Chandni Chowk is an absolute must visit for anyone travelling and vacationing in Delhi. It is one of those only few ancient market places that still survives in an urban city and was once visited by merchants from China, Turkey and Holland during the bygone era. This market place is dotted with significant by lanes that retail a variety of items.
Famous Market Places in Chandni Chowk
Katra Neel is an important market for craftsmen and tradesmen who work and reside together. It deals with retail of clothing and hence is known as the Cloth bazaar where one can find all designs of clothing in cotton, crepe, muslin, satin, Silk and several other variety of fabrics.
Bhagirath Palace is known as the largest market for electrical goods in Asia including allopathic medicines and medical equipments. Formerly, called as the Choodiwali Hi Haveli or The Palace of Bangle Sellers by the locals, this palace was once the palatial mansion of Begum Samru [Begum Sombre] who was a nautch girl and dancer who later became the ruler of Sardhana in UP and a very high profiled leader.
Kinari Bazaar is famous for its Zari and Zardozi work seen in plenty and a definite favourite amongst the brides to-be. This market place retails any kind of zari and zardosi design clothing that can be found in varied bright colours. An Indian Bride can find all type of wedding clothing and accessories in this street.
Dariba Kalan was once the market place exclusively dedicated to jewellers who specialize in gold and silver ornaments. Today, this street witnesses a few of those numerous jewellery shops that specialise in crafting silver jewellery. A great example of how ancient this market lane is the existence of an 1819 established Gulab Singh Johri Mal Shop, which is famous for their naturally made perfumes and are well known manufacturers and exporters.
Chhatta Chowk Bazaar
Chhatta Chowk Bazaar is a 17th Century covered market place that is a small lane fringed with small shops that retails art works, jewellery, shawls, carpets, ivory items and many more. This lane lies just before the entrance into the Grand Red Fort in Old Delhi and was once used as an area wherein traders from different areas of the country would collect every evening and lay down their goods along the stretch of the lane on either sides and the imperial ladies in pardah [Veil] would visit this lane and browse through the precious items, stones, silk and beautifully embroidered clothing and purchase their choice of goods. Later, after the invasion of the British, this market street was converted into a military base where their British troops were permanently stationed. Post Independence, the market place was restored and today, one will witness around 40 small shops fringed on either side of the lane retailing artificial jewellery, embroidered bags, semi precious stones and jewellery items, hand painted wall hangings, faux antiques and many more. This place is a must visit as the prices are reasonable.
Famous Market Places around Chandni Chowk
Beside the aforementioned Market Places, Chandni Chowk also features a few market areas around its zone such as the Ballimaran Market which is famous for their leather wares and shoes, the Old Lajpat Rai Market known for its electrical goods, the Moti Bazaar popular for pearls and shawls and the Tilak Bazaar known for retailing all type of chemicals.
Chandni Chowk is a wonderful place to visit and one of those few market places in Delhi where goods are very cheap but this does not mean that one cannot bargain, hence, Bargain really hard and shop in abundance as well as thoroughly enjoy your shopping experience here.
While shopping is always a pleasurable activity, one must be wary and keep in mind a few good to know information before venturing into the market places / lanes of Chandni Chowk. This place is extremely crowded on all days accept on Sunday when this place remains closed. It is not clean and the lanes are littered with dirt as usual, however, the optimistic part is the availability of abundant products that are very reasonably priced and is 10 times cheaper than the same products found in other market places in New Delhi. This is an ancient market and will definitely charm you with its old architectural backdrops and buildings and is a fantastic place for bargained goods.
In order to ensure a non hectic and trying experience of shopping in Chandni Chowk, here are a few tips that visitors should keep in mind.
- Ensure that you keep one entire day free for shopping in Chandni Chowk.
- Since the market place is very crowded, it is advisable to park your vehicles in an authorised parking area just before the entrance of the Red Fort and then hire a cycle rickshaw to enter into Chandni Chowk. In fact, walking would be the best source of travel around this area and around its narrow by lanes.
- Ensure to keep your handbags within your person or in your inner pockets as pick pockets lurk around this area and foreigners especially are their prime targets.
- Be wary of touts and agents who try to get you to purchase from specific shops as almost every shopkeeper is a part of the commission racket here. They are skilled in influencing you to buy products at twice or even thrice the original price. Do not get into a conversation with them and say a firm No if needed and it is best to ignore and avoid these agents and touts completely. Shop by your instincts and experience as shopping should be an enjoyable experience and not a dreadful one.
- Since this area of Old Delhi is very conservative, ensure to dress appropriately in order to avoid unforeseen situations and eve teasing. Avoid short dresses and short pants.