of sherwanis, bandhgalas and kurtas can be found here. My husband’s Sangeet kurta and Wedding sherwani were from this store!
- UM Moolchand India Emporium – this one’s a budget option, but their collection of sherwanis & kurtas is great if you’re looking to keep your spending in check. The area is a bit small, so take a small group. There are 2 other similar sounding stores (Ushnak Mal Mool Chand & Ushnak Mal Madan Lall) so check the name before you step in! This one is near McDonald’s.
For the best Indian suits
- Raisons & Kalpana – for stitched and unstitched formal Indian suits
- Fab India – Fabindia now has very pretty semi-formal anarkalis these days that are perfect for festive season shopping (Diwali, rakhi, etc)
For the best unstitched fabric
- Frontier Raas – the basement level is overflowing with beautiful fabric, for blouses, suits and anarkalis. You’ll get cheaper alternatives in another market, but nothing beats sitting at Frontier comfortably and browsing through their huge fabric colletion
- Heritage – they have a small fabric section on the ground floor where I’ve seen many lust-worthy pieces. They’ll stitch it for you as well, so you don’t have to find a tailor to handle the exquisite fabric
- Raisons – On every visit, I’ve found fabric that makes my imagination run wild with suit and blouse design ideas
For the best real jewellery
- Tanishq – one of the biggest brands in the country, they have a massive store here with a variety of gold, diamond and polki jewellery to choose from (my polki Sangeet jewellery and husband’s platinum engagement ring were bought from this store)
- Tarun Jain – not many know about this store, but if you want unique pieces of jewellery, this place is a must-visit. The designer makes some exquisite sets that you won’t find anywhere else, and they’ll even custom-make a design especially for you.
- Hazoorilal Legacy – they have the prettiest polki accessories, especially matha pattis and earrings
For the best artificial jewellery
- BG’s – a big brand in Delhi, they have a huge collection of artificial everything! From kamar-bandhs to earrings, there’s nothing you won’t find here (the kamar-bandh I wore on my Sangeet was from this place)
For the best footwear
- Venus Steps – from shiny golden heels to wear with your lehenga, to flat sandals and juttis to pair with your Indian suit, they have it all
- Kala Niketan – a more sophisticated collection of footwear, they cater not only to your wedding footwear needs (with blingy heels and traditional kolhapuris) but also to your more practical ballerina shoe needs
Nearest Metro stations are Lajpat Nagar (on the Violet line) and AIIMS (on the Yellow line). You’ll have to take an auto from the station since the distance is not walk-able. If you’re driving a car, best to get a driver with you because finding a parking spot is not easy on a crowded day.
Best Time To Visit
It’s open all days of the week except Monday (only a few stores remain open). Ideal to visit during the morning hours (shops start opening 11 am onwards), especially if you plan to visit on a weekend as it gets very crowded otherwise. Most shops close by 8 pm.
If you can, go during Sale season to get the best rates.
Grab A Bite At
If you’re tired from all the shopping and need a quick bite, sit down for coffee and sandwiches at either Costa Coffee or Star Bucks. McDonald’s is also available if you’re craving burgers and fries. If you want to sample the street food Delhi’s famous for, don’t miss the sev puri bhel puri (SPBP) that they serve at a stall near McDonald’s in Part 1 (place is called Bombay Bhelpuri). It’s spicy, but quite hygienic compared to other Delhi spots. For a sit-down full course meal, head over to Moti Mahal Delux (Mughlai) or Princess Garden (Chinese) – they’re both in the same building in Part 2.
Salons to Relax At
If your feet are killing you after all that shopping, head over to Monsoon Salon for a pedicure or to the Ambika Pillai salon for a relaxing facial. Both these salons offer bridal makeup, so you can even book the very famous Ambika Pillai herself for your wedding day or get a free makeup trial at Monsoon Salon first to see if they are what you’re looking for.
I know, I know – there are many many more stores in South Ex, but these are the ones I visit regularly and recommend to someone who is shopping for his/her wedding. I have personally bought something from most of these stores, so they’re truly tried and tested!
What are your favourite stores in South Ex?
Update: This list is a bit dated, but fortunately a large part of it still holds true in 2019. There is a new store called Taneira (from the house of Tata) that seems to have some pretty good Indian wear options too. You can add it to your list of places to check out!