Benjamuna's Blog

Stories…. with a touch of India….

Paper at Jor Bagh Market February 2, 2014

– It’s only people like you, tourists, who come here. The owner of the small paper shop at Jor Bagh market in Delhi both looked and sounded defeated. – Well there are some foreigners in the area, they also come to shop here.
But it shone through, clients were not in abundance.

I almost missed it, the Four Seasons Gallery, as I was looking for the rather more famous JorBagh bookshop. I was walking through the arcade when I by chance spotted handmade paper in the corner of my eye, something that I rarely miss. I had never thought of finding a shop like this among the line of rather prosaic shops.

Jorbagh paper_1

Beautiful stars and wrapping paper….

The Four Seasons Gallery, it’s tiny but colourful although a bit modest from the outside. The walls were lined with paper and paper products of all sorts. For a paper maniac, the shop was a small gem and I instinctly thought of my luggage (space being a key word…). As Christmas was only two months away, the many beautiful stars dominated the shelves.  Along with cards, note books, wrapping paper, albums, writing paper – everything in awesome colurs and patterns; from the beautifully ornamented elephants to more modern varieties.

Jorbagh paper_3

This handmade paper doesn’t crease in you suitcase. It almost behaves like fabric.

Sadly, paper is losing terrain these days. Although it might have happened once or twice, I never send birthday or Christmas wishes by SMS. I cannot think of anything more impersonal. I look upon it as an easy way out, but I realize I’m getting old fashioned. But people always say they treasure getting letters and cards sent by “snail mail”, and I will keep sending them so that I can come back to Jor Bagh and re-stock my own shelves.

Jorbagh paper_4


Jorbagh paper_5

Sadly, people prefer their smartphones to these notebooks…

If you should happen to be in Delhi, or in the area, the address is 13/4 Jor Bagh Market. It’s worth stopping by!









Chimanlals April 7, 2011

Filed under: INDIA — benjamuna @ 5:58 pm
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Every second time I go to Mumbai I visit Chimanlals, the paper store. The very first time together with my friend Joan, and I thought we would never get there. The taxi was criss-crossing the area and we even phoned the shop to get directions. Little did I know at that time, that I could have walked from my hotel in Colaba. Because Chimanlals can be found in the Fort area, just off one of the big streets; Dr. D. N. Road. But I hardly knew Fort then. Now it’s a favourite.

If you’re interested in paper, Chimanlals fulfills all your dreams…. The store has been around for many years. Though formally incorporated as a Private Limited Company in 1974 it started their designs and manufacturing in the late fifties. We are of course talking about hand made paper, and the designs reflect to a great extent Indian art and culture. At the same time, I use many of the cards for Christmas. Chimanlals are exporting to many European countries as well as the USA.

India = colours….

The shop is quite small, and yes – you would have to know where it is because neither the door nor the sign is very flashy – and there are no other shopfronts are around. There are two rooms. The first room has loads of writing paper and cards on display as well as the cashier; a long desk with two people; one man – I’m not really sure of what kind of role he plays – and a woman who does the work… namely count your purchases and make up the bill.

The second room is filled to the brink. Here we have cards, gift covers, gift wrappers, gift tags, bags, boxes, collapsible baskets, desk organisers, note books…. It’s quite incredibe, really. Most designs are absolutely lovely. Cards are mostly solds in packets of five, and the cards then come in five different colours. Very often the print is in “gold” and what is more suitable for say a Christmas card than a red card with gold ornaments!

Take your pick….

The atmosphere is very calm, people wander around with their little trays where they collect one or many items… To say it’s cheap is an understatement. For a Norwegian wallet this is more or less free! Thus soooo tempting!

After my third visited I realised that Chimanlas doesn’t really come up with new designs too often. As a matter of fact, this time I didn’t find anything new at all. But it was worth the visit, because now I have Christmas cards, tags and wrappings for the coming Christmas.

Chimanlals can be found in A-2 Taj Building in Wallace street.

I visited Chimanlals on a very hot day. I had taken a cab from a shopping mall in Worli, and I had to give the driver all the landmarks given in my guide book. And with the help of many helping Mumbaikars, we eventually reached there – but! the door was closed. …. A young woman outside the shop said; well it IS 31 March today – as if there should ring a million bells in my head. – Taking stock day, she fortunately added. – But we will open at 2 pm. I felt a surge of relief, but realised I had almost two hours to spend in Fort on a very very hot day. But in Mumbai somethings always pops up. I found a brand new bookstore almost just around the corner, with a lovely little cafe. But that’s another story.