Hi everyone, welcome back to another one of my weekly blogs.😀
Let me take you through an exciting tour of Dilwaalo ki Dilli.❤️
Delhi has been ruled by mighty empires and powerful kingdoms, and has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. This is the reason for the capital’s diverse culture and history.
Today we are going to take a trip to Old Delhi, where the architecture has plenty of charisma.✨
While there are so many landmarks to stroll in Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk is the iconic one you can not miss.😍
For those who do not know, during the Mughal Empire, traders from all around the country used to gather in Chandni Chowk. It is the oldest and busiest market located in central North Delhi.
Initially it was shaped as a square, at the centre of which there was a pool that shimmered in the moonlight🌛 (which is what the market is named after).
For me the real beauty of the place truly lies in the tapered lanes, the congested surroundings. I would not be able to enjoy Chandni Chowk otherwise.🛣👀
What do you recognise this place for?🤔
For the inexpensive wedding attires?👗
Well you are not wrong there! It is actually believed to be the largest wholesale market in Asia.🥵
Other than this, Chandni Chowk is known for it’s famous touristy spots:🧢🕶
Within Chandni Chowk’s main street are four different religious buildings in a 2-3 km span i.e. a Jain Mandir, a Gurudwara-Sis Ganj Sahib (the martyrdom site of the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur), a Church (the most ancient Church in Delhi, Central Baptist Church) and a Masjid- Jama Masjid (symbol of Mughal sovereignty in India)- and the Red Fort.
Old Delhi was truly intermingled with diverse cultures at one point.😍
But if you intend to really experience the vibe of the place, it lies in the by-lanes, the colourful bazaars🌈, street side shops🛍 and 🥘 , which is going to make you fall in love with it!
Nothing in Delhi begins without FOOD.
Let us start off this tour with some famous delicacies you can not miss in Chandni Chowk:🍯🍞🫓
Paranthe Wali Gali🫓
The legendary lane offers an experience of its own kind. While some find it overrated, I simply enjoy the delectable, greasy varieties of paranthas to choose from. You can expect all kinds of fillings and maybe even more.
Happens to be the relocated to Delhi in the bloody aftermath of Partition (click here), it is one of the most famous Sindhi confectioners of Delhi.
It is the most famous for its Karachi Halwa🤤. And if you reach early enough you can get your hands on the famous Ghewar (without having to wait in long queues🙊).
Daulat ki chaat
The name might confuse you, but it’s actually a dessert that can warm-up-your -heart. The special chaat uses milk as the main ingredient. It is actually available only during the winter season ( November, December, and January).💛
Annapurna sweet shop
Right opposite the Sis Ganj Gurudwara it is the best place to find Bengali sweets of all types; fresh and heavenly!😍🤤
Other than these you can’t miss Giani ke Chole Bhature with Lassi, Natraj ke Bhalle, the famous khasta kachori and Rabri Lassi.
This is enough food for calories worth a month hahah. But you cannot forget these for life.
Let us now explore what I love this place for the most: The HAVELIS
Old Delhi is a land of havelis.🏘
While we are proceeding rapidly towards modernisation, and smaller houses, Chandni Chowk has a story of its own!
The maintenance of the havelis has become a big issue (because of the amount of money needed💰, and also due to unavailability of the artisans behind the majestic interiors👩🎨🧑🎨).
While a lot people are leaving behind these mansions to improve their quality of life, others are staying in them still, irrespective of the hardships just to protect the heritage till their last breath, for they know, if it will be passed on, we will lose the gem forever.
“My family never made any changes to its architecture. The builders keep making huge offers, but I will not vacate. Some of the responsibility towards our heritage also lies with the citizens and the youth should really understand that. I will maintain this Haveli as long as I am around, even if it means doing so from my own pocket.”
The death of aesthetics at Chandni Chowk, has only increased as the last remaining original families vacated their sprawling houses because of the impossible requirements of maintenance!
But to our luck we still have a few havelis that are open for the people to see and explore:😍
1. Mirza Ghalib ki Haveli
This haveli currently remains closed for the public following the corona virus pandemic. But if you want to dig deeper into the life of Ghalib, his poetry and other works, this is the place.📖
If you are lucky enough you may even get a chance to talk to the now owners of this place, who have interesting insights and their personal experiences to share.
2. Dharampura Haveli
Also known as Goel saheb ki haveli.
Unlike others, this haveli has been revamped and is converted into a hotel.
Spend the evening here, enjoy some classical performances, the food.💃🏻
The highlight of this place had to be its terrace. You can spot the Red Fort, Jama Masjid and the sis gang gurudwara, all at one place.😍
The magnificence of the place increases on a full moon night. Best.🌛🌕
3. Khazanchi Haveli
Well this Haveli is very relevant historically.
The Khazanchi haveli, like many others of Shahjahanabad, lies in ruins. However, this doesn’t take away the fact that this Haveli belonged to Emperor Shah Jahan’s accountants and book-keepers and was used to stash away money. It is fabled to have been connected to the Red Fort through an underground tunnel which was big enough to let horses pass easily through them to the Red Fort. 😲
Other things- must visit:
~Old Delhi’s Annual Ramlila Show; the main feature of Navaratri celebrations in Delhi is the Ramlila performances. It is the grandest Ramlila of all, and has the best catering to offer.
Take some heritage/ food walks across Chandni Chowk or old Delhi and you will know in detail the history.
Chandni chowk is so well connected with all the other wholesale markets:
Kinari bazaar, Balli maran, Sadar Bazar, Chawri bazaar, Khaari Baoli.
Did I drool over the place too much? Hahaha
I think you will too.
Happy exploring! ❤️
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