Press

Casa Vogue August 2015

Featured in THE ULTIMATE DIRECTORY, 64 design destinations for your home. “Established in 1924, Balaji’s Antiques & Collectibles is the city’s oldest antique store. This treasure trove holds a wealth of South Indian and temple art and artefacts like Ravi Varma lithographs. Mysore Tanjore paintings, while colonial finds like gramophones promise to enthrall you.”

Time Out Bengaluru August 2013
Buy lanes
‘There is enough to fill your shopping bag to the brim at pete, finds Asawari Ghatage.

If some of the quaint shops from the magical Diagon alley were to transpose itself somewhere in Bangalore, they would surely find a home at Balaji’s, Bangalore’s oldest antique store. Popularly known as Rare, this antique institution has been in operation since 1924. What started out as a gramophone shop, eventually turned into an antiques haven with original Ravi Varma lithographs, old antiquarian maps, colonial era bric-a-brac and original teak wood furniture. The props from Rare were used to create authentic period detailing in A Passage to India, David Lean’s 1984 English drama film. Army issue bullet boxes, Swiss made typewriters, para-trooping bicycles and spy cameras from World War II era, vintage advertisements and posters are only a few of the gems hidden in the shop. Third generation owner, Balaji DG, will gladly show you around all three floors of this store and even invite you for a cup of filter kapi while he patiently answers your excited queries about each and every artifact in the store.’

Architectural Digest May-June issue 2012
Points Of View
‘Three interior designers take us on a shopping trip to their favourite haunts.’ ‘Easily one of the most recognizable faces on the design circuit, Bengaluru-based Vinita Chaitanya is the one you want it you’re looking for an update on traditional Indian interiors...

[Interviewer] What is your go to place for all details and accessories?

[Vinita Chaitanya] There is a fabulous place on Avenue Road in the old part of Bengaluru called Rare Arts (now called Balaji’s Antiques and Collectibles). A man called Balaji is constantly in touch to source antiques for me. He deals in anything from old records to large Tanjore paintings. I’ve got some beautiful bronzes through him, and some Ravi Varma prints. He has an entire range of stuff, including vintage watches, pens and little memorabilia.’

Deccan Herald July 19th 2012
Passion For The Past
‘...In a little lane on Avenue Road, leading to the Balaji Silk Complex, is a two storeyed antique shop called Rare (now called Balaji’s Antiques and Collectibles).

Started in 1924 and passed down as a family business, it was the first shop in the State to have ever possessed gramophones.

From double sided fans that rotate 360 degrees to military trunks from the 70s, from Second World War para-dropping bicycles to biscuit vending machines, this store has it all.’

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‘Rare (now called Balaji’s Antiques & Collectibles) supplied David Lean with many of the props he needed, from old newspapers to cars, for the film ‘A Passage to India’. Balaji, who runs it, has customers, agents and collectors all over the world and will get you almost anything from Bollywood lobby cards to battle plans of Tipu Sultan.

His shop is a fossicker’s paradise full of brass, furniture, enamelware, glass, gramophones, radios and Ravi Varma prints. Balaji’s is also like a museum with someone to tell you the stories about each antique, artefact or curio. What I like best about Balaji is the pleasure he takes in the telling and in the objects themselves.’

Bangalore Bias January 12th 2007
Rare
“Nothing is rare,” Balaji, said, “if you want to find it, if you have enough desire, you will”. Balaji was the reason I first went to Avenue road. Someone told me there was a shop that had supplied David Lean with all the props he needed, from old newspapers to cars, for the film A Passage to India…

His grandfather started …Hindustan Musical Mart in 1924 (now called Balaji’s Antiques and Collectibles). It was the first place in Karnataka to sell gramophones. They later moved into typewriters and would ship them anywhere in Karnataka…Many people came to the shop, Balaji told me, Ghandi came and Vishweshvarayya came…

His grandfather began to diversify, only to supply one man, Sri.D.Veerendra Hegde, who was setting up a museum in Dharamsthala. So, the grandfather found and sold him vintage cars, gramophones, trains and aircraft. “What kind of cars?” I stupidly asked. “Rolls-Royce, Lincoln Zephyr, Daimler, Jaguar, Mercedes….” Balaji reeled down the list faster than I could write. When David Lean came, it used to be large shop with bikes hung up on the walls. Lean said he had never spent so much time in one shop.

That is the thing about Rare (Balaji’s Antiques and Collectibles); it is like a museum with someone to tell you the stories about each object. And what I like best about Balaji is the pleasure he takes in telling me and in the objects themselves. When I go, I often stay for hours, though what I buy is amongst the cheapest stuff he sells. We drink coffee and he brings out of the safe beautiful things to show me. Battle plans of Tipu Sultan, early Indian lithographs, Russian spy cameras, and once a solid silver staff with a mouse on the handle. “Judges used the staff,” he told me, “the mouse was to remind them how the mind can wander hither and thither and that they must focus.”

Balaji has customers, agents and collectors all over the world. He will get anything from Arnold Schwarzenegger lobby cards to Ravi Varma prints.'