Temperature continues to take a dip while we snuggle deeper into our rajais to survive the world-famous “Dilli ki Sardi”. But here’s a thought, why don’t we embrace the winters on a typical Puraani dilli note? This winters, let’s brave the cold and explore the lanes of former Mughal capital, Dilli 6. Historically filled with mansions of nobles and members of the royal court, along with elegant mosques and gardens Old Delhi, despite being crowded and dilapidated today, still serves as the symbolic heart of metropolitan Delhi.
Purani Dilli, today has become the hub for people wanting to shop old traditional clothes and jewellery, eat brilliant desi food and of course, have a photo walk because of the rare sights and beautiful hidden buildings and doors one might find. While it maybe a little confusing to find your way around Old Delhi at first, it is best to take someone who knows the place. Better yet, let your explorer’s soul take over and head onto those streets on your own. It is a place explored on foot. So this week on Niki’s recommendations, we tell you all that you can see and do in Old Delhi, during this magical time of the year.
Food is one of the major reasons for anyone to visit Old Delhi. One can find themselves lost in narrow lanes, however a comforting smell of food will always be present. From top notch meat in mostly Mughlai preparations, to parathe, chaats, kulfis and sweets , Old Delhi never fails to surprise. The famous Paranthe Wali Gali is a narrow street located in Chandni Chowk and has a series of shops selling parathas that are served with mint chutney, tamarind chutney, pickles, and curries. Over 30 variety of parathas are available. After some yummy parathas, head to any street vendors in Chawri Bazaar or Chandini Chowk that sell chaat- tikka, dahi bhalle etc.
The Ghantewala Halwai is one of the oldest sweet shops in India and is famous for its sohan halwa and Karachi halwa to make sure your post meal sweet craving is met. For non-vegetarians, Kareem’s near Jama Masjid is the ideal location to have kebabs and mutton and a famous Aslam Butter Chicken, sells creamy chicken tikka in a scrumptious buttery sauce.
The bazaars here are mostly always crowded and sell everything from stationary to jewellery to ethnic clothes to books. It is a shopper’s paradise especially if you’re one to bargain and if you really are eyeing exclusive yet beautiful things. Khari Baoli, Asia’s largest spice market is located right in Old Delhi and offers an extravagant variety of spices, dry fruits, nuts, herbs etc at reasonable prices.
Kinari Bazaar offers numerous shops that sell sequins, zari borders, latkans, buttons and everything else that you need to make your outfit stand out. Just off Kinari Bazaar, there’s also a cluster of nine, teal-coloured havelis called Naugraha. These haveli give a very family run business vibe and sell silver jewellery starting at INR 1,000. Chawri Bazaar is famous for brass and copper articles, and wedding cards. One can also find various antique stores in Chawri Bazaar.
Pertaining to the fact that Old Delhi was founded by a Mughal Emperor, the architecture is a sight to the eyes looking at buildings all day. Red Fort is at the focal point of Old Delhi and like the name suggests, is red in color. It was constructed in 1648 by Shah Jahan and It was announced a UNESCO World heritage site in 2007.
Jama Masjid, located in Chandni Chowk, is one of the largest mosques in India. It was also built Shah Jahan but between 1644 and 1656. The courtyard can accommodate 25,000 people and The Red Fort stands right opposite to Jama Masjid.
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