Table of Contents
You all must have heard a lot about Chandni Chowk but do you know it is about 350 years old? One of the oldest and busiest markets in Purani Dilli has mesmerizing artwork which enhances its beauty. This jam-packed Old Delhi neighborhood is more than three centuries old and a prestigious treasure trove, home to diverse Indian communities. It is most famous for its heritage Havelis, old bazaars, and places of worship. The whole Chandni chowk market is divided into small streets, each of which sells a wide variety of jewelry, bridal lehenga, clothes, bags, electronic devices, household essentials, décor items, and accessories.
If you are new to Delhi and don’t know much about Chandni Chowk or may be completely unfamiliar with it, you need not worry! We are here to help you with our detailed Chandni Chowk shopping guide.
Dig into History
When Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan moved his capital from Agra to Delhi, he established Shahjahanabad and also built the spectacular Red Fort (Lal Qila) on the banks of the River Yamuna. It was in 1650 AD when Chandni Chowk was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The whole design of Chandni Chowk was made by her favorite daughter, Jahanara Begum. Initially, it had around 1560 shops, 40 yards wide and 1520 yards long. But why Chandni Chowk? The reason behind name has two reasons:
Firstly, when Chandni chowk was built it was half moon square shape with a central pool that shined in the moonlight and this is one of the reasons behind naming it Chandni Chowk secondly, it was famous for silver merchants, and silver in Hindi is known as “Chandi” which also contributes to the name Chandni Chowk.
Princess Jahanara Begum, Shah Jahan’s favorite daughter, designed and developed Moonlight Square, and its three bazaars in 1650 CE. The bazaar was originally 40 yards wide by 1,520 yards long and housed 1,560 shops.
Originally, Chandni Chowk only referred to the square with a reflecting pool. The entire straight road that runs through the middle of the old town, from the Red Fort’s Lahori Gate to Fatehpuri Masjid, is now known as Chandni Chowk. The road was then divided into three bazaars which are as follows:
- Urdu Bazaar: Also known as encampment market. It started from Mughal royal palace’s Lahori Gate to Chowk Kotwali near Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib.
- Johri Bazar: The straight road from Chowk Kotwali to Chandni Chowk (in front of the Municipal/Town Hall) was originally known as Johri Bazar.
- Fatehpuri Bazar: The straight road from Chandni Chowk to Fatehpuri Masjid was originally known as the Fatehpuri Bazar.
The roads of Chandni Chowk were divided into many streets known as kuchas and these kuchas had many katras. These katras had haveli inside it. In the year 1863, the Britishers constructed Delhi Town Hall in Chandni Chowk. In the 1950s the central pool was replaced by a clock tower which is popular as Ghantaghar. Isn’t the history of Chandni Chowk interesting?
Chandni Chowk Historical Religious Buildings
- One of the oldest and most well-known Jain temple was founded in 1656 – Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir. The compound of the temple has a bird hospital which has been established in 1957 and about 15000 birds are treated here a year. In front of the temple is a manastambha column.
- The Gauri Shankar Temple, built by Apa Gangashar, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. An 800-year-old brown Lingam (phallus stone) which is surrounded by silver snakes, is encased in a marble representation of a female organ in the temple.
- Central Baptist Church is one of Delhi’s oldest churches and a fine example of European architecture from the time period. You will be amazed to see the church’s walls that are adorned with memorial tablets honoring the faithful who have dedicated their entire lives to the service of the church.
- Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib is located in the heart of Chandni Chowk. It is designed in the Mughal style, with meshwork windows, pavilions, and walls made of sandstone.
- The Sunehri Masjid was built in 1751 by Qudsiya Begum, Muhammad Shah’s mistress The mosque’s facade features three arched entryways. The interior and exterior of the mosque have Stucco decoration work in the form of Islamic art and floral patterns.
- Located at the western end of Chandni Chowk, the Fatehpuri Mosque is a 17th-century mosque in India, built in 1650 by Fatehpuri Begum. The mosque is made of red sandstone and features a fluted dome with mahapadma and kalash on top.
Why is Chandni Chowk Famous?
Chandni Chowk is divided into markets and each market is famous for a particular item. We have listed down the major markets.
Continue Reading Below
- Nai Sarak
Nai Sarak is built by the Britishers after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. In a literal sense, it means”new road.” Nai Sarak is popular for books as well as stationery items. From novels to books for competitive exams, you will be able to find all of them here. Not only this if you are in need of second-hand books, they are also available. Almost everything you buy here is at discounted rates. Make sure you don’t visit the market on Sunday as it is closed.
- Khari Baoli
This market near Red Fort is famous for its spices. We can bet that there is no spice you can’t find in this market. Khari Baoli has grown over the years to become Asia’s largest spice market, filled with kaleidoscopic colours. From everyday spices to rare and unique spices, name it and the shopkeepers will give it to you within seconds. Apart from spices and herbs, dry fruits and nuts are also available here.
- Dariba Kalan
Every piece of jewelry tells a story. And so does the Jewellery of Dariba Kalan! The name in itself means “street of the incomparable pearl.” Handcrafted Silver jewellery items such as earrings, necklaces, anklets, nose pins, and nose rings are available here at prices that are significantly lower than in other markets. The specialty is silver jewellery however they also sell gold, Kundan, and meenakari jewelry.
- Neel Katra
Do you know that the first franchise of Raymond’s is located here? Neel Katra was traditionally a hub for indigo manufacturers and traders, and it is now is well known for its cloth material and wedding lengha. Searching for Silk, satin, crepe, cotton, and muslin, you will get them all here! You can also call it Chandni Chowk’s lengha market!
- Moti Bazar
After reading the name, you must have guessed that the market is famous for its pearls. Apart from pearls, it is also well known for its wide collection of shawls which comes in every design, colour, style, and wool type.
- Kinari Bazar
Also known as heaven for wedding shopping. Zari and Zardozi trimmings and tinsel, fabrics, borders, frills, motifs, Parsi borders, laces, and many other items are available here. We advise you to bring your clothes along with you so that you are able to choose the right accessories and the shopkeeper can also help you accordingly.
- Chawri Bazar
Chawri Bazar locates at the West of Jama Mazid is the first wholesale market of Delhi which was established in 1840. Chawri Bazaar is quite congested with pedestrians, rickshaws, scooters, and labourers pushing heavy loads along the road. Want to get wedding invites or any other invites printed in bulk? Head toward this market. You will find a wide range of wedding cards from simple to lavish. Everything is easily available here, including lovely wedding invitations, eye-catching wallpaper, and any form of paper needed for any purpose.
- Bhagirath Palace
Bhagirath Palace is Chandni chowk’s electric market. It is a prominent market for its fancy and elegant lights at rock-bottom prices. You will be surprised to know that it is Asia’s largest market for electronics and electrical goods. Whether you want glimmering fairy lights or dazzling decorative items, you can on the shops of this Market.
- Ballimaran Market
Ballimaran is India’s biggest optical market and treasure chest for glare lovers. Be it branded or non-branded, latest, trendy, vintage, tinted, reflectors every style and color of glares can be easily found. Bored of your old shoes and glasses frame or sunglasses? Ballimaran Market has the latest trends in shoes and a wide range of frames and sunglasses. You will also get a fake Ray-Ban for Rs 50!
Continue Reading Below
- Kucha Choudhary Market
Also known as Chandni Chowk Camera Market. Cameras from vintage to modern, regular to professional, DSLRs, Polaroids, camera accessories such as bags, lenses and lens cleaning kits, tripods, all are available at a pocket friendly price.
Places to eat in Chandni Chowk
Are you a foodie? If yes, then this is just the right place for you! Just when you walk inside Chandni Chowk, the first thing you will feel is the tempting pungent smell of food. Chandni Chowk is home to the oldest and most famous restaurants and confectioners which are more than 50 years old. Here are some famous foods from these restaurants:
- Parathas from Paranthewali Gali
The paranthas at Gali Paranthe Wali are a perfect fusion of the traditional Punjabi parantha and the Bedmi poori, which is deep-fried in a ‘kadhai’ rather than on the Tawa. It is served with tamarind-banana chutney and spicy potato sabzi or curry.
- Dahi Bhalle of Natraj
The bhallas prepared here are very soft and fluffy. They are served with traditional red tamarind chutney. The secret is their DahiBhalla masala which is sprinkled on top. The bhallas are delicious, and the flavorful masala is the secret to their mouthwatering flavor.
- Bengali sweets from Annapurna Bhandar
If you like Bengali sweets, Annapurna Bhandar in Chandni Chowk, across the street from the fountain and Gurudwara Sis Ganj, is the place to go. With a tasty selection of Bengali sweets ranging from gur sandesh to cham cham. Don’t miss their delicious samosas with spicy mint chutney!
- Jalebi wala for their crispiest jalebis
This small shop at the corner of Dariba Kalan Road is well-known for its hot, thick, and juicy freshly made jalebis. Do you know what makes this Jalebi shop different from others? It is their syrup which is made with desi khandsari sugar, and the jalebis are made with desi ghee.
- Kebabs and Curries from Aslam Chicken
The butter chicken lovers, this is the perfect place for you to visit and try their finger-licking butter chicken served with rumali rotis! The chicken is perfectly grilled in the tandoor before being drenched in butter. They pour a large block of Amul Butter (500gms) over the chicken pieces.
- Kullhad wale Chole chawal from Gol Hatti
If you’re craving some flavorful and authentic Chole Kulche and Kullhad Chawal. Then Gol Hatti in Chandni Chowk is the place to go. It is a small restaurant known for its distinctive Kullhad wale Chawal which is served with Carrot pickle and Onions in a Clay Pot.
Continue Reading Below
- Old Delhi-style Kababs, Nahari, and Chicken Muglai from Karim’s
Karim, hidden in the narrow streets of Old Delhi, serves delicious royal Mughlai cuisine and is the best non-vegetarian restaurant in Delhi-NCR. Do try their Mutton Burra, Mutton Qorma, Ghost Curry, Nahari, and Chicken Jahangir.
Don’t expect to find a vacant seat; it’s always crowded. Good luck with that!
- Kachori with aloo ki Sabzi from Jang Bahadur Kachori wala
We’re always ready to devour kachoris at any time of day, and for the best Aloo Kachori, you’ll ever have, head to Jung Bahadur in Delhi 6. Two rounded kachoris are served with a thick spicy aloo gravy—dive in and thank us later!
- Khurchan from Hazari Lal Khurchan Wale
Hazari Lal Khurchan Wale is a small shop sweet shop in Kinari Bazari. It is well known for its traditional milk sweets such as khurchan, rabri, and kalakand. The most famous is Khurchan which is made by boiling milk for 1 to 12 hours. As you take your first bite, we bet you will say “yummmm”.
- Kulfi from Kuremal Mohan Lal Kulfi Wale
No matter how full we are, we always have space in our stomachs for desert! After you are done with shopping and eating in Chandni Chowk, make your visit complete by heading towards Kremal Mohan Lal Kulfi Wale. Your mind will be completely overwhelmed by the variety of kulfis available here. Every kulfi is deliciously rich and delectable, and you’re going to have the finest kulfi experience ever!
- Pyaar Mohabbat Maza Shake from Nawab Qureshi
Nawab Qureshi’s watermelon shake, containing freshly sliced watermelon cubes for crunch and a fresh flavor, along with Rooh Afza and fresh Amul milk, will definitely help you beat the scorching heat of Delhi. The Watermelon shake is famously known as “Pyaar Mohabbat Mazaa,”. Do you know what the best part is? The shake will cost you only Rs10 for a glass.
Read Also: List of all Electronic Markets In Delhi
How to reach Chandni Chowk?
You probably must be searching on Google “Chandni Chowk market open today”? The market is open from Monday to Saturday and the timing are from 9:30 am to 8 pm.
The nearest metro station to Chandni Chowk is Chandni Chowk Metro Station at yellow line. After reaching the metro station exit from gate number 1. You can either walk or take a rickshaw to the desired shop.
Continue Reading Below
If you are planning to come by car, then you need to park your car in the parking space which is behind the Chandni Chowk metro station. You are not allowed to take a car inside the Chandni Chowk market.
- Keep cash rather than cards.
- The market is crowded so take care of your belongings and also stay close to your and dear ones.
- Remember to bargain if you want the best deal!
- Don’t forget to carry water with you because the long walk through the crowded streets can be exhausting
- Wear a footwear which can be easily removed and worn as mostly shops in the market don’t allow you to wear footwears
- Be cautious of replicated products and peddlers.
- Avoid travelling by car as cars are not allowed in Chandni Chowk.
Chandni Chowk is the heart of Purani Dilli. One of the oldest marketplaces in Old Delhi provides a dizzying variety of options to buy from, including books, clothes, electronics, shoes, leather, and consumer goods. The gloomy lanes of Chandni Chowk Delhi market are filled with noise and chaos but have retained their historical character. While the rest of Delhi is booming with new cafes and bars, Chandni Chowk’s age-old restaurants and small stalls are just unbeatable. So, what are you waiting for, grab a comfy pair of shoes and clothes and head towards Chandni Chowk! Don’t forget to share your experience with us in the comment section!