Visit Chandni Chowk (“Moonlit Market”) to explore the bustling bazaars that form an integral part of Indian life, and to visit historical shrines and temples. Taste local street food, shop for bargains and experience the atmosphere of this chaotic and fascinating district.
Chandni Chowk is at the heart of New Delhi’s Old City, and was established in the 17th century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Start at Chor Bazaar (“Thieves’ Market”), where you will find everything from electronic goods and vintage clothes to antique furniture and perfumes. Spot something you like and test your bargaining skills on the local vendors.
Explore the 16th-century Digambara Jain Temple, the city’s oldest Jain temple. Nearby is the Gauri Shankar Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, where you can see a Lingam (phallus stone) that is reputedly 800 years old. Walk by the Sikh temple (Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib) and hear the sounds of devotional singing. Remember to dress appropriately when entering temples.
Try a jalebi at the local candy store and watch as this delicious treat is expertly cooked in a pan of bubbling oil. Take a detour along Dariba Kalan Road to browse stores selling silver and gold jewelry, then continue to Kinari Bazaar, a market specializing in wedding garments and bridal accessories.
Look for Paratha Wali Gali, a lane that is home to a number of small restaurants specializing in paratha (Indian-style flatbread). Order a traditional potato-stuffed paratha, or try one with crushed almonds and top it with tangy pickles. The lane leads back to Chandni Chowk, from where you can continue to the Fatehpuri Masjid, a red sandstone mosque designed by one of Shah Jahan’s wives. Just behind the temple is Khari Baoli, a spice market that also sells nuts, herbs and teas.
Chandni Chowk is open Monday through Saturday and is a short metro, cab or rickshaw ride from downtown New Delhi. Combine a visit to Chandni Chowk with a visit to the Red Fort or Jama Masjid.