We travel to far off places to see and experience culture but most of the time we don’t go to the different or historic places in our city. I had been exploring Delhi in bits and parts, sometimes on my own and sometimes with some professional walk (With Intach Delhi Chapter). Here is my experience of Chandni chowk walk.
I remember going to Chandni Chowk as kids with my parents, after that for many many years I didn’t go to Old Delhi area. I know that Old Delhi is different from rest of Delhi in terms of culture, feel and food. The lanes are narrow, roads are crowded with bumper to bumper traffic, lots of cycle rickshaws, handcarts loaded with goods ferrying from one place to other.
I did my first heritage walk of Chandni Chowk with INTACH many years back and repeated it. Our leader was very informative and took us through the memory lane.
Red fort is on the other side of the road. We were intimated by Intach that we should assemble at Lal (Red) Digambar Jain temple and they will start our walk from here. This Jain temple is one of the oldest and most popular Jain temples in Delhi. They follow the rule Ahimsa very strictly that they even installed the fans in such a manner that it should not harm insects when the fan is running.
Next was the State Bank of India building on the other side of the road, which is extremely valuable and has multiple layers of history. It started here way back in 1806. Standing 70 feet tall with a Palladian façade spanning 120 feet at the entrance to Chandni Chowk. Intach Delhi Chapter and SBI had restored it.
Next to it is Sunehri masjid aka Golden Mosque, it is said to be built in 1721. The golden domes of the mosque are not well maintained and didn’t reflect it’s old glory.
When we moved further our walk leader shown us the metal pillars, which were part of tram system of Chandni Chowk.
Earlier there was a shop called Ghante wala, story related to it says that the royal elephant use to stop here and ring the bell. Elephant used to stand until the time he didn’t get the sweet from the shop but this shop is not closed. There are other sweet shops like Haldiram & they renovated it to today’s requirements. The other popular shop is of jalebi wala, which is at the entrance of gali (Lane) leading to Parathe wali gali.
There are around 4-5 shops of parathas and all of them have displaced pictures of some or other celebrities or politician to show them as their patrons 🙂
From here we entered into Kinari bazar lane, which is a very popular wholesale market for embroidery items like lace, thread work, embellishment, borders, stonework, gold/silver work, and garlands. Here you can get special items required for the marriage purpose and gifts. During the festivals of Dussehra they sell different items required for Ram Lila (theatrical epic, the Ramayana) like marks, bows and arrows, swords cardboard and costumes etc etc. This market changes according to the different festivals and keep stock of relevant items like during Sankranti & in August you can buy beautiful colorful kites here. During the festival of Holi market is full of colors and before Rakshabandhan you will see Rakhis. But when we went for walk the market was closed but I visited this market on different occasions to get the feel of it 🙂
We moved further ahead and entered Naughara Gali. This is unique it’s own way, it has 9 house in one lane and it is closed at the other end with only one entry/exit point for the lane. The place is very clean and gives a nice feeling of openness in the cluttered Old Delhi lanes.
There were few other old havelis and small temples on the way.