It’s foggy & very cold but no let up on the traffic in old Delhi. We started the walk amidst blaring of horns and shouts of everybody who happened to be on the street. The Red Fort was only an outline in the winter fog. The Digamber Jain Lal mandir, which happens to be the oldest Jain temple in old Delhi & Gauri Shankar temple were to our left. Across the road as the shops selling flowers & other offering made to the temple including dhatura (a poisonous weed). This entire area right up to where the SBI building on Chandni Chowk is was the estate of Began Sumroo. It is now known by the name of Bhagirath place is one of the largest markets of duplicate electric goods. A long queue of poor were swatting on the roadside waiting to be fed by Gurudwara Sisganj’s langar (community kitchen) service. Sisganj is of the holiest Sikh shrines in India associated with the martyrdom of the 9the guru, Teg Bahadur. A fountain marks the place where the Guru & his followers were martyred. Next to the gurudwara is the Sunheri masjid (from where Nadir Shah watched the massacre of Delhi’s population). Ghantewala halwai, probably the oldest traditional sweet maker in the city of Delhi was initially located opposite the Sunheri masjid. Now they have shifted to another location in Chandni Chowk and also moved with the times; it is now possible to order sweets online! Nearby is the parathewali gali, famous for its stuffed fried breads. The open space before Town Hall was the location of the pool which reflected moonlight, hence the name ‘Chandni Chowk’ which means ‘moonlight square’. A little ahead is Katra Neel and Chunna Mal’s haveli. Katra Neel also houses several shivalayas (small shrines for God Shiva). Fatehpuri Masjid is at the end of the street. There are several rooms all around the courtyard and we could see classes being held there. Ghalib’s haveli which was the last stop was in news recently. Some wedding party was held here (which is illegal in such a government protected memorial) which made front page news.
(posted by Rajesh Ranjan & Kanika Singh, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)