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Chandni Chowk

Home->North India->Delhi->Old Delhi -> Chandni Chowk

Location: The famous street of Chandni Chowk is just opposite the Lahore Gate of Red Fort.
Famous as: The oldest and most historic street of the capital
Time to Visit: Open on all days, avoid Sundays
Preferred Timings: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Admission Fee: Free and open to all
Photography charges: nil
How to Reach: Tourists can either take local buses from various points within the city to reach this monument, which is located in Old Delhi, or they can hire auto-rickshaws and taxis or metro rail.

Nearest Railway Station: Old Delhi Railway Station
Nearest Metro Station: Delhi Main
Functional Metro Station: Delhi Main
Nearest International Airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport
Time required for sightseeing: 2 hours
(All data as of October 2005)

Chandni Chowk, or 'Moonlight Square' is the most famous and historic street of Delhi, built around 300 years ago when the walled city of Shahjahanabad was established in the 17th century. The 'Trafalgar Square' of Delhi, Chandni Chowk is widely known for its century old heritage and meeting point of different cultures and traditions over the centuries. At present the street is a busy thoroughfare with its traditional framework of several 'Kuchas and Katras' (alleys) housing traditional Havelis, innumerable places of worship, popular specialized markets and century-old eating joints, known for their specialties not only in the capital but worldwide.

Jahanara Begum, the eldest daughter of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan laid this historic street with a sarai, beautiful gardens and other palatial buildings surrounding it. The street of Chandni Chowk originally stretched from Lahore Gate of Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid, and was divided into four parts. The first part was known as Urdu bazaar, which extended from the present Jain temple to Dariba Kalan. The second part stretched from Dariba Kalan to Kotwali (next to Gurdwara Sisganj) and was known as Phool Mandi (flower market) and later Tripolia. From Kotwali till the present Town Hall, the area was the third part of the street and was known as Jouhari bazaar (Jewelers' market) or Ashrafi bazaar. The fourth part was known as Chandni Chowk, which extended from Jouhari bazaar till the Fatehpuri Masjid. There was an octagonal pool in this part of the street where the water of the pool reflected the moonlight and flowed into the canal that ran through the whole street. Thus the whole street came to be known as Chandni Chowk or Moonlight Square. Lined with row of banyan and papal trees on the both sides, the canal was known as Faiz Nahar and brought water from Najafgarh pond till the pavilions, gardens and palaces of Red Fort that served the purpose of drinking as well as irrigation. During the British regime, the street underwent major changes as they filled the canal, constructing a 110 feet high clock tower at the site of the pool (the tower fell in 1951) and extended the area of the market.

Special Attraction/ Event
Nationalistic spirit fills the street every year during the grand Republic Day Parade on 26th January every year. Though there is always a festive atmosphere in Chandni Chowk but the real spirit can be seen during the festivals of Dussehra, Id-ul-fitr, Sikh, Jain and Christian festivals.

Nearby Shopping Venues
Chatta Chowk (traditional and contemporary jewelry and handicrafts), Kinari Bazaar (curios, souvenirs, silver and glass bead jewelry), Dariba Kalan (Jeweler's street), Nai Sarak (books), Chor bazaar (electronic goods) and Daryaganj book market (only on Sunday).

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