Chandini Chowk & Around
¤ A Major Shopping Hub of
A visit to Delhi would be incomplete without a trip to Chandini Chowk.
A very well known market, this was once visited by merchants from
Turkey, China and even Holland.
Some of the more important bylanes now are listed below.
¤ Katra Neel
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. Silk, satin, crepe, cotton, muslin and any other fabric
you can think of.
¤ Bhagirath Palace
Said to be Asias largest market for electrical goods, it is
also known for medical equipment and allopathic medicines. Locals know
this as Chooriwali ki Haveli (The Bangle Sellers Palace). This
was originally 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 to Christianity
and married two mercenary European adventurers in succession and it
was thanks to them that she ultimately became Begum of a
principality at Sardhana, near Meerut.
¤ Kinari Bazaar
Check this place out for any kind of zari and zardozi work - the
sheer burst of colour will overwhelm you. This street has everything
an Indian bride could need for her trousseau.
¤ Dariba Kalan
Once upon a long, long time ago, there were rows of jewellers
specializing in gold and silver ornaments 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. (They are definitely not originals, so
dont get taken in.)
¤ Other Bazaars Around Chandni Chowk
Ballimaran : For leatherware
Old Lajpat Rai Market : For electrical goods
Moti Bazar : For shawls and pearls
Tilak Bazar : For chemicals
Note : Before you venture into Chandini Chowk remember that it
can be an exhausting and trying experience. You may find it too
crowded, dirty, hot and smelly. But theres also a positive side
it is an eye-opening experience, almost a trip down memory lane with
fantastic bargains thrown in.
¤ Here are some tips to make the trip as painless as possible
Keep one whole day free for the trip.
The the lanes of Chandini 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. The ticket costs Rs 5. Once there, you
can walk it or hire a cycle-rickshaw.
Watch your handbag and rucksack it is better not to take the
kind that has too many pockets and zips. Pickpockets lurk all over the
place and foreigners are prime targets. Remember each dollar is worth
almost 50 rupees. Their favourite hunting grounds: crowded DTC buses,
small lanes and bustling markets.
Stay away from touts. Almost every other shopkeeper is a part of the
commission racket in this country. So watch out, if you dont
want to end up paying double the price. Say a polite but firm no
if anyone tries to influence you unnecessarily. Dont stand there
and get into a dialogue with them - just move away. Theyll chase
you a few paces and youll have to listen to their sales spiel
but the best way to get rid of touts is to simply ignore them. Just be
as deaf as an adder.
Old Delhi is a very conservative place, be sure to be conservatively
dressed when you go there. If you wish to avoid eve teasing and having
men bump into you accidently, avoid mini skirts and short
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