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.
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 :-)