We owe much of our city’s cultural flavour to the contribution made by South Asians who have settled in Surrey over the last several decades. Surrey’s South Asian influence is evident, from the scores of Sikh and Hindu temples to the plethora of Tandoori restaurants and shop windows showcasing rainbows of saris.
The popular Payal Plaza in The Punjabi Market, spans four big city blocks and features the largest selection of Indian shopping in the entire province! But don't expect a traditional market. The Payal Plaza is a maze-like strip mall that’s easy (and quite fun) to get lost in.
Whether you’re looking to find a bargain, uncover hidden treasures, satiate your hunger or just soak in the atmosphere, The Payal Plaza is a must-see. The district is developing quite the global reputation.
The Payal Plaza is brimming with family-run bridal stores, hair salons and boutiques, many offering dazzling jewelry displays and rack upon rack of colourful garments to rifle through. Even if there isn’t any money burning a hole in your pocket, a tour through the many shops is a truly vibrant experience.
The Bride and Groom Shop is a feast for the eyes with an abundance of garlands that hang from the ceiling and drape down towards the floor. The visually stimulating jewelry section in High Heel Obsession is arranged by colour. It’s a pleasing prism of earrings, sparkling bracelets and other adornment.
If you’ve never been up-close and personal with a handcrafted sari, then this alone will be worth the visit to The Punjabi Market area. Each sari is a unique piece of art, woven by hand on traditional looms. The attention and care that’s poured into each garment is palpable. Depending on the type of sari, even the thread is prepared meticulously, undergoing a manual dying process that can take days. Fabrics like chiffon, georgette, linen and tussar are fused together, and heavy with the weight of plentiful, yet intricately delicate hand-embroidery. As you gently handle each sari, keep in mind that it can take anywhere from four to eight weeks to complete just one!
The Payal Plaza is also home to a number of grand Banquet Halls. Many of them go unnoticed as they are hidden, tucked away on the second floor of the plaza. But once inside it’s like entering another world, with lavish decorations to suit whatever occasion is being celebrated.
Of course, whether your day is occupied with spending or just window-shopping, one thing that you will need to do is eat! There are enough authentic Indian restaurants to keep you dining for a month. Tasty places to grab a bite include Basant Sweets & Dosa House, Maharaja Restaurant, Manohar Vegetarian Bakery and Maitri Bhavan. If you’re visiting on a Sunday then be sure to indulge in the buffet at Lahori Sweets & Restaurant.
A visit to Surrey’s Punjabi Market promises to be a rich and immersive cultural adventure. In fact, you just might want to return the next day.