Old Delhi, walled city of New Delhi was founded as Shahjahanabad by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in 1639.
It was once filled with mansions of nobles and members of the royal court,
along with elegant mosques and gardens.
Today, despite having become extremely crowded and dilapidated, it still serves as the
symbolic heart of the metropolitan city.
Chandni Chowk, originally meaning moonlit square or market, is one of the oldest and busiest markets in
Built in 17th century by the Mughal emperor of India Shah Jahan.
This central bazaar was designed by his daughter Jahanara Begum.
Upon her death, Aurangzeb (brother) gave her the posthumous title: Sahibat-uz-Zamani (Mistress of the Age).
Jahanara is buried in a tomb in the Nizamuddin Dargah complex in New Delhi,
which is considered “remarkable for its simplicity”.
The inscription on the tomb reads as follows:
Allah is the Living, the Sustaining.
Let no one cover my grave except with greenery,
For this very grass suffices as a tomb cover for the poor.
The mortal simplistic Princess Jahanara,
Disciple of the Khwaja Moin-ud-Din Chishti,
Daughter of Shah Jahan the Conqueror
May Allah illuminate his proof.
1092 [1681 AD]
Chandni Chowk was once divided by canals (now closed) to reflect moonlight, and it remains one of India’s largest wholesale markets.
Chawri Bazar is a road which has Jama Masjid on one end and Hauz Qazi on the other end.
Now there is a metro station at Hauz Quazi by the name of Chawri Bazar.
The metro station itself is different than any other metro station in Delhi. It is quiet with tunnels between the two parallel platforms.
Since my college days I am visiting Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazaar, and I must tell you that every time I have found something which has completely astonished me.
I love going there for the raw material, fabric, paper, tools and food.
Everytime you will find new shops, new roads and new ideas standing in the oldest market of New Delhi.
Coming out of the metro station, you just need to walk and walk straight towards Jama Masjid.
Chawri Bazaar in 1870 (left) and Now
On the way, you will find rickshaws, chaiwallas, rickshaw pullers, pan stalls etc.
The road start with Brass hardware shops to Wedding Cards wholesalers to Paper merchant shops.
People shouting on each other, cracking jokes and if you have a camera then definitely looking at you.
You never know someone can even give you a perfect pose for a perfect shot.
I personally like the people here, and talking to them has always been a learning experience for me.
Early morning is the best time for photographers. You can capture the Old Buildings easily unlike during peak season. It was my personal experience after I did a photo walk during my tenure with Lomography.
It was 2012, when I was working on my very first independent assignment ‘Thread Fantasy’ and I found this narrow congested road ‘Chatta Shahji’ going inside from Chawri Bazaar to Kinari Bazaar.
From beautiful wedding cards to attractive wallpapers to nice greetings to any types of papers required for any use, everything is available here in retail as well as in wholesale.
The shop from where I get my paper .
I visit this market very often and suggest everyone coming to New Delhi to visit
Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazaar.
Chandni Chowk is losing its heritage beauty day by day and renovation is the next impossible thing because of the over population.
“Once through this ruined city did I pass
I espied a lonely bird on a bough and asked
‘What knowest thou of this wilderness?’
It replied: ‘I can sum it up in two words:
-Khushwant Singh (Delhi)
But for all those who have read about the history of Old Delhi should visit these places and find their own Chandni Chowk like I do.