From clothes and accessories to stationery and food, Chandni Chowk in Delhi has everything that you need and can ever think of! Read about the whole market below.

Who has not heard the name of Chandni Chowk in Delhi! Even those who haven’t visited the city have an idea about the charm of this market that houses many small submarkets in it! From the best affordable clothing to the yummiest food items, Chandni Chowk has it all for the Delhi folks and welcomes everyone who goes there with a big heart.

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Located near the Red Fort, Chandni Chowk first came into existence in 1650 AD during the rule of Shah Jahan, the Mughal ruler. It is believed that the ruler had planned this market as part of his kingdom when he had shifted the capital city from Agra to Shahjahanabad, Old Delhi. However, the market was established by Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal’s daughter Jahaanara Begum. Initially, the bazaar was stretched from Shahjahanabad’s Lahori Gate to the Fatehpuri Masjid.

At that time, the 120-ft-wide bazaar had around 1,560 shops where traders from various countries also used to come with a variety of items ranging from kebabs, rubies, and emeralds to flowers, glass huqqas, and eyeglasses from China. Initially, the market was segregated into four parts: Johri Bazar, Ashrafi Bazar, Urdu Bazaar, and the Fatehpuri Bazar. It is believed that soldiers, artisans, clerks, and artists of the Mughal court used to live in the stretch of the Urdu bazaar. On the other hand, Ashrafi or Jauhari bazaar was the financial hub, while the senior officials used to gather at coffeehouses for mushairas. Not only this but even large processions used to be held here during the time of Shah Jahan.

The story behind the name

The market allowed for a canal named Faiz Nahar, built by Ali Mardan Khan on the order of Shah Jahan, to pass through it while shady trees were a common feature on both sides. The canal was wide at the center leading it to become an octagonal pool. On some nights, the moonlight would reflect here through which ‘Chandni Chowk’ got its name. However, later on, a few controversies also took place, with people mistaking the origin of the name due to the silver or ‘Chandi’ trade that was very common here in the bygone era. The pool vanished with the downfall of Mughal rule, but the Britishers revived it in 1820, which again got closed in 1910. Presently, there is a wide road built in the market.

Trams like the ones in London were also one of the major features of Chandni Chowk during the British rule. It was initiated by them in March 1908, and by 1921, this market had 15 km of track and 24 cars. However, the tram system closed in the year 1963.

Nevertheless, Chandni Chowk has been the busiest place in Delhi, where people love to visit with their friends and family for shopping and exploring food. It has various other submarkets that exist even today, serving the best interests of people. Let’s have a look at some of these.

Chawri Bazaar

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This market is an attraction for stationery and music lovers! You can see people buying various musical instruments along with stationery items. But the best part is that one can get here the best deals for beautiful and unique wedding cards!

Parathe Wali Gali

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Who can miss this wonderful gem of Chandni Chowk! This place has various shops serving a variety of Parathas with Sabzi, Aloo, and Achaars. Moreover, you can not afford to miss the Kulhad Wali Lassi!

Krishna Market

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Krishna market is a one-stop destination for all kinds of suits, salwars, kurtas, etc. There are various shops in this market from which you can select your favourite design!

Nai Sadak

Nai Sadak is a very long street dealing with new and second-hand books of various genres, stationery items, musical instruments, sarees, lehengas, and much more. It is also the spot to connect Chawri Bazar with Chandni Chowk.

Khari Baoli

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Chandni Chowk has everything for people, including pulses, food grains, spices, and a variety of dried fruits. So, you can also go there with a proper list to buy these things!

Dariba Kalan

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The Chowk has a lane dedicated to silver items including jewellery, crockery, etc. It also has many stores for imitation jewellery, Kundan, Meenakari, Polki and Diamond!

Kinari Bazar

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Kinari Bazar is full of Zari, Zardosi, laces, fancy borders, packing materials, latkans, gota jewellery and much more. It can be considered as the best market to shop for weddings!

Bhagirath Palace

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For all those people who come to Chandni Chowk in search of electric goods, Bhagirath Palace serves them all at wholesale prices. The street is full of shops selling decorative lights that you can take back home!

Fatehpuri Market

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Can you believe that there can be a wholesale trading place for Khoya and Paneer? Well, believe it because the Fatehpuri market is the one. However, one can also find here a lot of food items like parathas, kulfi, aloo puri, chole bhature, and more!

Kucha Choudhary Market

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Also known as the photo market, this market is no less than a heaven for photographers! One can browse through various cameras, including vintage ones, DSLRs, or Polaroids, and even shooting accessories.

Recently, in 2021, Chandni Chowk was revamped by the government of Delhi where the entire stretch was made a “no traffic zone” for motorized vehicles between 9.00 am and 9.00 pm. Moreover, even a “pedestrian-friendly corridor” has been developed now for people while the government only allows cycle rickshaws and e-rickshaws in the market. The main market has stone structures between the road and alleys, and one can sit there for a while too. The divided markets are also properly named.

In a nutshell, a visit to Chandni Chowk is a visit to the oldest, busiest, and yet the most happening place of Delhi, and we are sure you will fall in love with it too!

Also Read: Go for affordable furniture shopping at the Oshiwara furniture market in Mumbai!

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