In the heart of Delhi lies Old Delhi, the walled city founded as ‘Shahjahanabad’ by the Mughal emperor Shahajahan. Today, Old Delhi is a bustling place, a symbolic heart of metropolitan Delhi and very much a separate world and a vibrant living history.
Old Delhi is also home to some of the most famous landmarks in Delhi – Chandni chowk(the oldest commercial market running since 17th century),Sisganj Gurdwara, Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Chawri Bazar and many more
I have been to some of these places many times and simply loved the vibe of these areas, not to mention the yummilicious street food available here!!
But since a long time, I wanted to tour the inside of Old Delhi, beyond the markets and into the bylanes, into the small gullies and see Delhi as it was many years back, see the growth of Delhi(indeed as many great institutions were born here)….but never got around to it, coz it’s impossible not to get lost without someone who truly knows the insides of this incredible place….
My wish was fulfilled some time back when I joined a food walk through Old Delhi…and the experience was wonderful. I share here some wonderful moments and experiences of our walk in Old Delhi.
Our walk started at Chawri Bazar and passed through Jama Masjid, Dariba Kalan, Kinari Bazar and ended in Chandni Chowk.
Chawri Bazar, today is a specialized wholesale market of brass, copper and paper products. Back in the 19th centruy, it was popularly known for its dancing girls and courtesans frequented by nobility and rich alike.
Being a traders market, it also has all the typical delhi street food stalls, which sell totally heavenly stuff!!
After having some of the yummy street food(we had chaat, gol gappe, daulat ki chaat, fruit sandwich and kulle di chaat…quite a lot actually!!), we headed to the Jama Masjid.
Jama Masjid is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and completed in the year 1658 AD, it is the largest and best-known mosque in India. It lies at the origin of a very busy central street of Old Delhi on the Chawri Bazar Road.
We reached here just in time for sunset, and it was a lovely experience…wind blowing gently, the crowds, the birds..I was glad that I was finally here!!
We then proceeded to walk into the residential area of Dariba Kalan, into Kinari Bazar. This portion of the walk was filled with lovely discoveries, the small gullies, the old houses and some surprises…
One of discoveries we made was the origin of the legendary Delhi college St. Stephen’s , which started here in Sheesh Mahal, a haveli in Dariba Kalan.
Our final stop was Chandni chowk, which is one place I have been to often….it is one place every delhi bride-to-be(or groom-to-be) visits for trousseau shopping. This place also has some historical monuments such as Sisganj Gurdwara, Digambar Jain Temple and Red Fort.
Since this was a food walk, it ended with some yummy street food again!!
And talking about food, boy did we all hog!!…and here’s how!!
Ofcourse, I would be going to Old Delhi again and again for the food and the shopping!! It happens to be one of my favorite places in Delhi after all!!
There are a number of individuals/tour groups conducting walks through old delhi. I took the walk with Rahul Nainwal of Viawalks, found his walk to be the perfect mix of food, history and fun!!