Top 10 things to do in chandni chowk, delhi www.nooranandchawla.com

Hi everyone, this past winter I visited Chandni Chowk three times. Each time I learnt something new and saw something different. I have visited this tourist hub numerous times before, but have never gotten around to writing about it, and this seems a good time to do so.

Chandni Chowk used to be the centre of commerce and industry during the Mughal era. Once the British came to power, they built Lutyen’s or New Delhi, yet Chandni Chowk continued to attract thousands of shoppers. To this day, it is the go-to destination for locals who want particular items in bulk, or need something traditional and intricate.

In addition to being a shopper’s paradise, Chandni Chowk is a foodie’s delight. If you are planning to visit as a tourist, the entire experience can be quite overwhelming! Don’t worry though, I’m here to make your job easy for you. Read on to know the top 10 things you must do in Chandni Chowk, Delhi.

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  1. TAKE A GUIDED HERITAGE WALK

Despite having visited Chandni Chowk with friends and family members numerous times, I only learnt of its fascinating history during my most recent visit, where I was part of a group led by historian Swapna Liddle, on a guided heritage walk. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Though Ms. Liddle officially conducts walks through INTACH, there are many other groups that offer their own curated walks. It is a pleasure to explore the streets while getting some insight and perspective on its glorious past.

Historian Swapna Liddle; the group on the guided walk

  1. TANTALISE YOUR TASTE BUDS WITH THE BEST STREET FOOD

This one is a no-brainer! There is really no point visiting Chandni Chowk without sampling the various street-food delicacies on offer. The following joints should be on your list, whether you visit just once or multiple times:

  • Shiv Misthan Bhandar for Aloo Puri (Address: 375, Kucha Ghasi Ram)
  • Natraj Dahi Bhalla Corner for Chaat
  • Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan OR Pt. Babu Ram Devi Dayal for Parathas (Address: Parathe Wali Gali)
  • Karim’s for all kinds of non-vegetarian delicacies
  • Cool Point Shahi Tukda for an old-school Mughal dessert of the same name
  • Old Famous Jalebi Wala for Jalebis (Address: 1795, Dariba Corner)

Chandni Chowk is a foodie’s paradise!

  1. SHOP FOR DESIGNER OUTFITS AT THROWAWAY PRICES

Chandni Chowk is undoubtedly a one-stop-shop for people who are about to get married. Numerous stores offer heavily embellished traditional wedding outfits, and some even copy designer ones, at a fraction of the original price! Even if you don’t buy an outfit at any of the stores, it’s worth visiting to see what’s trending and scout options before committing to one outfit.

In addition, you can also buy other wedding-related paraphernalia at Kinari Bazaar. Everything you need is available in a single market- from invitation cards to gift boxes and mithai.

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Buy wedding-related paraphernalia at Kinari Bazaar

  1. INVEST IN STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL JEWELLERY

Dariba Kalan was the original jeweller’s market and continues to be the preferred destination for buying gold and silver jewellery, by the citizens of Delhi. In fact, people usually have their own select family jewellers based in Chandni Chowk, whom they call them home for personalised visits.

If you don’t have the budget to spend exorbitant amounts of money on real jewellery, you can select from a variety of costume jewellery as well. These are available in traditional Indian or contemporary modern styles.IMG_9829

I just love everything Chandni Chowk has to offer!

  1. COLLECT DRY FRUITS AND EXOTIC SPICES TO STOCK AT HOME

Khari Baoli is the place to buy wholesale dry fruits, nuts and exotic spices. Most businesses that rely on these items, source them from this market. In fact, even restaurants frequent this place to pick the best additions to their cocktail and food menus!

It is also a great place to buy dry fruits and nuts for bulk gifting during weddings, or as corporate gifts.

Khari Baoli is a haven for dry fruits and nuts

  1. ENJOY LUXURY TEA AND COFFEE

Mehar Chand and Sons has sold dry fruit and spices in Khari Baoli for years. When Anil Kumar began running the wholesale shop, he converted a part of the store into an exclusive luxury tea and coffee studio. You can buy premium tea leaves or bags, sourced from across India. If you’re feeling spendy, you can invest in the ‘Maharaja Tea’, which will set you back a few thousand rupees!

Try some exotic teas at Mehar Chand and Sons

  1. PAY RESPECTS AT MULTI-RELIGIOUS SITES

Though it began as the capital of a Muslim empire, Chandni Chowk is the best example of the peaceful coexistence of all religions. You can visit the stunningly beautiful Jama Masjid, the seat of Islam in Delhi, pay respects and enjoy karah parshad at the historic Sikh Temple Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib, stop at the famous Gauri Shankar temple to get a flavor of Hindu worship, or admire the heritage of the ancient Jain temple Shri Digambar Jain Meru Mandir. Each one will leave you spellbound with its legacy and beauty.

Multiple religious sites coexist here and each one is beautiful. FromL-R: Jama Masjid, Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib

  1. EXPLORE INDIA’S RICH HERITAGE THROUGH ANCIENT HAVELIS

As it was the seat of commercial as well as governmental power, Chandni Chowk was home to the richest merchants and noblemen in past centuries. Most of these people lived in lavish havelis (large, multi-level houses or bungalows), which were passed down among family members for generations. Unfortunately, many of these are currently sub-judice, or have been let and sub-let out till they became a mere shadow of their original forms.

A walk through the lanes of Chandni Chowk, however, offers a glimpse at the rich heritage of Delhi, through these gorgeous homes of yesteryear. Walk up to the roof of Gadodia Palace to enjoy spectacular views and a peek into local activities such as games involving pigeon flights and kite-flying. You could enjoy a more luxurious setting at Haveli Dharampura, which has been converted into a boutique hotel. Have a meal at its restaurant, while enjoying the live dance performance, and feel transported back in time.

Exploring the havelis of Chandni Chowk

  1. ENJOY GORGEOUS VIEWS OF DELHI FROM ONE OF ITS HIGHEST TOWERS

Women are not allowed in the main mosque at Jama Masjid. However, they are allowed to enter the grounds and the towers surrounding it. The climb of a few hundred steps up to the tower is worth the effort, so you can enjoy unfettered views of the beautiful city of Delhi. It’s a steep climb though, so be warned!

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View from the tower at Jama Masjid

  1. MARVEL AT THE SPOT WHERE DELHI’S HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM BEGAN

I had to include this one because it has personal significance for me. My alma mater, St. Stephen’s College, is also one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions for higher education in India. It first opened its doors in the lanes of Chandni Chowk in mid-19th century, and moved to its present location in North Campus in the early 20th century. A diminutive plaque is all that marks the location of this important place, but it’s worth visiting to take note of a key moment in the history of Delhi.

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The plaque that marks the location of St. Stephen’s College’s old site

Now that you have read my picks of what to see in Chandni Chowk, here are a few tips that will help you make the most of your visit there:

  1. Be well-clad in modest clothing, especially if you plan to visit religious sites.
  2. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Avoid rickshaws if you can, as nothing beats the joy of exploring Chandni Chowk on foot.
  3. Carry a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
  4. Stay away from the chemical laden streets where beads and other materials are sold. I once fainted here!
  5. Carry hand sanitiser.
  6. Guard your bag from potential thefts.
  7. Carry cash instead of cards.
  8. Go on an empty stomach in order to enjoy all the local delicacies.
  9. There are no clean public toilets in the area, except in Haveli Dharampura. Be prepared in advance!
  10. Wear sunblock or a hat to protect yourself.
  11. Take the metro to avoid car parking issues.
  12. If you have the time, do visit the Red Fort, located nearby, and the lovely Drishyakala Museum there.

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How to Get to Chandni Chowk:

The nearest metro station is Chandni Chowk on the Yellow Line. You can take e-rickshaws or regular rickshaws till you reach your desired starting point.

I really hope you enjoyed reading my post on Chandni Chowk- the heart of Delhi. If I have missed anything, I would love to hear about it from you in the comments section below. Please do share this post ahead with someone that may find it useful, and bookmark it for when you visit Chandni Chowk next.

I’ll be back with another post on fun things to do in Delhi, soon!

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*This is not a sponsored post.

**Copyright in pictures and content belongs to nooranandchawla.com and cannot be republished or repurposed without express permission of the author. As I am a copyright lawyer by profession, infringement of any kind will invite strict legal action.

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92 Comments

  1. Your post has made me nostalgic me Noor, here in USA we missed a lot Indian street food and typical Indian shopping..I had been to Delhi few times but did not explore chandni chowk area much, after reading your post, would love to visit this, specially for trying street food.

  2. Chandani chowk is the heart of Delhi. In this market all types of variEty is available for every one.i m a big foodie nd chandni chowk is a place where one can get lots of mouthwatering delicious… beautiful snaps 😊

  3. I have been to Chandni Chowk last year. We visited some historic sites and enjoyed dahi bhalle and jalebbis. One can’t finish touring around the place in a day. Nicely summed up Noor.

  4. That bhalla chat and poori sabzi got me drooling over. Beautifully crafted post and the places covered. The must visit places are “Delhi ki shaan”. and yes chandni chowk is best explored on foot and empty stomach.

  5. I love these old places and I also love to roam the places and admire the olden architectures and their building styles. Will surely keep these things to do in mind. or probably just call you when i’m in Delhi. 😀

  6. I never visited Chandni Chowk but whenever I get a chance to visit I will refer your detailed post. Thanks for sharing dear! Pics are beautiful and the plate of yummy food makes me feel hungry.

  7. You make me envy u Noor…I want to do this guided tour since such a long time.I too conducted a cpl of walks here but people here just dont understand the concept. Your blog is a detailed guide for anyone..thanks for sharing.

  8. I always heard a lot about Chandni Chowk a lot and must tell your post has stolen my heart sure will be planning out this vacation ❤️

  9. I missed visiting Chandni Chowk when I was in Delhi last time. I thought it was mostly famous for food and clothes shopping. Pleasantly surprised to know that there’s a whole lot of other stuff to enjoy there too!

  10. Great post, Noor. Loved all the recommendations and pictures. I am sure someone who loves exploring heritage buildings as well as shopping & eating will have a heavenly experience in Chandni Chowk. I want to visit Jama Masjid, that view from the top of the tower is breathtaking.

  11. I’VE visited Chandni chowk many times but just for shopping or street food. Never know about GUIDED HERITAGE WALK. Would love to join this group in next visit

  12. Vow!!! I have visited Delhi during my college days and I love every bit of it. Your post took me to those days . Absolutely love your photos and clear context . Will visit the place soon whenever time permits.

  13. Chandni chowk has so much to offer from delicious eateries to beautiful clothing collection to jewellery collection. Indeed a must visit place

  14. Chandni Chowk offers one of the best Delhi experiences. A heritage walk followed by the authentic street food of Paratha wali Gali is definitely a mind-blowing experience.

  15. I’ve never been to Chandni Chowk but like every other girl I have a dream to visit the place with my sister ❤️ thanks for adding the bonus pointers about washrooms and chemical laden bead streets. I always thought videos are more appealing but your most made the most powerful Chandni Chowk impact on me today. *started to visualize my trip 🙈

  16. I didn’t know that there are so much to do in Chandni Chawk until i read this blog post. Love it to bits.

  17. What an awesome tour of this happening place and Delhi has so much to see and so much to do! Can’t wait to visit again…

  18. This list would ease down the work for people who is thinking of visiting Delhi or Chandni Chowk In general. Have heard a lot about the aloo puri there.

  19. Your post took me back to nostalgic purani Delhi memories and how I use to love chandni chowk food when in Delhi. Later I use to work inCP and then also chandni chowk was a ritual visit with friends.

    Parathe wali gali, khari bawli and even I use to visit the sisganj gurudwara whenever i visited old Delhi and enjoyed the kadha prasad a lot.
    All the pictures are really awesome.

  20. Being a Delhite I know what chandni chowk is for us. I always visit this place for the sake of street food, parathe wali gali was my favourite

  21. Chandni Chowk is my favorite go to place .. From yummilcious street food, to a perfect shopping destination to a walk through heritage .. it has alot to offer… Loved reading your post.

  22. I have to bookmark this page! I haven’t visited Chandni Chowk yet. The food looks drool-worthy! Would love to go on one of the Heritage Walks. Will look out for one next time I am in Delhi.

  23. Thanks for sharing the details about Chandni chowk, in April I am going to Delhi, will definitely go to all the places which you have mentioned and will take care of important points

  24. we had a to and fro delhi tckt booked for the frst week of april and I cud hv gone to all these places. But now we are considering cancelling the tkts 🙄

  25. That is a great post on Chandni Chowk. There is undoibtedly lots to do and every one finds something of interest. The tips are great as well, Noor. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  26. Chandini chowk is definitely the place to be for good food and some shopping. u have shared such a comprehensive guide to the place and without missing out on any place..

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