Chandni Chowk, located in the heart of Old Delhi is one of the busiest markets in India. It is the shopping paradise for the end users, retailers and wholesalers. Established back in the 17th century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his daughter Jahan Ara, Chandni Chowk runs through the middle of the walled city. The legacy and charm of Old Delhi is visible in the market’s narrow streets, small shops, houses built decades ago, and, of course, the food.
Where to shop:
Dariba Kalan: Dariba is a popular jewelry market for both silver and gold. It houses many popular, decades-old jewelry shops. Apart from jewelry, it is also a one-stop-shop for customized mementos, shields and trophies.
Kinari Bazaar: This market is a center for gota, kinari and laces. A wide variety of Zardozi products, including embroidered patches, latkans, threads, beads, etc, used for designing Indian wear is readily available in this market.
Nai Sarak: Sprawling with suppliers of school, college, and competitive exam books, Nai Sarak is house to the rarest of books. Stationery and paper-related products are also available here. Besides books, Nai Sarak is also a favorite shopping destination for budget brides as the market has a large number of shops selling bridal sarees and lehengas.
Chor Bazaar: Though the literal translation is the ‘thieves’ market’, it is a center for many products from clothes to electronics. The products here are priced much lower when compared to other retail markets but no quality guarantee is offered.
Besides these there are many more markets like Bhagirath Palace for medical equipment; Krishna Market, Neel Ka Katra and Moti Bazaar for wholesale suits, sarees and lehengas; Tilak Bazaar for industrial chemicals; and Maliwara for gems and diamonds.
What to eat:
Chandni Chowk is sure to offer a lip-smacking feast to visitors. This Old Delhi area is home to several age-old food joints, passed on through several generations.
The Paranthewali Gali: Known for their scrumptious stuffed paranthas, the shops here are as old as Chandni Chowk itself.
Natraj Dahi Bhalle: Established in 1940, it specializes in the famous Indian street food, dahi bhalle.
The Jalebi Wala: Known for their pure desi ghee jalebis, this shop has attracted both local and outstation visitors.
Gianiji ka Falooda: This brand, now popular across Delhi first opened in Chandni Chowk decades ago. This branch is famous for best rabri falooda across the city.
Gauri Shankar Temple: As the name suggests, this is a famous Gauri and Shankar Temple built by a Maratha general 800 years ago. The temple houses a brown Lingam encased in a marble representation of a female organ. The Lingam is surrounded by snakes made up of silver and represents a cosmic pillar, the center of universe or life.
Jama Masjid: The most famous mosque in Delhi and one of the largest in India was built in the 17th century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656. The cost of building the mosque back then was 1 million rupees. The mosque has three great gates, four towers and two 40 m high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble. The courtyard can accommodate more than 25,000 people.