The old city never rests…no matter how early one lands there…it is buzzing with activity. We timed this heritage walk a little earlier than usual hoping to escape the heat and the noise but the city beat us to it, yet again! The Digamber Jain Lal Mandir was the starting point. It is the oldest Jain shrine here and is unique for having a charitable bird hospital in its premises. Adjacent to it is the Gauri Shankar temple, a very important shrine for the Hindus dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are a number of people selling dhatura (a poisonous weed) which is particularly offered to Shiva. Across the road are more shops selling flowers. A little ahead is the Peare Lal building, an example of colonial architecture. There are similar buildings all along the Chandni Chowk.
Food was top most on all our minds as we explored the area. Dariba Kalan was the next stop and we promised ourselves t o come back for the jalebis sold in the shop at the entrance to the street. Next stop was fountain chowk with Sisganj gurudwara, Sunheri masjid and Ghantewala halwai (once again food!) around the chowk. Parathewali gali (!) famous for its stuffed parathas is just little ahead. We walked towards Town Hall and then to Lala Chunnamal’s haveli. The haveli is above the cloth market of Katra Neel. Katra Neel also has numerous shivalayas (small shrines dedicated to Shiva) and we visited one of them. Fatehpuri Masjid was next point. It marks the end of the street of Chandni Chowk which starts from Lahori Gate of the Red Fort. Chaina Ram’s shop famous for its Karachi halwa is bang next to it…so are several other shops selling popular food items like samosa, chhole-bhature, lassi. Ghalib’s haveli was the final stop and we all eagerly made our way to Natraj’s shop famous for its dahi-bhalle. Parathas were next on the list.