Chandni chowk, is like a second home to me. Yet every time one visits the old city there’s a freshness to it. 29th was last of the Sundays’ that August could offer to us and it was like cherry on the cake when it’s designed for a visit to Chandni Chowk. A bunch of 11 people, some our regulars, others new, looked get-set-go for the walk. Walk started with Digambar Jain Lal Mandir followed by Gauri Shankar temple. Being a bunch of enthusiasts everyone wished to visit inside each of these places. However in a 2 hrs heritage walk it becomes difficult to do so. Still there were quite a few places we managed to explore. I tried to give maximum facts and details about the same. The group already looked very keen to know more as a lot of questions were being asked about the history of these landmarks.
This time, I decided to also focus on by-lanes of Chandni Chowk by by discussing various wholesale markets one can visit to on weekdays including for bicycles, electronics, spectacles, camera, saris etc. The upcoming food walk by Delhi Heritage walks also motivated me to further talk about the variety of foodstuffs one can savour in old Delhi. It is interesting to know that some of these sweet shops present( Ghantewala shahi halwai) had also served in the royal Mughal kitchens.
Gurudwara Sisganj was bustling with activity as usual not only because it was a Sunday but also of some special prayers which were being offered at the fountain chowk where Guru Teg Bahadur was martyred along with his three disciples.
After looking at Sunehri Masjid we stopped at Chunnamal’s haveli passing through the Paranthewali gali. It was a new experience and Photographers’ delight as we walked through merely few feet wide wide interior lanes of old Delhi. Thankfully it was a weekend or one cannot even imagine to find a place to keep his/her foot down, with people, rickshaws , fruit sellers, pedestrians, porters carrying goods all competing for space.Lala Chunnamal’s haveli always become the most fascinating of all land mark when one starts to imagine the number of rooms (more than a 100) it has. It is still a residential place continuing from mid 19th century today owned perhaps by the great great great (keep adding)…grandsons of Chunnamal.
Townhall looks sleepy on Sunday morning…until one knows that here once stood gardens and sarai of Mughal princess Jahanara. The chowk was an octagonal pool reflecting moonlight which gives the street the name Chandni Chowk or moonlight square.After visiting a shivalaya (Lord Shiva’s temple) and Fatehpuri Masjid we came to halt at the highest and again a very fascinating spots which was our last at this journey. The rooftop of Gadodia market –a warehouse for spices , gives a spectacular view of our Dilli 6 . From Metro line of Kashmere gate to minarets of Jama Masjid to far as Turkman gate one can look and can only imagine the numerous histories buried underneath. I hope we were able to uncover some of it in our heritage walk in old Delhi.
(posted by Chhavi Sharma & photos by Rajesh Ranjan, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)