Spotlight: Chandni Chowk

Allison Sodha

Established by Mughal Emporor Shah Jahan in 1650 AD, Chandni Chowk is considered one of the oldest and busiest street markets in Old Delhi (Shajahanabad). The street is positioned between two important historical sites: the Red Fort (Lal Qila) and Fatehpur Masjid, a 17th century mosque. Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, is also located within walking distance.

Chandni Chowk hosts an impressive mix of shops that specialize in silk, silver, crafts, spices, and leather goods. There are renowned restaurants, food stands, and sweet shops, including the original Haldiram's, Meghraj and Sons, Bikaner Sweet Shop and Ghantewala Halwai. The street also houses several religious shrines that present a genuine cultural harmony: Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir and Bird Sanctuary, Gauri Sh

ankar Hindu Temple, Sikh Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib, and Central Baptist Church. Nestled around Chandni Chowk are historic private residences and a labyrinth of small streets and neighborhoods. As a traveler, it is easy to become lost in the wondrous flurry of activity.

An important note for tourists: Chandni Chowk has been termed The Most Crowded Street in Asia. The side streets are exceptionally narrow and personal space is rare. If you prefer less congestion, consider viewing the hustle and bustle from a distance or visiting an alternate marketplace. Also, Chandni Chowk is closed on Sundays.

Topics: India, Shopping, Delhi, History

Allison Sodha

Written by Allison Sodha

As the President of Sodha Travel and author of Go! Girl Guides India, Allison has spent almost two decades exploring South Asia. She has a passion for creating experiences fueled by a deeper understanding of local communities.