Chandni Chowk: A Virtual Tour Of The Old Delhi Charm
Chandni Chowk, one of the busiest shopping centres in India, is located in the heart of Old Delhi. A shopping paradise for both individual buyers and local retailers, the market is a hub of wholesale trade. So, if you want to buy a product in bulk and at best market price, Chandni Chowk is the place to visit.
Established in the 17th century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his daughter Jahan Ara, Chandni Chowk runs through the middle of the walled city. This commercial hub still holds the legacy and charm of Old Delhi which is visible in its narrow streets, small shops, houses built decades ago, and, of course, the food.
MakaanIQ takes you on a virtual tour of this popular destination.
Go on a shopping spree
Chandni Chowk has many small markets, each specialising in one or more product categories. Some of the must-visit markets here are:
- Dariba Kalan: Dariba is known for its market for jewellery, both silver and gold. It houses many popular, decades-old jewellery shops. Apart from jewellery, it is also a one-stop-shop for customised mementos, shields and trophies.
- Kinari Bazaar: As the name suggests, this market is a centre for gota, kinari and laces. A wide variety of Zardosi products, including embroidered patches, latkans, threads, beads, etc, used for designing Indian wear are readily available in this market.
- Nai Sarak: A popular destination for books, Nai Sarak has plenty of suppliers of school, college and competitive exam books. You could in fact find the rarest of books here. Stationery and paper-related products are also available here. Besides books, Nai Sarak is also a favourite shopping destination for brides-to-be, as the market has a large number of shops selling bridal sarees and lehngas.
- Cloth Market: Known for a wide variety of handloom and home furnishing fabrics, the market also sells readymade and designer pieces for upholstery and dressing.
- Cycle Market: As the name suggests, the market is a one-stop destination for all kinds of bicycles.
- Lal Kuan: A popular wholesale market for hardware and kitchen equipment.
- Khari Baoli: One of the largest wholesale grocery markets in Asia, Khari Baoli has all kinds of spices, pulses, dry fruits and other grocery products, all at prices lower than other markets.
- Ballimaran: Ballimaran, also popular for housing the erstwhile abode of the famous Urdu poet, Mirza Ghalib, has many shops selling shoes, especially juttis and mojaris, besides opticals and bangles.
- Chor Bazaar: The 'thieves' market' by literal translation into English, this market is a centre for many products -- from clothes to electronics. The rates are much lower when compared with other retail markets, though the quality is not guaranteed.
There are many more markets in Chandni Chowk, including Bhagirath Palace for medical equipment; Krishna Market, Neel Ka Katra and Moti Bazaar for wholesale suits, sarees and lehngas; Tilak Bazaar for industrial chemicals; and Maliwara for gems and diamonds.
Apart from a shopping destination, Chandni Chowk also offers a gastronomic feast to visitors. This Old Delhi area is home to several age-old food joints, run by generations of sellers.
- The Paranthewali Gali: Known for their lip-smacking paranthas, the shops here are as old as Chandni Chowk itself. How about some karela or a rabri?
- Natraj Dahi Bhalle: Established in 1940, it specialises in dahi bhalle.
- The Jalebi Wala: Known for pure desi ghee jalebis, this shop has visitors coming from far-off areas in the city.
- Chaatwallah: Established in 1923, the store specialises in fruit chaat.
- Gianiji ka Falooda: This brand, now popular across Delhi for its chain of outlets, was first opened in Chandni Chowk decades ago. But, if you want to have the best rabri falooda, this is the branch you should visit.
- Chainaram, Meghraj and Sons, and Kanwarji Bhagirathmal Dalibijiwallah: This is one of the most favourite and popular shops in Chandni Chowk for someone with a sweet tooth. Their sweet preparations are not only famous in Delhi but all across India.
- Tewari Brothers Confectioners: Established in 1987, this store is now popular for its motichoor ladoos and samosas.
- Annapurna Bhandar: Established in 1929, this store is known for Bengali sweets, especially its pink rasogollas.
Places for worship
Beside shopping and food, Chandni Chowk is also a centre for some of the oldest religious spots in Delhi:
- Gauri Shankar Temple: Built in 1761 by Appa Gangadhar, a Maratha general.
- Jama Masjid: The most famous mosque in Delhi and one of the largest in India was built in the 17th century.
- Fatehpur Masjid and Sunheri Masjid: The two renowned mosques are also located in Chandni Chowk.
- Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib: This is a memorial of the 9th Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, and his followers.
- Central Baptist Church: Established in 1814, it is also known as Mother Church.
- Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir: Also known for a veterinary (birds) hospital that it houses, it was set up in 1656.