Old Delhi’s one of the oldest and busiest markets, the Chandni Chowk is a shopper’s paradise. Located in proximity to the Old Delhi Railway Station and encircled by the Red Fort, one of the biggest wholesale markets has three main segments- Urdu Bazar, Johri bazar and Fatepuri Bazar- which were built in the 17thcentury.
This makes Chandni Chowk a must-visit place for travelers and tourists because of the variety and shopping options in terms of food delicacies with several types of sweets and sarees with chikan and Zari. Some shops over here are over 100 years old, serving delicious foods, especially street vendors selling chaats. The Lanes of Delhi 6 such as Paranthe Wali Gali have been gaining traction since its inception. If you happen to be in Jama Masjid, then you must pay a visit to Kareem’s, Aslam’s and Qureshi’s. In case you want to indulge in some local jalebis fried in pure ghee then this is the place for you.
Other than these, the narrow lanes also have shops to purchase books, garments, consumer goods, electronics, shoes and other leather products. At the southern end, there are about 100 shops selling metallic and wooden statues, sculptures, bells and handcrafted products. Nai Sarak happens to be a wholesale market for stationery, books, paper and decorative materials. Chawri Bazar, on the other hand, is a big market offering greeting and wedding cards apart from plumbing, sanitary ware and other accessories. In short, Chandni Chowk is a one-stop shopping destination for people belonging to any age with diverse interests.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the sellers across these markets have been facing losses and moreover, the Chandni Chowk Road is currently under redevelopment. While the markets are gradually getting operational, the area has been marked as a non-motorised zone from 9 am to 9 pm, which might cause inconvenience to the visitors. However, motor vehicles are allowed to enter only during an emergency.
As per the gazette notification released on June 14, no motor vehicle shall be allowed to take the main Chandni Chowk Road from Red Fort to Fatehpuri Mosque from 9 am to 9 pm on all days.
The 1.3-km road has been under renovation since December 1, 2018, and was supposed to be completed by November 2020, but kept getting delayed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The notification indicates that “The civic agencies and road maintaining/owning agencies shall erect corresponding informatory signboards citing the restrictions in the area for the information and convenience of all concerned.”
However, it clarified that the restrictions will not be applicable in the case of emergencies for fire tenders, ambulances, hearse van and vehicles carrying pregnant women or other patients.
Some stretches such as H.C Sen Marg up to Jubli Cinema Cut, Rai Kedarnath Marg towards main Chandni Chowk Road up to T-point Rai Kedarnath Marg, Kaccha Bagh Road including Chandni Chowk Metro Station and Ramjas Sr. Secondary School No.3 up to main Chandni Chowk Road, a road leading to main Chandni Chowk Road etc. will also be free to commute through.
Some other roads that do not fall in restricted areas are Netaji Subhash Marg, Jama Masjid Road up to Chawri Bazar Road crossing, Lal Kaun Road up to T-point Katra Bariyan Road up to Fatehpuri Mosque T-Point, and Chawri Bazar Road up to Hauz Qazi Chowk.
Chandni Chowk is not merely Delhi’s but also the country’s one of the oldest and major markets. However, traffic has been a major issue on the busy Chandni Chowk Road.
At the beginning of this year, the Delhi government said the beautification project of Chandni Chowk has been completed at an estimated cost of Rs 99 crore. “No stone has been left unturned to improve the beauty of the historical site,” it mentioned.
“Therefore, be it using granite tiles or planting small and big plants on both sides of the road, the authorities did a host of things to make Chandni Chowk look “green and beautiful” and “a sight to behold,” the government added.
Elaborating on the movements of non-motorised vehicles, it said that 5 to 10 metres wide pavement has been made on either side of the road. There is also a 2.5-metre footpath on both sides of the road. Electric vehicles are permitted to ply on the road for the convenience of senior citizens. Besides, during the redevelopment process, the requirements of the disabled have also been taken care of. Despite all the restrictions, this place in Old Delhi can still give a lot of beautiful memories to its visitors.