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India - Delhi - Shopping

Chandini Chowk & Around

¤ A Major Shopping Hub of Delhi

Chandini Chowk 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 Asia’s largest market for electrical goods, it is also known for medical equipment and allopathic medicines. Locals know this as Chooriwali ki Haveli (The Bangle Seller’s 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 don’t get taken in.)


¤ Other Bazaars Around Chandni Chowk

Ballimaran : For leatherware and shoes.
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 there’s 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 don’t want to end up paying double the price. Say a polite but firm ‘no’ if anyone tries to influence you unnecessarily. Don’t stand there and get into a dialogue with them - just move away. They’ll chase you a few paces and you’ll 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 dresses.--Bargain hard.



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