Chandni Chowk – The Jewel Of Old Delhi Part-2

After the visit to the Gurdwara , all of us full of energy were now ready for roaming around in the conjested market of Chandni Chowk. Chandni Chowk or the Moonlit Square is one of the oldest and the busiest markets of Delhi.It is One of the most prominent wholesale and retail markets of India, Chandni Chowk is more than 300 years old. It is one of the narrowest, busiest and most prosperous trading centers of Delhi, dealing in iron and hardware, paper, utensils of brass, copper and stainless steel. One can visit seven major Hindu and Jain temples, two Churches, three Mosques and two Gurudwaras in the area. These places of worship include Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, Jama Masjid, Gurudwara Shish Ganj, Gauri Shankar temple and Sunahari Masjid.
It lies in the walled city of Old Delhi, which was originally called Shah Jahanabad. The walled city includes the Lal Qilla Red Fort which was established in 1650 AD, by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan and designed by his daughter Jahanara Begum Sahib.


View of Red fort from Chandni Chowk.

Chandni Chowk runs through the middle of the walled city, from the Lahori Darwaza (Lahore Gate) of the Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid.It had been divided into 3 parts –
1.Lahori darwaza to Chowk Kotwali (near Gurdwara Shish Ganj): This section closest to the imperial residence, was called Urdu Bazar.
2.Chowk Kotwali to ‘Chandni Chowk – It was replaced by a clock-tower (Ghantaghar).This section was originally called Johri Bazar.
3.’Chandni Chowk’ to Fatehpuri Masjid: This was called the Fatehpuri Bazar.
On both sides of the Chandni Chowk streets are historical residential areas served by narrow lanes (galis).

Chandni Chowk is famous for the typical Indian food and the delicacies. It is also famous for sarees with Chikan and Zari work. It also has many shops selling books, clothing, shoes and leather goods, electronic and consumer goods. Describing Chandni Chowk and not telling about the Food joint is truly incomplete. This market has everything to get your taste buds activated.

Our first stop was at Natraj’s Dahi Bhalle Shop. This shop is from 1940 and is just in a galli which links from The Metro Station to the main Chandni Chowk Market. No place to sit but fully crowded with standing people. And the Dahi Bhalla Plate is simply mouth watering and very tasty.

Our second stop was at Haldirams. Actually we went there after visiting the Gurdwara. After eating Raj Kachori there we went further.

Our third stop was at the Jalebi Wala. This shop is also very old . Its desi ghee Jalebis is awesome. The weight of single jalebi of this shop is around 400 gm. Big jalebis but really tasty.

By this time we were full now but the other food joints include-
1.The famous Ghantewala Halwai. It was established around 1790.
2.Giani’s Kulfi and Falooda Shop. It was established around 1947.
3. Meghraj Halwai established around 1950.
4. Chainaram Halwai established around 1948.
5.The Chaatwallah established around 1923.
6. Karim’s Hotel – In the Jama Masjid. Famous for its non – vegetarian food. It is located in the gali called as Gali Kabaian.
7. Last but not the least The Paranthe Wali Gali. This Gali was established around 1850. It has now more than 40 types of paranthas. The filling includes – Kaju, Badam, Matar, Mix Paranthas, rabri , khurchan paranthas. This time we did not have the time to visit Paranthe Wali Gali. However, I have visited it before.

After this food parade , now it was time for shopping. First we went to Katra Shahenshai. It is the Gents cloth market where we bought some Gents cloth pieces. Then we went to the Krishna Market which is the ladies suit market to buy some ladies suits.


Esplanade Road

On one side of the Esplanade Road is the Camera Market and on the other side of it is the Cycle Market.
Then comes the Dariba Kalan. In the above pic of Jalebi Wala that gali is called as the Dariba Kalan.After crossing the Esplanade Road, a left turn just before Gurdwara Sisganj takes to the ‘Street of the Incomparable Pearl’, Dariba Kalan .The street derives its name from the Persian ‘Dur-e be-baha’, meaning ‘pearl without compare’ because since the period of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the street used to be the popular market of precious stones, gems, gold and silver jewelry. Till today it is known as jewelers’ street.


Another main place is the Fountain Chowk or the Fuwara Chowk. It is located just opposite Gurdwara Sisganj . It has a Victorian-period fountain, which was earlier called as Northbrook Fountain because Lord Northbrook donated money for its construction.It is also known as Bhai Mati Das Chowk or ‘fowara’ (meaning fountain).


Another view of Fountain Chowk.

Another place in the Chandni Chowk are is the Kinari Bazaar which has all shops selling bright and colourful Kinaris and Gotas. The next place is the Bhagirath Palace Market which is the whole market for the Electrical and Electronic appliances. Then comes the Nai Sarak which is the Books Market with shops selling books of literally all authors. Then there is other place called the Ballimaran. This is the place where old Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib once lived. This gali is called as Gali Qasim Jaan where the Haveli is there where Mirza Ghalib once lived. Earlier it was a whole Haveli but now it is reduced to a small remnant and is now protected by the Archeological Survey Of India.

By this time it was late evening. Having explored Chandni Chowk in and out we were ready to go back home. We again took the Metro and reached back home at 9 pm. After visiting it everytime , I really feel that it completely gives the look of our Old India with conjested streets, Street Food Joints and shopping of literally everything which one can think.

Thanks for reading :-)

17 Comments

  • Sahil,

    Your post reminded me of my visits to CC. Yummy bhalla papri and tikki from Natraj’s Dahi Bhalla shop(standing in long queues in that narrowest lane ), paranthe wali galli(parantha are too much oily though). It must have been a mouth watering experience.

    Shopping in CC is an adventurous experience in itself too. Have been mostly to Krishna market and neel katra. Though shopping there in summers or monsoons is not that good option.

    And one must avoid taking four wheeler there else you might get struck. Metro is the best option to reach.

    Sahil, Is there any cleaning drive going on there for Common wealth?

    Thanks for sharing. I get to see alot other options to eat out there from your post :-)

    ~Vaishali

    • Sahil says:

      Hi Vaishali ,
      Thanks a lot for the appreciation. Yes you are right driving my car there earlier was a nightmare but metro changed it all.
      No cleaning drive is going on. It was on paper but you know about our govt. CC is almost same like earlier.

      Sahil

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Dear Sahil,

    Thanks for refreshing the old memories. Long back when I was in college I use to go to New Sarak for Books that time I use to go to Paranthe wali gali for Lunch. Couple of times, I also tried Desi ghee ki Jalebi & sweets from Ghantewala Halwai.

    • Sahil says:

      Thank you Mr. Mahesh. Even I used to buy my colg books from Nai Sarak. And Ghantewala Halwai is simply marvellous.

      Sahil

  • travellers says:

    Hi Sahil,

    A crisp and interesting write-up on Chandni Chowk. Raj Kachori, jalebi and paranthas (PW Gali) are all-time favorites.

    I though miss you missing on Karim’s (an equitable culinary experience), and Ballimaran (Gali Qasim of Ghalib fame), which surely will be averred by Mr Ram Dhall, if he reads this.

    Keep telling us more about your journeys, in the same spirit.

    Auro.

    • Sahil says:

      Hi Mr. Aurojit ,

      Thanks for reminding me about these places , though I had to update the post today night and add few more places like – Nai Sarak , Bhagirath Palace , Kinari Bazaar , Ballimaran , Esplanade Road . Now I have updated the post.

      Sahil

  • Roopesh says:

    Hi Sahil,

    Really very nice post. Your knowledge of the area is impeccable. I used to live in South Delhi and visited CC and adjoining areas due to some work or passing by but never really enjoyed it leisurely. I have it in my todo list to come to Delhi sometime in autumn or spring when temperature is mild and walk around entire area visiting all the historical locations and eateries. I will take your post as reference.

  • Sahil says:

    Thanks a lot Mr. Roopesh. I will be really glad if my post will be helpful for you in any ways.

    Sahil

  • Kartik says:

    Very good information about Chandni Chowk. Its been a few yrs that i visited CC. However in my next visit to Delhi I will surely visit it. You increased my interest.

  • nandanjha says:

    Very good info log. It would definitely act as a guide to anyone wanting to visit Chandni Chowk.

    the ask for writing a log on Ghalib’s place is already placed with Ram :-) Its not converted into a museum, in a very bad shape it is now.

  • Dear Sahil Sethi,

    I just read your two posts and really feel good. very nice writing. When ever visit to Gurudwara Sahib please go for Karah Parshad, When I was there at Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib anyone can receive it for Rs. 1.25 or more, but Karah Parshad remain same quantity at any amount, after Ardas Bhai will return half Karah Parshad to devotee. When devotee taste this Karah Parshad he can not forget its taste whole life.

    Thanks and Regards

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  • Charu says:

    Hello Sahil,
    Thanks for the informative post. By any chance would you know the go to shop @ Krishna Market for Ladies designer wear.
    Cheers
    Charu

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