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A day well spent at Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi

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A Day Well Spent at Chandni Chowk, Purani Dilli

Homework well done

Part of Mughal emperor’s Shah Jahan’s capital Shahajanabad, the old part of Delhi, now popularly called Purani Dilli, is deeply entrenched in heritage, culture, chaos, commotion and dotted with various mesmerizing sights. The crowded by-lanes reek of history, which is what the charm of the area is all about. And the crown of Purani Dilliis the boisterous and legendary Chandni Chowk, reminiscent of an era gone by, yet so famous and teeming with people all the time.

Having read so much about this place and wanting to experience the charming place myself, I decided to spend a day in Chandni Chowk.

How I reached

I have heard people say that reaching Chandni Chowk earlier was a nightmare. But the metro connectivity has made the old city easily accessible. I too boarded the Delhi Metro for a comfortable ride. As I alighted from the station right into Chandni Chowk, the buzz and liveliness of the place both shocked and enchanted me at the same time! From here on, I began to explore everything I had mentally noted down in a quick checklist in preparations for today. I was capable of walking throughout the market, but could not resist the thrills of a rickshaw ride, amidst close and tight jammed up vehicles on the road.

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Religious tolerance in complete harmony

What I found remarkable is that the marketplace has been here for three centuries and all possible faiths co-exist in this small area in total harmony. This is clear with the presence of the 16th century Digambara Jain Temple, next to the Hindu Gauri Shankar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Up ahead there is the Svetambra Jain Temple, also the famed Sunheri Masjid, a mosque. The other end of the street is flanked by the holy Sikh Sisganj Gurudwara! Mini secular India, exemplary for the entire nation, don’t you agree? And one can walk into any of these religious and revered premises without inhibition, regardless of one’s faith.

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Shoppers haven

I found myself gazing with marvel at the varied bazaars, each one a theme market.  The Dariba Kalan Road is a haven for exquisite craftsmen who have been creating wonderful jewelry for generations. The Kinari Bazaar is colorful and is dedicated to the Indian wedding extravaganza, the bridal embellishments and zari outfits being the most coveted! The cloth bazaar of the Katra Neel beckoned me with the finest of linen. The Bhagirath Palace showed glittering lampshades, electrical lights and modern medical equipment. It is also the wholesale centre for allopathic machines. Perfect example of old traditional wares adapting well to the modern wonders.

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The best part that I liked was that the streets were full of tourists jostling for space with shoppers. Also dealing in bulk buying were traders from all over India, the northern part in particular. I was then told that Chandni Chowk is a hub for wholesale prices and many merchants operating in NCR and across the country come here to get bulk stocks. Interesting!

Tempting Eateries

Chandni Chowk is a gastronomical delight, with enticing smells of delicious foods tempting you from every nook and corner. I had gone empty stomach to be able to relish as many as possible of these culinary treats! I started out with the famousParanthe Wali Gali, where desi-ghee parathas of every imaginable stuffing are served with sumptuous accompaniments! Too heavy, but oh so tantalizing! And the malai lassiwas simply irresistible!

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Then to satisfying my sweet tooth, I headed to the Jalebiwala. I really wonder how they manage to make such heavenly jalebis? Is it syrup or pure nectar that runs through the twisted veins of the jalebis?

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After walking around a bit, I felt that my stomach may be able to accommodate just a teeny weeny more. So off I headed to the reputed Natraj’s Dahi Bhalle counter, established in 1940.  The dish was the best ever, tangy and digestive, with the softest of bhallas served with delicious tamarind chutney! The rush at this famous eatery was unimaginable . The staff was smiling and courteous, quite oblivious to and seemingly unperturbed by the awaiting frenzied crowd!

Took a bite of the rabri-falooda at Gianiji Ka Falooda and got some sinful sweets packed from Ghantewala Halwai and some namkeens from Kanwarji Bhagirathmal Dalbhajiwallah, having being too full by now! So much for the gastronomic adventures! Chandni Chowk lived up to its reputation to the hilt! And the rates are so reasonable!

A promise…

One day is surely not enough to enjoy the wonderful and enchanting Chandni Chowk. I did manage to get a small glimpse of it in one day. As I walked in the narrow alleys, I felt myself deported back in time and I could imagine the people living there decades and perhaps centuries ago. The perfect way to enjoy heritage at its best!

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Author: A Lifeime Trip ...Creating colorful memories

We, A Lifetime Trip is a team of young minds. A no-frill company, providing the best of travel consultancy services across the industry at most reasonable prices. We deal in both Domestic and International tours. We specialize in bringing you inline with the real India – traditions, rituals, beauty, heritage, festivals, adventures, wild life, carnivals and many more different facets of our country. We work for you in a way that when you are back home, you cherish each moment of the trip making it A LIFETIME TRIP. Also Visit us at www.alifetimetrip.com

2 thoughts on “A day well spent at Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi

  1. so many parathas and me not there to eat…:P….!!!

  2. Chandni Chowk is awesome for its eateries. Wah, all the goodies come to mind.

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