It is listed in every travel brochure. Every time a celebrity visits, she never leaves without a pilgrimage to the ultimate destination in dirt cheap street fashion — Sarojini Nagar.

From runway looks to high-street merchandise available here, starlets, fashion designers, college students, hard-working professionals and women of leisure know one thing — everything here is defined by just one rule — inside Rs.500.

On Saturday afternoon, at about 1 p.m. when the sun seems especially strong, the lanes and by-lanes that define the market are bustling and being elbowed is something you get used to after a while.

“Every time I come here, I am surprised by the labels I find — Armani, Zara, Calvin Klein. You want tank tops, dresses and skirts, Sarojini is your best bet. And you get it only for Rs.300 or Rs.400. Variety and budget shopping together,” says travel writer Geethika Sachdev, who has been shopping in many cities but swears by this market.

“It is a great hotspot for anything rasta funky,” says Laxmi, who loves fashion magazines and keeps up with the latest merchandise that hits the city’s malls and flea markets.

The shopkeepers say products are export surplus and the labels are authentic. Whether you want to believe this or not is left up to you, they also add, while you are trying to drive a hard bargain.

Fashion student Anupam says that she comes here very often and that there are very simple rules that one must follow while shopping here.

“It is very easy to get carried away by the low prices and you end up spending too much on things you do not really like. You wouldn’t buy something in a showroom unless you really like it.”

All regular shoppers had some advice that sprung from years of experience.

First of all, withdraw enough money before you get here because all ATMs will have long queues.

Carry a decent sized bag to stuff your shopping, because carrying tiny plastic covers can be quite a task. You also get to go green this way.

Always drive a bargain and never ask for the price. “You name the price and walk away if the vendor does not agree. Nine of 10 times the man will follow you and give you what you asked for. Otherwise, you will find it somewhere else in the market for the price that you want,” said a regular.

And, last but the most important rule is to not get carried away. After all, nobody wants to accumulate trash in their wardrobes, no matter how cheap they get it for.

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