Delhi Shopping Guide – Chandni Chowk
Chandni Chowk is a medley of shops, shoppers, vehicles, pull-carts, horses, street vendors and tourists. It is a potent mixture of old havelis (private mansions) that are heritage buildings, new constructions which are concrete monstrosities and finally new extensions to centuries-old architectural marvels. There is an onslaught on your senses by a cocktail of automobile fumes, aromas of Indian spices and perfumes, cooking oils and masalas; a cacophony of car horns, cycle rickshaw bells, hawkers’ vocal cords and blaring music and a mish-mash of electrical cables, sign boards and decorations. Whatever it is, Chandni Chowk is a one-of-its-kind market.
Chandni Chowk Market-Historical Delhi Market
Chandni Chowk means Moonlit Square. It is one of the oldest Delhi markets in the walled city of Old Delhi, which was called Shahjahanabad in the 17th century. The walled city including Lal Qila or Red Fort was established in 1650 AD by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It was designed by his daughter Jahanara Begum Sahib. Chandni Chowk is the main street that runs from the Lahore Gate of Red Fort to the Fatehpuri Masjid. Earlier a canal ran through its length and served as a waterway. The moonlight reflected in the canal waters lent an ethereal feel to the place. The canal no longer exists.
What has survived though is the theme-wise character of the markets listed below. They are all mostly whole-sale markets, but do retail business as well.
The unique bazars in Chandni Chowk
- Kinari Bazaar: Glitzy zardozi fabrics, saree borders, latticed lacework, embellishments and an entire range of products for an Indian bridal trousseau catering to all religious traditions and beliefs. (Kinari means borders )
- Katra Neel: All kinds of fabric.
- Nai Sarak: Books—fiction, academic, school, medical, stationary items and musical instruments.
- Dariba Kalan: Silver jewellery & silver artefacts
- Chhatta Chowk Bazaar: Also called Meena Bazaar, it is inside Red Fort. It is a covered bazaar for souvenirs, ranging from artificial jewellery, fake antiques, handicrafts and embroidered bags to hand-painted wall-hangings.
- Begum Samru Palace: Also known as Bhagirath Palace, is full of shops for electrical goods, medical equipment and allopathic medicines.
- Chawri Bazaar: It is linked to Chandni Chowk through Nai Sarak. It used to be a market for brass, bronze and copper products and there are some shops that still sell them. However paper products like greetings, wallpaper and wedding invitations dominate.
- Ballimaran Market: It is renowned for shoes of every kind, including Indian ethnic footwear. Shops selling glasses and shades can be found here. You can get fake Ray Ban, Fastrack, Adidas and Versace –they don’t pass it off as originals. A Ray Ban will cost you just Rs. 150!
- Khari Bhaoli: Adjacent to Fatehpuri Masjid, it has Gadodia Market on one end which is a wholesale market for Indian spices, nuts, dry fruits and herbs; Naya Bazaar is a wholesale market for food grains; and at the other end is Sadar Bazaar which sells non-branded consumer goods and toys.
- Flea Market near Jama Masjid and behind Red Fort is on Sundays.
Cycle rickshaws in Chandni Chowk Market
If you are a tourist, the Delhi shopping experience is incomplete without visiting Chandni Chowk market. Hence, take a cycle rickshaw & go around the Chandni Chowk Shopping Market.
Chandni Chowk is a fairly cheap place to go shopping in Delhi.
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