Must Visit

Chandni Chowk

4.3 / 5 79 votes


Weather:

Time Required: 3 - 4 hours

Timings:

10:00 AM - 07:00 PM, except Monday
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Chandni Chowk, Delhi Overview

One of the oldest markets in Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk is Old Delhi's main thoroughfare which is a chaotic shopping street lined by hawkers and porters with narrow lanes offering full medieval bazaar experience. It is an important historical site renowned for the availability of every kind of goods as well as food. It was constructed in the 17th-century b the Mughal ruler of India Shah Jahan. It is situated opposite the Red Fort and provides a view of the Fatehpuri Mosque.

Crisscrossed by narrow streets with shops jostling for space, Chandi Chowk gives a feel of old Delhi shopping. Since the 17th-century era, this places is rightly called a "shoppers paradise" in Delhi. During the reign of Shah Jahan, there was a tree-lined canal running through its centre, reflecting the moon. Hence, the name "Chandni Chowk" came to being which means "moonlight place". Shopping at Chandni Chowk is fun as the market is distributed in several streets and these narrow streets are inundated with vibrant varieties of clothes, perfumes, electronic items, jewellery, candles, idols of deities and lifestyle goods.

The market deals in everything that shoppers might think to buy for oneself and as well as for home. As this is a wholesale market, one can get huge discounts on most of the items. These shopping streets is a heaven for retailers too. Apart from shopping, this place is equally famous for its eateries, street food, and Indian snacks. It has been aptly said for this barrage of noise, colour and smell, "Are janaab Dilli aae aur chandni chowk nahi dekha to kya dekha?"

More on Chandni Chowk


Shopping in Chandi Chowk is a mind boggling experience. It offers a staggering range of goodies ranging from books, clothes, electronics, shoes, leather and consumer goods. Walking along this jostling street can get quite intimidating, so be prepared to get stunned. Each area of Chandni Chowk has different markets, which are known for various things.

Nai Sadak
Nai Sadak is mainly known for books and stationery items. It is perfect for the students and bibliomaniacs who will find everything they need here, ranging from books for competitive exams to second-hand college textbooks, fiction novels and even Hindi fiction and non-fiction. 

Dariba Kalan
Dariba Kalan is known for jewellery, especially silver and gold items. The highlight here is the availability of hand-crafted jewellery. The best part about shopping at this market is the cost of the items is usually around 25% less than the other markets. You will also find kundan and meenakari jewellery here, along with shops selling perfumes and oils.

Chawri Bazar
Chawri Bazar is your go-to place if you are looking to get wedding cards printed in bulk. It specialises in the sale of paper products. You will find all kinds of wedding cards here - simple and subtle to fancy and extravagant. 

Kinari Bazar
Kinari Bazar is a haven for your wedding shopping. It is a narrow lane known for selling the best zardozi items such as laces and frills. Apart from this, you will also find Parsi borders, motifs, ribbon laces and all the embellishments for your wedding lehenga. 

Bhagirath Palace
This is Asia's largest wholesale market for electrical and electronic items. Right from simple light fixtures to fancy decorative lamps, you will find everything you need to decorate your home. That too at dirt cheap prices!

Ballimaran Market
This market is known for selling shoes at affordable prices. There are all kinds of shoes available here, ranging from formal shoes to dress shoes. You will also find a lot of opticians here, though don't depend on their eye testing skills. You can find a huge variety of frames and sunglasses at a throwaway price.

There are plenty of other markets in Chandi Chowk selling different knick knacks-

  • Khari Baoli is a street dedicated to spices, nuts, herbs and dried fruits. Located at the western end of Chandni Chowk, there is no spice that you won't find here. 
  • Fatehpuri Market is a wholesale trade market for khoya and paneer. You will also find plenty of eateries here. 
  • Kucha Choudhary Market is also known as the photo market. You can get all types of cameras and its accessory at every corner of this market.
  • Katra Neel is the wholesale market for all kinds of clothes. The first franchise of Raymond from Old Delhi is also located here. There are plenty of shops selling sarees, lehenga, salwar suits and men's wear.
  • Moti Bazar is known for shawls in a myriad of design, colour, style and type of wool. It is called as the Moti Bazar as it specialises in the sale and purchase of pearls


The first thing that hits you when you enter Chandni Chowk is the intoxicating aroma of food. It is nothing short of heaven for gastronomes around the world. It is the home to some of the oldest and most famous restaurants and confectioners, many of them dating back to fifty or hundred years ago. From an assortment of sweet shops to the parathewali gali to roadside kebabs near Jama Masjid, this place has something to offer for everyone. Tea and pan shops are to be found at every turn of the road.

Another speciality of this place is the variety of chats fruit delicacies on offer. Some of the famous shops are Natraja's Dahi Bhalle, Paranthewali Gali, Gianiji ka Falooda, Kanwarji Bhagirathmal Dalbijiwallah, The jalebi wala, Chaatwallah, Tewari Brothers Confectioners, Bikaner Sweet Shop, Meghraj and Sons, Chainaram, Annapurna Bhandar, etc.

Paranthe Wali Gali
The food trail of Chandni Chowk begins and ends at Gali Paranthe Wali. Even before you enter this calorie-filled foodie's lane, you are hit by the aroma of hot oil and sputtering spices. You can't miss the sight of stuffed parathas laden with oodles of butter. This lane has been the haunt of many celebrities over time. Out of the 20 paratha shops established here, only 3 remains today - Pt Kanhaiyalal Durgaprasad Dixit, Pt Gaya Prasad Shivcharan and Pt Baburam Devidayal Paranthewale. 

The paratha served here is entirely vegetarian and do not include onion and garlic. You will find almost all varieties of parathas here filled with every possible stuffing - lemon, chilli, Kaju, badam, carrot, radish, paneer, aloo, cauliflower, rabri, matar, khoya, etc. If there aren't enough to sate your love for something new, you can even try the unusual stuffing of papad, banana and khurchan! The parathas are served with sweet lassi, minty chutney, sweet tamarind chutney, mixed pickle, potato-paneer curry and a mash of sweet pumpkin. The shops remain open from 9:00 AM - 11:00 PM. The parathas are cheap and usually cost INR 150 for two people.

The history of Chandni Chowk dates back to the foundation of Shahjahanabad by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Shahjahanabad was set to be the capital among the cities he ruled. Chandni Chowk was initially laid as a square in the centre of which was a pool that shimmered in the moonlight (the reason why it was named as Chandni Chowk). The shops were arranged in a half moon pattern around this square. Many people believe that it was built so that Shah Jahan's favourite daughter, Jahan Ara Begum, could buy whatever she needed. It was a gathering place for traders and merchants who flocked here from all over the country.

In the early days, Chandni Chowk was famous for the silver merchants. This has led many people to believe that it was named as Chandni Chowk because of the trade of silver as silver in Hindi is called 'chandi'. The original pattern of reflecting pool and shops arranged in half moon has been replaced by numerous shops selling all kinds of knick knack. It was once the grandest Indian market. The dingy lanes brimming with noise and chaos still retains its historical character. 

1. Carry plenty of water as the long walk through the chaotic streets can get very tiring.

2. Photography is not allowed at many of the shops in the market as the owners are worried that the customers might copy their designs. So, take permission before clicking a picture.

3. Most of the shops require you to step inside without footwear. So, it is recommended to wear a sandal which is easy to remove. 

4. Pay particular attention to your belongings and wallet while roaming through Chandni Chowk.

5. Beware of duplicate products and touts.

6. Don't forget to bargain. You will get the best deals here on the choice of your product.

The best way to reach Chandni Chowk is to take the Delhi Metro and get down at Chandni Chowk Metro Station. You can either get down at the Chandni Chowk Road or go to the Old Delhi Railway Station end. You can hire an auto rickshaw or an E-rickshaw from either end to reach the desired market. You can also opt to walk. However, it is better to save the energy for all the walking required in exploring the place. If you are travelling to Chandni Chowk by a private vehicle, you will find a parking space at the entrance of the Old Delhi Railway Station.

Alternatively, you can also opt to travel by bus. Daryaganj bus stop is the most accessible stop to reach Chandni Chowk. Buses regularly run from Daryagunj to Chandi Chowk. If you wish to avoid the crowd buses, you can hire a cab (preferably Uber or OLA) and get down at Chandni Chowk. 

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Chandni Chowk Reviews

9 months ago by Pranjali Kureel

I personally love Chandni Chowk despite its overcrowded streets, dirty paths and constant chaos. I think it displays a true ‘Indian-ness’ in a weird way. The history of Chandni Chowk goes back to Mughal Era when Mughal Emperor built the city of Shahjahanabad. Mughal architecture, though now in ruins, provides an amalgamation of the old and new. It is ‘The place’ for shopping lovers as you can find everything from wedding clothes to stationary to musical instruments here at very low prices. DO NOT forget food. I think food is the best thing about this place. Paranthe wali gali is a must visit. Even though Karims is the most popular restaurant for non-vegetarian food, I find Al Jawahar much better.

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