Located at the heart of Old Delhi and a shopping extravaganza, Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest markets and the main thoroughfare in Old Delhi with lines of wholesale stores packed together to form a chaotic exuberance. Oozing full medieval bazar vibes, Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi is a wholesale market that was constructed in the 17th-century by the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan and is renowned for its reasonable goods and food items. Some of the major historical and religious monuments are in and around Chandni Chowk such as The Red Fort, Fatehpur Mosque. During the rule of Shah Jahan, he constructed a treelined canal running through the center and used to reflect the moon during the night and hence the name ‘Chandni Chowk’ came into being, with ‘chandni’ referring to ‘chand’ or the moon.
Today, shopping at Chandni Chowk is nothing less than a hustle with its intersected narrow streets and shops shoving for space that are swamped with an array of clothes, electronic items, perfumes and essential oils, candles, footwears, books, spices, jewelry, idols of deities, and lifestyle goods. Chandni Chowk was established by Shah Jahan during the foundation of Shahjahanbad, the capital city among the cities he ruled. The market was initially a square with a pool at the center and shops surrounding it in half moon pattern. It was a gathering place for traders and merchants who flocked here from across the globe. The original layout of reflecting pool and shops organized in crescent shaped pattern has now been replaced by numerous shops selling all kinds of knick-knacks but the dingy lanes erupting noise and chaos still retains its historical character.
The market is a one-stop destination for shoppers to buy anything they have in mind and that too at reasonable rates. The market is a heaven for retailers as well and apart from an ocean of lifestyle and consumer items, Chandni Chowk is renowned for its gastronomic experience from food that are served in eateries and restaurants, some of which date back to fifty or hundred years.
Also known as the shopping hub, Chandni Chowk offers an extensive range of goodies ranging from clothes, footwears, stationary, books, electronics, leather, and consumer goods and that too at a very affordable rate. Strolling down these narrow streets can be a very daunting task and quiet intimidating as well, so be prepared to get dazed and make your way through a dense crowd of shoppers. Chandni Chowk has different areas, and each area has different markets that are known for distinct varieties of things. Some of the main markets are listed below.
Apart from the above markets, Chandni Chowk is filled with other markets selling a variety of items such as Chor Bazar which is one of the biggest thrift markets, Khari Baoli which is the spice market, Fatehpur Market which is a trade market for paneer and khoya, Kucha Chaudhary Market which is also called the photo market, Moti Bazar which sells a variety of shawls and wool, and Katra Neel which is the wholesale market for all types of cloth material.
No matter in which corner you are at the vibrant street of Chandni Chowk, the first thing that hits your senses and the one thing that is present throughout is the delicious aroma of food. Known for a catering to all types of food lovers, Chandni Chowk is a gastronomic paradise housing in its narrow alleys, restaurants, stalls, cafés, and confectionaries, some of which are even century old. From an assortment of sweet shops to spicy chaat, from roadside kebabs to butter slathered paratha, Chandni Chowk has something to satisfy all types of palate. Don’t forget to finish your meal with a hot cup of masala tea or a refreshing pan that are found at every corner of the street.
The best way to reach Chandni Chowk is to board the Delhi Metro and get down at Chandni Chowk Metro Station. Auto-rickshaw or E-rickshaw are available from outside the station, or one can opt to walk as well. if you have a private vehicle, the parking area is at the entrance of the Old Delhi Railway Station. Alternatively, local buses can also be used to travel to Chandni Chowk. Daryaganj bus stop is the most accessible stop to reach the market from where buses run regularly to Chandni Chowk.
From shimmering lehengas to dazzling jewelry, from the scent of spices to the scent of old books and delectable food, to the streets laden with electronics and leather goodies, experience the charm of the biggest shopping hub of Delhi, the Chandni Chowk market is a shopper’s delight where you find anything and everything to quench your shopaholic soul.