Enjoy A Shopping Spree
A visit to Delhi would be incomplete without browsing through the streets of Chandni Chowk. A very well known market, this was once visited by merchants from Turkey, China and even Holland. The most prominent bylanes for shopping in this area are:
'Katra' was a separate wing for tradesmen and craftsmen in the same business who lived and worked together. This particular Katra is the cloth bazaar, comprising of silks, satin, crepe, cotton, muslin and any other fabric that one can think of.
Said to be Asia's largest market for electrical goods, it is also known for medical equipment and allopathic medicines. To local people it is known as 'Chooriwali ki Haveli' or the Bangle Seller's Palace.
Originally, this place was the mansion of Begum Sumroo, a Kashmiri 'Nautch' girl with the most accomplished band of dancers in her troupe. The story of her life would actually make a sensational film - a drama of almost epic scale. This bewitching seductress was not only an accomplished dancer and singer but a shrewd businesswoman who knew precisely when to grab an opportunity. She converted herself to Christianity and married two mercenary European adventurers in succession and it was because of them that she ultimately became 'Begum' of a principality at Sardhana, near Meerut.
Check out this place for any kind of traditional embroidery of zari and zardozi work. This street has everything an Indian bride could need for her trousseau.
Once there were rows of jewellers specializing in gold and silver ornaments situated in this lane. Today a few remain, producing silver jewellery. Do visit Gulab Singh Johri Mal, a shop established in 1819. They are well-known manufacturers and exporters of natural 'attars' (perfumes).
Chhatta Chowk Bazaar :
This 'covered bazaar' dates back to the 17th century, to the days when ladies used to practise the 'purdah' (veils) very rigorously. Caravan traders used to lay out their wares in a covered thoroughfare leading up to the Red Fort and moved away to allow the ladies to come and make their choice. Things continued like this till the British turned the fort into a garrison for their troops.
Today the Chhatta Chowk has around forty shops selling artificial and semi-precious jewellery, embroidered bags, hand painted wall hangings and fake 'antiques'.
Other Important Bazaars
Ballimaran: For leatherware and shoes.
Old Lajpat Rai Market: For electrical goods
Moti Bazaar: For shawls and pearls
Tilak Bazaar: For chemicals
Nai Sadak: For Books
Venturing Inside The Bazaars:
Shopping in Chandni Chowk is an exhausting experience but an eye-opener too. It's almost a trip down memory lane with fantastic bargains thrown in.
The lanes of Chandni Chowk are too narrow for vehicles to pass through, so it is better to reach Palika Bazaar in Connaught Place and then take a jeep to Old Delhi. Once there, one can walk it or hire a cycle-rickshaw.