A journey through the streets of Old Delhi
JOURNEY LINK : https://roadcast.in/pin?pin=1U880051116122806
Chances are, that you are a foodie, if you’re born & brought up in Delhi or as we call it – Dilli. With its modernity & fast pace development, the capital city is popular for its food culture. On one hand, one can find the most extravagant form of fine dining in 5-star hotels & Michelin star restaurants & on the other hand, one can completely indulge in the gluttony at a hawker serving street food. But what you will read about next is better than most food experiences. It’s the journey through the streets of Chandni Chowk, a bustling marketplace at the heart of Old Delhi.
One such part of Delhi that is extremely popular among Delhiites, where one can thoroughly enjoy the authentic flavor that the city offers is Chandni Chowk & by flavor, I don’t just mean food. The unique flavor is a perfect blend of people, streets, historical monuments, cultures & FOOD; well mostly food. We practically think with our taste buds.
So, coming back to Chandni Chowk. Anyone who has visited the place would agree that it’s a bustling hub, with fragrance of spices & condiments, smoke from chimneys of small eateries & workshops, hordes of people walking on the streets, heavy movement of goods as far as the eye can see & a wholesale shop for anything that you might want to buy.
Starting the day at Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk – Experience The Real Flavor Of Delhi
One can start their day in Chandni Chowk by visiting the majestic Jama Masjid. Famed as one of the largest mosques in India, the historical structure stands tall in the centre of Shahjahanabad; the former name of Old Delhi. Built in the 17th century, by Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal emperor, the Masjid is one of the most exquisite works of architecture following the Taj Mahal & other monuments of his time. You can easily reach here by taking the yellow line & getting off at Chawri Bazaar Station of the Delhi metro.
The timings to visit the mosque are 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Try to get here by 9:30 a.m. so that you can savor a delicious paratha at the parathe wali gali before 11:00 a.m. From the inside, the monument is a historical feat. You can witness the intricate carvings & stone work, indicative of Mughal architecture. Amidst the Echoing sound of pigeons & the prayers, one can find tranquility & peace, while building on an appetite to enjoy the food that awaits.
The Parathe Wali Gali – Paratha / Indian Flatbread Haven, Chandni Chowk
The Parathe Wali Gali is a narrow street in the bazaar, popular for deep-fried Indian Flatbread. Most shops here take orders till 11:00 a.m. My personal favorite shops would be Pt. Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan Paranthe Wale & Babu Ram Paranthe Wale.
The regular, most ordered parathas would be the Aloo, Matar or the Gobhi paratha. If you are in the mood for something exquisite, you can try the Bhindi or the mix veg paratha. For those with a sweet tooth, the best choices would be a Chini paratha or a Khoorchan Paratha. There’s something for everyone. Sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it?
Be sure to feel stuffed & not wanting to eat anything else for a while after a trip to this street. There are always other things to do while you build your appetite again. What’s better than shopping to do that?
Shopping at Nayi Sarak – Indian traditional wear, Chandni Chowk
Nayi Sarak is a 5 min walk from the Parathe Wali Gali. That 5 min walk is practically the best thing you can do after that heavy breakfast. For those of you who are lazy or bloated & too troubled by the sound of “A 5 min walk”, there’s a convenient alternative – a cycle rickshaw.
Once you have reached, Nayi Sarak, all you will see are mannequins draped with bridal wear. From Sarees to Lehengas to Indian Kurtas, it’s a sanctuary for girls who like to shop. One can find a piece of clothing in every style, color, size & price. The place is a hub for brides-to-be & newlyweds. As a foreign tourist, who is fascinated by Bollywood & Indian clothing, you can visit one of the shops & buy yourself your very own outfit at an affordable price.
The most popular shops there are Pakeezah Plaza & Om Prakash Jawahar Lal. You realize that you are done with shopping once you have restored your appetite for a delicious plate of Chole Bhatoore at The Church Mission Road.
Chole Bhatoore at Church Mission Road, Chandni Chowk
At about a distance of .75 Km from Nayi Sarak is the Church Mission Road where one can get the most delicious plate of the devilish Chole Bhatoore. Devilish, because it cannot get more fried than this. A plate of Chole Bhatoore is the most Delhi it can get. Deep fried bread with a spicy gram mixture is sure to get you salivating. To get the best Chole Bhatoore experience, you should visit one of these two shops – Gole Hatti or Kake Di Hatti.
At less than 1 $USD per plate, you will be surprised at how tasty & filling a single serving is. The people at the shops are very welcoming, especially if you are a tourist. Even for the little amount you pay, you are treated like royalty; a phenomenon that you will rarely experience elsewhere. They completely justify the phrase “Dilli dil waalon ki”which literally translates to “Delhi – the home to people with welcoming hearts”.
The light & sound show at the Red Fort (Lal Quila), Chandni Chowk
Once you are done with another round of food, it’s already 5:30 pm, & its time for another round of shopping. This time, you can visit the Dariba to buy yourself some traditional Indian Jewelry. The Dariba is a hub for buying traditional precious or semi-precious jewelry. The whole street is lined up with big & small jewelers. It seems as if the whole street is built up of blocks in the form of these shops, separated by narrow stairways in-between, leading to higher floors.
At around 7:00 pm, make your way to the Red Fort. You can’t miss the Red Fort; it’s a huge fort that is visible from every corner of Chandni Chowk. At 7:00 pm, one can witness the story of Mughals at their former residence in the form of a light & sound show.
The royal feast –Karims, Chandni Chowk
After the light & sound show, a royal feast awaits right where we started our day from. At one of the most iconic restaurants in Chandni Chowk – The Karims, one can experience the taste of authentic Mughlai food. The history of the restaurant dates back to the 19th century when a person named Haji Karimuddin established the Dhaba. Haji Karimuddin was the son of Mohammed Aziz, the royal cook to the last of the Mughals. The 100-year-old restaurant is renowned for its mutton dishes. With delicacies that include Mutton Korma, the Nihari & the Raan (all dishes comprising of goat meat) complimented by Sheermal – a kind of sweet Indian Flatbread, the place literally screams OLD DELHI.
The ambiance & the aura of the whole place is very Mughal-like. The marble walls, with mezzanine seating & the fragrance of beautifully cooked meat, that will surely leave you wanting for more.
As the night sets in, at around 9:30 pm, with a memorable experience of Delhi, you can make your way back to the Chawri Bazaar Metro Station. Once you have done it all, you can say you will always have a piece of Dilli with you.
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