In our last feature on iconic music stores in Delhi, the stores in and around Daryaganj and Old Delhi had been conspicuously left out and for a reason. We felt that in the most ancient parts of the capital lie some of the best musical instruments stores that deserve a separate feature altogether. Run by families who are equally passionate about their music as is their clientele, these stores have, in the past enjoyed the patronage of some of the most distinguished musicians including Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Ustad Asad Ali Khan, Ghulam Ali, Begum Akhtar and Pandit Birju Maharaj. These stores are known across the world for the quality of their Indian classical instruments. Read about them here!
R.N. Bhargava & Company
The company was established in 1938 by music enthusiast R.N Bhargava and was intended at manufacturing Indian classical instruments. His son, T P Bhargava used this platform to scale up the business and began retailing Indian and Western musical instruments from the showroom that he opened in Daryaganj. Today, the company (now called RNB Music Pvt. Ltd.) is tied up with more than 100 international brands from the well-known to the lesser known. They have a virtual store on which you can browse through all of their stock to locate what you’re looking for before you actually head there to pick it up (assuming you want to try it out before you buy it. In case you don’t, they ship across the world).
Bina Musical Stores
Known across the country for the quality of its handcrafted and customized harmoniums, Bina Enterprises was set up in 1935 by Sardar Gian Singh and is now run by the third generation of the family. They manufacture almost all other Indian classical instruments as well but it is their harmoniums that have earned them acclaim world over, patronized by greats such as Ghulam Ali and Ustad Asad Ali Khan. The main branch is in Nai Sarak with the Daryaganj being one of the only two other branches that they have (the other one is in Lajpat Nagar).
Lahore Music House
It is well known that the Beatles, when they came to Delhi in 1966 visited Rikhiram Music Co. in Connaught Place. “However”, claims, owner Jaspal Singh Sachdeva, “very few people are aware of the fact that Beatles also visited Lahore Music House looking for harmoniums”. With a history of more than 110 years, the original store used to be in Anarkali Market of Lahore before the partition after which they moved to their current location in Daryaganj. With a major chunk of their business coming through exports, Jaspal Singh proudly proclaims how Lahori qawwals still swear by trademark Lahore Flute harmoniums.
New Modern Musical Shop
Having been frequented by Pandit Birju Maharaj, Ustaad Shaad Khan and Ram Narayan Sarangiwaali in the times gone by, this shop (formerly just Modern Musical Shop) used to be located behind Jama Masjid and then in Gaffar Market. The current store is in Dariba Kalan which is not too far away from Daryaganj. Go here for the string instruments, especially sitars that they make from only the best teak available.
Delhi Musical Stores
Owned by Inni Singh who is a trained musician now having ventured into professional Dance Photography. He is as passionate about digital photography as he is about his music, with which he stays in touch through Delhi Musical Stores (established in 1970), interacting with upcoming musicians of Delhi who head to his shop for a variety of options in Indian classical instruments. The store is in the process of moving to Lajpat Nagar.
Other stores in and around Daryaganj and Old Delhi that deserve a mention here are Biba Music Emporium, Sunny Musical Emporium, Chopra Musical Gallery, Shan Musical Instrument and Rattiram Music Shop.