Chandni Chowk or ‘moonlight square’ is the main thoroughfare in old Delhi. So much so, that the name is sometimes used synonymously with purani dilli or for the entire old city. The heritage walk in Chandni Chowk starts from the Digamber Jain Lal Mandir, the oldest Jain temple here. The shrine is contemporary to Shahjahan’s time but most of the temple building dates to mid-18th century. Right next to it is the Gauri Shankar temple, which was a small shrine to start with, in the 18th century, but now is one of the most prominent landmarks in the area. On the other side of the road are flower shops selling dhatura (a poisonous weed) and bel (fruit with a hard outer shell) which are especially offered to Lord Shiva. Continue Reading This Post
When we think of old Delhi, there are many cliches about its character. We like our old cities to look a certain way: the chaos, the crowd, the noise, and yet the seeming ease with which every thing operates. Yes, on the surface perhaps all old cities are like that, and our purani dilli is no different. Yet, there is more to these that catches the eye. Cities, even historic ones, change rapidly, and often these changes come and go without us noticing them. This heritage walk to the old city tries to capture a little bit of all of this: the life of the city, what is typical and what lies beneath the typical.
We start our heritage walk just outside the Red Fort. The fort was the palace complex of Shahjahan, and what is today the purani dilli for us, was Shahjahanabad, the capital city of the Mughals in the 17th century. As we step into Chandni Chowk, we are greeted by two monumental temples, the Digamber Jain Lal Mandir in red sandstone and the Gauri Shankar temple in white. There is a small flower market right across the road which caters to the devotees who come in and pray. This entire land was once the estate of Begam Samru. Orignially a dancing girl from Kashmir she went on to marry a European, Walter Reinhard and covnverted to Christianity. She is particularly known for establishing the church at Sardana, near Meerut. Today whatever little of her mansion remains, has become part of Lala Bhagirath market. Continue Reading This Post
It is a truism that the city never sleeps. Yet this restless, constant activity is what always amazes us. This was my first thought as we gathered for a heritage walk in old Delhi this Sunday morning. Old Delhi is known for many things: the grandeur of the Mughals, the street food, the bazaars, its havelis and we hoped to capture a little bit of all of this as we rambled through its streets.
Our walk starts at Digamber Jain Lal Mandir, the oldest Jain temple here, and well known for its charitable bird hospital. Next to it is the Gauri Shankar temple, built by a Maratha nobleman. We walked on the main street of Chandni Chowk till the fountain. This roundabout is surrounded by historical landmarks. Continue Reading This Post
A heritage walk in old Delhi evokes all kinds of response one can think of: nostalgia for lost glory; hunger for authentic food; and wonder at the systematic chaos that is the old city, sometimes combined with a feeling of impending doom! Our heritage trail this Sunday morning walk was a mixture of all of this. We start our walking tour at Digamber Jain Lal Mandir, the one famous for its bird hospital. With Red Fort forming the backdrop, we follow the main street of Chandni Chowk right up to the Sisganj gurudwara. On the way is Gauri Shankar temple, SBI buiding, Dariba Kalan and its famous jalebi shop, Central Baptish Church. The fountain chowk where Sisganj stands has much more to it: it marks the spot where Guru Teg Bahadur’s followers were tortured and killed and there is a museum dedicated to their memory. The chowk also has the Sunehri Masjid where the notorious raider Nadir Shah stood to watch the massacre of citizens of Delhi. The Ghantewala Shahi halwai was originally located at the chowk. We leave the main street at Parathewali Gali and entre the lane famous for its shops selling stuffed fried bread (parathas). Continue Reading This Post
The Chandni Chowk heritage walk was unusual this weekend…due to Independence day security measures the previous week, we held the walk in the following weekend, an in evening. We were always apprehensive of the notorious crowds and chaos of the bazaar!!!!!!!…still went ahead taking it as a challenge and also, to savour old Delhi in it’s true colors.
The city of Shahjahanabad was built in mid 17th century with Red fort as the king’s palace and Chandni Chowk laid specially for Shah Jahan’s daughter, Jahanara, who was very fond of jewellery! There were also gardens laid in her name in the centre of baazar where currently the Town Hall and Old Delhi Railway Station stand…It’s the month of Ramzan, and we were close to the time of iftaar as we passed by several food shops filled with people… Parathewali gali, pakoras all along the way, sweets of shapes and sizes, dates…
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