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Chandni Chowk

Chandni Chowk is Delhi’s oldest and most popular shopping area, attracting millions of shoppers-both local and tourists- every year. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1650 A.D., it was designed and established by his daughter, Princess Jahanara. Built in the shape of a square, it was originally divided throughout by canals leading to a pool in the center, which were meant to reflect the moonlight, giving the market its name, which means ‘moonlit market’. Other reasons for this name could have been the famed silver merchants found in the market (silver is also called chandi) and the half moon shape of the shops.

Chandni Chowk is a classic example of the past and future colliding in the present. Ruins of old shops stand amidst glittering new stores, shops selling modern goods inhabit 3 hundred year old buildings and modern cafes and software shops jostle for space alongside traditional street food stores. Shops are often handed down from one generation to the next, honing their specialisation to a level of perfection that only time and custom can achieve. Tiny alleyways form a giant, interconnecting web throughout the entire marketplace, allowing one to easily navigate through the entire marketplace (provided one knows the route). It is possible to find just about anything at Chandni Chowk:- from clothes and textiles at Fatehpur, shoes at Ballimaran, stationary and musical instruments at Chawri Bazaar, jewelry at Kinari Bazaar, dry foods and spices at Khari Baoli, shawls at Moti Bazaar and books at Nai Sarak to medicine and medical equipment at Bhaghirath Palace, electrical goods at Old Lajpat Rai Market, chemicals at the Tilak Bazaar to cycles and photography equipment at Cycle Market. Chandni Chowk is also home to many famous restaurants and halwaais, including the original Haldirams.

Chandni Chowk can be found in central north Delhi and can be easily reached via any public transport.


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