With the onset of monsoons in the state capital and the mercury levels coming a notch lower – you can finally plan a day trip to Chandni Chowk. Easily accessible by metro, you need to spend at least a few hours in this part of Old Delhi to learn how to fall in love with ‘organized chaos’.
The serpentine lanes crammed with shops, hawkers, eateries, tourists and layers and layers of history will transport you to a whole new world. If you are a photographer, foodie or perhaps a shopaholic, this is your true pilgrimage. Here’s how to spend a meaningful day amidst the hustle-bustle of food, religion, history, chaos, custom and commerce.
1. Paranthe Wali Gali
A trip to Chandni Chowk cannot conclude without a visit to the celebrated Paranthe Wali Gali. Now, this narrow lane used to have many shops about 50 years back, but today only a handful of them stand tall serving the most delicious paranthas in the world.
These are small eateries and you often have to stand in queues to wait your turn; and most frequently, you share your table with strangers. The paranthas are made right in front of you and brace yourself when you see the menu card – variety is humongous and pricing is super affordable. Check out Pandit Devi Dayal’s eatery or Kanhaiya Lal Durga Prasad’s Parantha Shop and Pandit Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan’s shop (this one is the oldest).
Also, when you order, ditch the regular aloo, pyaaz, paneer and gobi paranthas. Instead, relish upon paranthas stuffed with gajar, Kaju, rabri, nimbu-mirch, bhindi, karela, papad, tamatar, and more. Lastly, all paranthas are served with an array of accompaniments – pudina chutney, banana and imli chutney, pickles and aloo ki sabzi. PS – each parantha will cost you less than 50 bucks!
2. Camera Bazaar
Now, this is a lesser known fact – Chandni Chowk is one of the largest markets in Asia for camera accessories. We bet you didn’t know this! Now, if you walk down the Esplanade Road towards the Photo Market you will be amazed to see countless shops selling tripods, camera bags and pouches, different kinds of lenses and filters, battery chargers and more.
Also, don’t miss out on Pritam Studio – this is one of the oldest and most acclaimed shops. Nonetheless, be aware of spurious parts. Know your camera parts well!
3. Indulge In History & Architecture
Chandni Chowk is home to many monuments, historical landmarks, and more. Of course, Jama Masjid is one of the most popular destinations to visit here. But, there are many hidden gems, enveloped in so much history and culture that is still untouched by the tourism industry. There are many old shops that have their traces rooted back to the Mughal era.
Also read: 5 Of Delhi’s Hidden Gems Every Traveller Must Visit
Talk about old Havelis and religious spots – Chandni Chowk is rich with these. Do visit Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir and Sis Ganj Sahib Gurdwara. Also, don’t forget to check out Havelis of Begum Samru, Mirza Ghalib, and Zeenat Mahal. Moreover, the Khajanchi Haveli is yet another gem that needs more limelight. This is where many accountants of Emperor Shah Jahan lived. This Haveli is connected to the Red Fort through a long underground tunnel that was apparently constructed for safe transfer of money. Intriguing, isn’t it?
4. Shop Till You Drop
The narrow bylanes of Chandni Chowk are flocked with shops of all kinds. Be it stationary shopping or masala shopping, wedding shopping or fabric shopping – be ready to get surprised at every gali of this majestic place. From carpets to electronic products, artefacts to furniture, accessories to furnishings, and handicrafts to cutleries – options are galore, and pricing is varied.
Also read: 5 Iconic Coffee Shops in Delhi
There is a lot to explore in Chandni Chowk, and one day is definitely not enough. But for starters, these things should suffice. So, when are you planning your next trip to the land of history and culture?
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