Chandni Chowk in Delhi is our go-to place for wedding shopping and street food munching. From bridal trousseau and shoes to carpets to clothes to lights, Chandni Chowk market sells everything round the year, amid ruins from the 17th century. It is an iconic market in Delhi that is also one of the oldest markets in the country. It may be one of the most crowded places ever you will ever go to, but once you get used to the hustle and bustle, you’ll find charm in its madness.
Before we start with the tour of this market, let's take a walk back in time and see how it started.
One of the oldest markets in the country, Chandni Chowk was designed by Jahanara Begum, the eldest daughter of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.
Wondering where it got its name from? Chandni Chowk was originally built as an open octagonal space located outside Begum Bagh. A tributary of Yamuna passed down the middle of the street that reflected the moon and, thus, the square came to be named as Chandni Chowk, which translates to Moonlight Square.
Chandni Chowk, as it existed a couple of hundred years ago, was one of the biggest commercial centres in its time. Its bazaars, galis, mohallas and katras had rows of banyan trees lining its streets. The market saw horse driven carriages, palanquins and elephants passing through the streets.
Chandni Chowk originally stretched from Lahore Gate of Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid, and it was divided into three parts - Urdu bazaar, Johri Bazar and the Fatehpuri Bazar.
The area between Lahori gate to Chowk Kotwali near Gurudwara Shish Ganj was called the Urdu Bazaar. In fact, Mirza Ghalib named the language after being inspired by this bazaar itself.
From Chowk Kotwali to Chandni Chowk was the area of Johari Bazaar. Here Chandni Chowk refers to the square where the reflecting pool was created.
The area between Chandni Chowk to Fatehpuri Masjid was termed as Fatehpuri Bazaar.
It was a hub of shopping and socialising for the people residing in its vicinity. Not just the localities, but Europeans too came to the market to shop and visit different religious places.
For the food lover and shopaholic in you, we have the ultimate guide to Chandni Chowk Market. Read on and make notes!
A book lover's paradise, Nai Sarak is known for its wholesale and retail shops that have books of all genres, ranging from college/school course books, fiction and non-fiction novels to cookbooks, encyclopaedias and dictionaries.
If you're looking to buy cloth in bulk, Fatehpuri Market is the place to be. It is a popular cloth market and the various katras are known for the sale of textiles. Textile is sold in bulk and the measure of cloth sold is not in metres, but as a yarn.
From formal shoes to stilettos, the market at Ballimaran sells shoes that are affordably priced. Also, it is known for its jootis or shoes made of leather (animal hide) in contemporary designs and colour schemes.
Looking for the perfect ornament to add glam to your saree? Head to Dariba Kalan. It is known for its pearl, gold and silver jewellery. The bazaar also has some great fragrances that are derived from natural sources called attar.
From designer lehengas, sarees to suits, Chor Bazaar has copies of all kinds of clothes. The Bazaar is also known for its electronic products at enticingly low prices.
As the name suggests, Moti Bazaar is famous for its pearls. From earrings to full sets, the bazaar has many shops with innumerable designs at competitive prices. It also is known for its shawls that’ll keep you warm in winters.
Khari Baoli is a must visit for spice lovers. It has a wide variety of dry fruits, pulses, food grains, spices and saffron - they are quality products and reasonably priced. The street smells of dried cardamom, clove and cumin.
The Chhatta Chowk Bazaar, which dates back to the 17th century, has around 40 shops selling artificial and semi-precious jewellery, embroidered bags, hand-painted wall hangings and antiques.
inari Bazaar is your go-to place if you’re looking for zari embroidery for your brocade sarees. Apart from zari, the bazaar is well known for its zardozi trimmings and tinsel.
Daryaganj Old Book Market is often referred to as the world's largest weekly book market. It is organised every Sunday. Most of the books available here are second-hand. The speciality of this book market is that one can find out-of-print and difficult-to-find books here.
If you’re looking for a mobile charger, hard disk, pen drive or any other electrical good, Bhagirath Palace should be on top of your list. It is Asia's largest market for electrical goods and also offers medical equipment and allopathic medicines.
Bridal shopping is synonymous with Chandni Chowk. From cocktail dresses to bridal lehengas, brides can find everything in this Old Delhi market. Here are some popular places for the best wedding shopping ever.
Om Prakash Jawahar Lal has been the most popular bridal shopping destination amongst old and new. It is one of the oldest establishment in the market that has, for years, carved a niche for itself in the bridal lehenga business. It has a mid-budget price range, with some great lehenga designs that would cost you anywhere around 75K and upward.
Address: 354, Naya Katra, 1st Floor, Chandni Chowk
Contact Number: 098119 50805
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Tucked in the by-lanes of Nai Sarak, Asiana Couture is a well lit and inviting store that has been a newbie in the bridal trousseau business. But what they lack in experience, they make up with their stunning designs. This is another store that has a trendy bridal collection which scores on quality and design. There is always something for everyone here. Who knows, even your sister might find her lehenga to don on your shaadi here.
Address: 652, 655, Katra Hardayal, Nai Sarak, Chandni Chowk
Contact Number: 011 2326 9452
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Dalmia Fashions used to be a small store earlier but has recently been renovated and given an elegant twist to match the taste of many fashion-forward brides. It is a one stop shop that concerns all the wedding clothing needs for not only you but also your family. It is also up to date with the latest trends with the highest quality guaranteed. You will find a lot of Sabyasachi inspired outfits here that can be brought for a steal! If you want to go for affordable bridal wear (50K-80K) which is also fashionable, then Dalmia Fashions should be your only choice.
Address: 5743, Nai Sarak, Jogiwara, Chandni Chowk
Contact Number: 011 4356 4848
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Don’t go by the name, this store is a real treasure! Sudhir Bhai is very famous for its subtle designs, which do not burn a hole in your pocket. Even if you don’t find your bridal lehenga here, you will be able to score some nice lehengas and sarees for other functions such as the mehendi, sangeet and reception. Prices of heavily embroidered lehengas start from 50K and can go up based on the kind of work and the material you choose.
Address: 485, Katra Asharfi, Chandni Chowk
Contact Number: 011 2326 9347
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Prices (L-R): 1.25L, 95K
Whether you are looking for heavily embroidered or even light and breezy lehengas, Sunehree boutique will make sure it suits your discerning tastes well. But since the brand guarantees quality and luxury, it sure does come with a price. Although it is not a super expensive store, it’s not cheap either. You can find a good bridal lehenga here for anything near 90K.
Address: 242, 1st Flor, Main Road, Near Katra Pyarelal
Contact Number: 011 2327 5488
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Just like Om Prakash Jawahar Lal, Shrangar has also been a trusted establishment in Chandni Chowk for years. It’s equally famous for its heavy bridal lehengas, as much as the pretty pastels that would go well with your mehendi and sangeet functions. If you don’t want to waste your time looking at different stores at a stretch, Shrangar will be the place you would ideally want to check out!
Address: 1220, Maliwara, Chandni Chowk
Contact Number: 011 4906 4205
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Pakeeza is much cheaper in terms of price as compared to all the other stores we’ve mentioned above. Along with the variety of bridal ensembles, their quality too has become better with passing time, which makes it a ‘must visit’ during your shaadi shopping. The designs are not exact replicas of high-end designer outfits, but they are still quite good.
Address: 297, Near Katra Pyare Lal, Main Road, Chandni Chowk
Contact Number: 098105 98736
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One of the biggest competitors of Om Prakash Jawahar Lal, Kamal Bhai Saree Sangam has a similar collection but at much more affordable prices. The USP of Kamal Bhai Saree Sangam is not the ready-made designs but the customised pieces that they make as per your preference. Their Indian wear collection will surprise you. The fit of the ensemble is tailor-made and the final result comes out to be as promised.
Situated in the hub bridal wear, Ram Kishan Sarees have been in the trade for seven years now. They have the trendiest Anarkali suits, fabulous wedding lehengas and much more with designs old and new. They keep up with the latest trends to give you the best outfit that suits your needs and fetches you compliments.
1. Bargain, because it really works in Chandni Chowk! Even a difference of 10K is huge considering all the expenses that you’re incurring during your wedding.
2. Do not and we mean DO NOT listen to the agents roaming around on the streets, luring you with Manish Malhotra design replicas at cheap prices. Their quality is not good and you will only end up being fleeced.
3. You might find the same design in a lot of different stores because sometimes the clothes are mass produced. Don’t be surprised by this!
4. Do NOT ask the stores or designers to make major changes to the outfits. Removing a kali or a border is fine, but asking for major changes in the design might end up ruining it altogether.
5. Chandni Chowk is a must visit shopping place for brides not just in Delhi, but all over the country. But that doesn’t mean that you will definitely find THE lehenga that you’re looking for. Don’t be disappointed if that happens. You can always check out Lajpat Nagar, Rajouri Garden and Shahpur Jat stores to find your dream lehenga.
The bustling streets of Chandni Chowk are known for their mouth-watering street food that attracts visitors with their irresistible aroma. From chaat papdi, bhel, jalebi, kulfi to kebabs, korma and much more, Chandni Chowk has the kind of eateries that would leave your taste buds tingling.
Take a break from your wedding shopping and sample some of these treats that Chandni Chowk is famous for!
Natraj was started in 1940 and is run by Inder Mohan. Since its inception, it has been only selling two chaat items - dahi bhalle and aloo tikki. Their dahi bhalle are the best you'd ever have. The sweet-sour dahi here is blended with peppery masala and makes a perfect combination with the soft and crisp bhallas. Sounds delicious, doesn't it?
If you're planning to go to Chandni Chowk, there's one place that you just cannot miss, Paranthe Wali Gali. The entire street has restaurants that offer varieties of vegan paranthas to choose from. Babu Ram Devi Dayal Paranthe Wale is one of the oldest shops there. They're known for Kela Paratha, Aloo Paratha and Lime Paratha - everything is typically served with a sweet tamarind dip, mixed-vegetable pickle and pumpkin chutney.
Located in the heart of Chandni Chowk, Old Jalebi Wala is one of the most well-known jalebi shops that serves jalebis fried in desi ghee dipped in a syrup of khasandi sugar. Their flavourful and soul-fulfilling jalebi is something that will make you want to come back and also get a lot of it packed during the festive season.
Been on the streets since 1977, Lotan Chole Wala has the tastiest chole bhature in Delhi. The cholas are served with potatoes in a red hot curry, garnished with coriander and green chillies. If you love spicy food and like to tickle your taste buds, you HAVE to try the chole bhatura from Lotan.
Shiv Misthan Bhandar is the perfect place for some desi breakfast. They're known for their Bedmi Aloo and lassi. Crisp, puffed puris are served with curried potatoes and a glass of lassi make a great combination. Since there is always room for dessert, Shiv Misthan Bhandar will have Nagori Halwa that will tempt you into tasting it.
If you're looking for lip-smacking dal kachori, matar kachori and pyaz kachori, then Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala is the place to be. Their kachoris are crisp and are served with aloo ki sabzi that can light up the taste buds of any individual.
Padam Chaat Corner is the best place to slake your chaat cravings in Chandni Chowk. Their chaat offers diverse flavours as soon as it settles on your palate. Padam Chaat Corner serves pani puri in four different flavours along with gluttonous snacks including papdi chaat, aloo tikki and dahi bhalla.
Kuremal Kulfi Wala offers countless varieties of creamy kulfis set in fruits like pomegranate, litchi, kiwi, imli, pineapple and more. All their flavours are devoid of any artificial flavours and colours. They also make milk-free kulfis. It is said that the place serves the best kulfi in India.
The word 'khurchan' mean leftovers. Keeping up with the name, this shop is dedicated to making products only out of khurchan. The unique sweet that they serve here is a creamy dessert made from the reduction of boiled and sweetened milk. Once you into the soft, gooey texture and you're in heaven.
A heavenly place for eggetarians, Khan Omelette Corner will change the way you look at eggs. From cheese omelette to fat-free omelette, the restaurant has a wide variety of dishes that are whipped out of only eggs. There's a dish for each kind of foodie here, be it the cheese lover, health-conscious one or the adventurous eater.
Lala Babu Chaat Bhandaar serves a tempting choice of a variety of chaats. This roadside chaat shop can’t be missed as it serves amazing golgappa, dahi bhalla, samosa, kachori, tikki and much more.
Bishan Swaroop is one of the most eateries in Chandni Chowk. It is one of the hard-to-find places but the exertion is worth it. They are known for their chunky fruit chaat and aloo ke kulle which are absolutely mouth-watering. It is a must visit if you're in Chandni Chowk.
Known for its relish-worthy Mughlai and North Indian food, Al Jawahar offers you delicious dishes like Gurda Kaleji and Mutton Qorma, and the most perfectly cooked Tandoori Chicken!
Craving for Mutton Biryani and Keema Paratha? Karim's is your destination. It is known for its lip-smacking kebabs and sheermal. Get ready to relish your taste buds with these dishes.
Known for their signature butter chicken and rumali rotis, Aslam Chicken pampers you with extra butter in all their dishes. Try their scrumptious food and you'd want to visit again!
Al Yousuf is known for its low-priced food and Biryani. Chicken shawarma roll, Jahangiri chicken, and Mutton Korma are some of their specialities.
You would have never had better kebabs in Delhi. Served with onions and chutney their kebabs burst in your mouth leaving you craving for more.
Chandni Chowk market is open from Monday to Saturday, 9:30 am – 8:00 pm. It is closed on Sunday.
The nearest metro station to the market is Chandni Chowk Metro Station. If you want to go any deeper into the market after getting down from the metro station, walk down or take an electric rickshaw or a cycle rickshaw.
DTC buses number 138, 442, ML-96, ML-11, 567, 861A, 753 and 159 plies to and from Chandni Chowk to different parts of Delhi city.
It takes seven minutes to travel from Chandni Chowk Market to New Delhi Railway Station. An approximate driving distance between Chandni Chowk Market and New Delhi Railway Station is 6 kilometres. Travel time refers to the time taken if the distance is covered by a car.
It is one of the few markets in the world that has monuments dedicated to different faiths - Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, Jama Masjid, Gauri-Shankar Mandir, Arya Samaj Diwan Hall, Central Baptist Church, Sunehri Masjid, Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib and the Fatehpuri Masjid.
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This story was updated in November 2019.
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