Chandni Chowk, originally meaning the ‘Moonlight Square’, is a mesmerising concoction of the 17th and the 21st century. It was constructed by Begum Jahanara, one of the beloved daughters of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, so she could shop for that she wanted. It soon became the genesis of trade and commerce. The USP of this bazaar is that the lanes or ‘galis’ are named after the type of commodities retailed, like the ‘Jewellery lane’ retails jewellery or the ‘Paranthe Wali Gali’ sells stuffed paranthas (chapatis), similarly there are the ‘namkeenwalahs’. Such is the awe of Chandni Chowk, that as soon as you enter, you feel like it is a whole new world waiting to be discovered (especially if you happen to come from the city of malls).
So if you are looking for a perfect gourmet destination, what better place then Chandni Chowk! This place has so much to offer ranging from 24-25 delectable varieties of paranthas made from cashew, almond, banana and what not, to ‘jalebis’ and ‘chaats’ that fulfil your bon-appetite! The market not only houses the best eateries, but also the oldest, like Pt. Gaya Prasad Charan (1872), Ghantewala Halwai (1790), even the original Haldirams and Bikanerwala reside here.
Even though Chandni Chowk appears chock a block with congestion it still retains its historical aroma. Starting from the Red Fort, the streets have Lal Jain Mandir, the oldest Jain temple in Delhi, and walking in the footsteps of Lord Mahavira, the epitome of Ahimsa (non-violence), there is a bird hospital, where the sick and injured birds are treated from across the nation. The other religious centres are Gurudwara Shishganj, and Gauri Shankar temple. Chandni Chowk is also lined with ‘havelis’ (mansions) of some of the renowned personalities like - Haksar Haveli, where Pt. Nehru married Kamala Nehru, and Haveli Naharwali, the birthplace of Parwez Musharraf, the former president of Pakistan.
Flooded with a variety of clothes with works of Chikan and Zari, perfumes, Kundan and Meenakari jewelleries, silverware and spices, Chandni Chowk is every shoppers’ stop! One should shop from markets like - Dariba Kalan, Kinari Bazaar, Khari Baoli, and for all the camera lovers, Chandni Chowk happens to be an icing on the cake, as it is Asia’s biggest camera market. The hustle and bustle brings with itself the serene sun-set of Chandni Chowk, and yet again it’s time to sip through the glass of the Malai Wali Lassi!