Chandini Chowk one of India's largest wholesale markets in Delhi belongs to the period of Shah Jahan and was built in the 17the century. The actual meaning of Chandini Chowk is "Moonlit square" which was initially built by Shah Jahan and designed and enhanced by his daughter Jahan Ara where she divided the square by canals to reflect the moon light. This is the main characteristic which added to the name of the place. Earlier Chandini Chowk was situated in Old Delhi but now after the expansion and the various changes Chandini Chowk is moved on to the central part of the North Delhi.
This is one of the busiest and the oldest wholesale market in Delhi which is always crowded with people. Another reason behind the grandest name of Chandini is that during the period of Shah Jahan this bazaar was famous for its silver merchants and the word "Chandini" in Hindi refers to silver. This grand market of Delhi has lot of history associated to it because it is through Chandini Chowk that the Mughal imperial procession used to pass through. After the coming of the British into the country they built Delhi town hall in 1863.
Thebazaar of Chandini Chowk passes through the center of the walled city which extends from the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid. The Chandini Chowk still retains its historical character in spite of the modern developments. When carefully studied Chandini Chowk will be portioned into three sections, the first one situated near Gurdwara Shish Ganj which extends from Lahori Gate to Chowk Kotwali and is also referred as Urd bazaar which was the encampment market.The second one extended from Chowk Kotwali to Chandini Chowk and was initially referred to the exact square with the shimmering pool of the moon light. But during the early 1960's this place was demolished and a clock tower was erected in this place.
Chandini Chowk buzzes with activity:The third division of Chandini Chowk was the Johri Bazaar initially which extended from Chandni Chowk to Fatehpuri Masjid and is now known as the Fatehpuri Bazar.The present market of Chandini Chowk is not what it was earlier, it has grown through ages and prospered to excellence. It's a walk through, reflects the development in the past three centuries. This market is one place in Delhi which always buzzes with life.
It's like electric waves passing through Chandini Chowk for if we remain stable in a place the moving people will make us swarm to the other end of the market. Chandini Chowk can be even compared to a living museum for it is one the busiest and crowded market in India and the entire world too. The beauty of the historical ruins is matched with the latest technology of shops in Chandini Chowk which flicker the interest to shop around. There are very narrow pavements on both the sides where anything can happen like car or a tram can run over a cow for cows take free walk in the streets of Chandini Chowk.
Oldest Bazaar with roadside eateries too:here are no doors or gates to most of the shops here and we can literally see a car or a vehicle creeping with the same speed as that of paddle Rickshaws and people on the pavement. Chandini Chowk which takes the credit of being one of the oldest bazaars in India houses many attraction in its confining limits. There are innumerable shops in this area which are being run for generations and generations. The bazaar of Chandini Chowk is in such a way that if we get to pass on a shop which sells hardwares the immediate next shop would be a one selling textiles like kurtas and saris.
Most of the shops still remain with its original imbue like a Parantha at the Paranthawala gully or Jellibis at the Jellibiwalla has not tried any change over the past decades with only trying to maintain their trademark resulted in spewing with their fame.Chandini Chowk can also be defined as a place with road side eateries and temples. Chandini Chowk attracts both the local crowd and the tourists with its good food and great temples like Jama Masjid. Anybody visiting Chandini Chowk will never miss out on the delicacies which are sold on the pavement shops for then the shopping stands incomplete.
Chandhini Chowk- a secular place as well:Most of the eatery shops are mobile with just a stand along with small pan shops. There are number of small lanes which keeps going on and on with no dead ends but just getting interconnected through webs of small alleys. The lanes here are very arrow. There are different places of worship for people of different beliefs like Sis Ganj Gurudwara, Christian Central Baptist Church and Digamber Jain Temple stand on the same road. Jama Masjid stands not too far from the road which is opposite to the Red Fort.
An Entertaining Bazaar:It is an optical and spectacular entertaining bazaar which cannot be seen anywhere else with centuries old temples and shops selling the latest goods. A walk down the gullies of the Chandini Chowk promises to witness from coin sellers to various characters who sit on the road side digging their wares waiting for some kind of profession for the day. Thus before entering into the market of Chandini Chowk get ready to be impeded. Chandini Chowk is also famous for the annual Independence Day celebration at Lal Quila just opposite to the market place during which thousands of people flock the area.
Many Bollywood film makers are also very much interested in Chandini Chowk for somehow they see to that the market gets a role to be played in the movie. Some of the most notable movies to be mentioned are 'Black and White', 'Chandini Chowk to China' and Delli-6 were shot in Chandini Chowk.The shops in the market of Chandini Chowk are more of Indian which includes a wide range of textile collection, authentic Indian food, delicacies and sweet varieties. Anything under the sky is available in Chandini Chowk with shops selling selling books, clothing, shoes and leather goods, electronic gadgets and consumer goods.
Chandhini Chowk- a congested bazaar :Chandini Chowk is a very congested area with most of the streets and lanes being very narrow. Chandini Chowk takes the credit of housing the original Haldirams shop. Some of the other commonly seen sweets on the pavements are the jalebis which are freshly made by frying in clarified butter. The small lanes taking diversion from the man streets have the biggest wholesale markets of Delhi. There are a lot of home furnishing wholesale shops with both wholesale fabrics which is modified according to the taste of individuals and also readymade items for adorning the houses.
The main market for stationary items and other small decorative things are situated in the Nai sarak market. Some of the leading brands which deal with plastic folders like Solo and Shirpa are situated in Chandini Chowk. Lot of shops which exclusively assign with bridal Saris and Lehengas like DIVASA by Devta Apparels Pvt. Ltd jogiwara, Arun Sarees and Nandlal Silk Mills are located in Nai Sarak. Next to the Tilak market is the Lal Kaun market which deals with wholesale hardwares, industrial chemicals and hotel kitchen equipments. Chandini Chowk also houses some of the most famous jewellery shops of Delhi in Dariba where there are a number of shops for silver and Gold jewellery. Hare Ram Hare Krishna and MM Jewellers is worth mentioning.
Jewellery shops and Chor Bazaar :Apart from the jewellery shops there are lot of shops here which deals with perfumes. There is a bazaar for spices namely Khari Baoli in Chandini Chowk. Spices acted as one of the major connecting factor between India and the Western countries. The Chor bazaar here literally means "Thieves' Market" which sells lot of electronic gadgets and smuggled goods. However no quality assurance can be given for the products which are sold in the Chor bazaar.
There is a special bazaar named Chhatta Chowk which is specifically meant for ladies in veil and there are about 40-odd shops selling artificial and semi-precious jewellery, embroidered bags, hand-painted wall hangings and 'antiques' with dubious authenticity.Chandini Chowk also takes the credit of being visited by merchants from Turkey, China and even Holland.Kinari Bazaar is the best place to look for zari and zardozi trimmings and tinsel.
Katra Neel and Bhagirath Palace :Katra neel is another major bazaar for textiles which offers a wide variety of fabric collection like silks, satin, crepe, cotton and muslin. One of Asia's biggest markets for electrical goods, medical equipment and allopathic medicines is the Bhagirath Palace in Chandini Chowk. The name Moti bazaar itself confines that pearls and shawls are quite famous in this area. Nobody will ever go without noticing the most famous confectioners, eating joints and restaurants situated in and around Chandini Chowk.
Restaurants and Hotels in and Around Chandhini Chowk:Some of the very old but still running strong mitaiwalla's for generations are The Ghantewala Halwai, established in 1790, Natraj’s Dahi Bhalle, established in 1940,The jalebi wala, Kanwarji Bhagirathmal Dalbijiwallah established in mid-19th century.
Chaatwallah fruit chaat established in 1923, Bikaner Sweet Shop, famous for rasmalai, Gianiji ka Falooda, famous for Rabri Falooda, established around 1947, Paranthewali Gali with paratha shops from 1875-1886, Meghraj and Sons, since the 1950s, Chainaram, established in 1948 and Annapurna Bhandar is popular for Bengali sweets.