Yesterday I had the opportunity to take some friends who were visiting from Cyprus to Chandni Chowk. I never say no.It is always madly noisy, hugely entertaining and clearly one of the best loved corners of the city. Well it looks as if the Delhi Municipal Corporation has other plans for this famous landmark and before it disappears for ever I will register this post for posterity just in case.... for once the DMC is super efficient and goes ahead with its plans which apparently are due to be started at the end of this month.If the DMC goes ahead then Chandni Chowk will be car free and pedestrianized and only residents will have the right to take cars into this presently congested area and instead of cycle rickshaws there will be high tech battery operated golf carts.I can hardly imagine it.
Chandni Chowk is the major street in the walled city of Old Delhi, which was originally called Shahjahanabad. The walled city, which includes the Lal Qila or Red Fort of Delhi, was established in 1650 AD by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It was designed by his daughter Jahanara Begum Sahib who perhaps knew a thing or two about the importance of shopping !
Chandni Chowk runs through the middle of the walled city, from Lahore Gate of the Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid. Originally, a canal ran through the middle of the street as a part of the water supply scheme. It is said that moonlight reflecting on its canal, earned it its name, Chandni (Moonlit).
This moonlight corner of town never fails to move whether it is transport or tempers. Personal space is an unknown and bargaining is best. Eateries are bursting and chilies choke the hell out of your lungs but every little bit is breathing and bold and very very beautiful in the only way such places can be.