Kristian Bertel | Photography
Archive story
In this archive story we are walking into the Chandni Chowk area of Delhi in India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Taking a rickshaw ride through these streets of Chandni Chowk in Delhi, India is absolutely crazy. There are so many rickshaws, bikes, people and the streets are filled with every possible market. It is a good look at the daily life that has been around for centuries and the photographer definitely added it to his list of things to do in Delhi whilst being here.
Taking a rickshaw ride through these streets of Chandni Chowk in Delhi, India is absolutely crazy. There are so many rickshaws, bikes, people and the streets are filled with every possible market. It is a good look at the daily life that has been around for centuries and the photographer definitely added it to his list of things to do in Delhi whilst being here.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on March 29, 2024

Chandni Chowk in Delhi

You need to have a strong heart to brave Chandni Chowk, it is certainly not for the faint hearted, do visit the parathe wali gals for some lip smacking 'Parathas' and 'Chaat', most of the time you will be stuck up in long traffic jams here, you get eveything under the Sun here so do ensure that you shop here. Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi, India.

Where is Chandni Chowk located in India?

Chandni Chowk is located close to Old Delhi Railway Station. The Red Fort monument is located within the market. It was built in the 17th century by Mughal Emperor of India Shah Jahan and designed by his daughter Jahan Ara.

The most famous markets in India
Chandni Chowk, located in the heart of Old Delhi, is one of the most famous markets in India and this bustling market has been a popular destination for locals and tourists alike since the Mughal era. It is a vibrant market filled with an array of colors, sounds and smells and it is a great place to spend a day or two. From shopping to sampling the delicious street food, it is an experience that you will not soon forget. It is a great place to explore the culture and history of Delhi and to get a taste of what life was like in the Mughal era. The place was originally designed by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1650.

The market was created with the intention of providing a shopping destination for the royal family and the elite of the city. The market was divided into several sections, each of which was home to a different type of trade. One of the most famous sections is the cloth market, where you can find a variety of fabrics from cotton, silk and velvet, to name a few and it also home to a variety of other shops and stalls, where you can find anything from jewelry and spices, to household items and electronics.

Mind boggling place
Chandni Chowk is such mind boggling place, one must be prepared mentally to explore this area of old Delhi. It is very crowded but much better than earlier. The heart of Old Delhi, this is the place to go for the full-on India experience of crowded, twisting alleys and tiny shops and there is a fountain that serves as a useful orientation point and there are great Delhi-style snacks to be found in the vicinity or nearby area too.

You can also find a variety of street food such as 'Chaat', 'Jalebi' and 'Samosas'. These tasty treats are a must-try when visiting Chandni Chowk. The market is also home to a number of religious sites, such as the Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib, which is one of the most sacred Sikh shrines in the world. It is also home to a number of mosques, temples and shrines, which are a testament to the city’s rich diversity and is located in Old Delhi, which is a bustling and vibrant part of the city that is full of life and culture. From the markets and bazaars to the monuments and shrines, Old Delhi is a great place to explore and experience the history and culture of the city.

A bustling metropolitan area
Old Delhi, also known as the 'Walled City', is one of the oldest parts of the Indian capital, Delhi. It is a bustling metropolitan area that has been around since the 17th century and is home to many different cultures and traditions. Old Delhi is known for its narrow, winding streets, its vibrant markets and its chaotic and lively atmosphere and it is a great place to explore and experience the culture and history of the city. The markets are filled with vibrant colors and exotic smells and the narrow streets are full of life. Here, you can find all sorts of items, from fabrics, jewelry and spices to traditional Indian street food and the streets and bazaars are also home to traditional Indian artisans, like the famous 'Churiwala' shoe-makers and the jewellery makers of 'Kinari Bazaar'.

"Chandni Chowk is a unique experience that should not be missed while exploring the city. It is a great place to find bargains, sample delicious food and immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of Old Delhi"

Everywhere you look, there is something new to see
Whenever one thinks about India, bustling streets come to mind. India is a country full of life, energy and vibrancy and this is reflected in its streets. Bustling streets in India are best characterized by their vibrant energy and these streets are always filled with people, from vendors selling their wares to tourists taking in the sights. Everywhere you look, there is something new to see. The streets come alive with the sound of vendors hawking their wares, cyclists ringing their bells and the smell of delicious street food and the streets are a melting pot of cultures and religions, with people from all walks of life coming together to create an atmosphere of unity.

The streets of India are also filled with a variety of sights and sounds. From the bright and colorful 'Saris' of the women to the intricate designs of the temples, there is something to marvel at around every corner and the streets are full of music, with street performers playing traditional instruments and performers singing folk songs. The bright lights of the shops and restaurants add to the already vibrant atmosphere. That is why the bustling streets of India are an integral part of the country's culture and heritage and they are a testament to the vibrancy and diversity of the country.

"It is in these streets that the true spirit of India is experienced. From the colorful markets to the lively street performers, the children playing in the streets to the elderly people sitting on the benches, India's bustling streets provide a glimpse into the daily life of its people and a variety of animals, from cows and goats to monkeys and dogs

A historic and iconic market in Old Delhi
This historic and iconic market and one of the oldest and busiest markets in India and is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the vibrant culture of Delhi. With narrow street lined with shops, stalls and vendors selling everything from textiles and spices to jewelry and souvenirs. The market has been around since the 17th century and has always been a popular destination for locals and tourists alike and the atmosphere in Chandni Chowk is lively and bustling and the street is filled with the sights and smells of the market and the sound of shopkeepers hawking their wares. It is also home to numerous religious sites, including the Jama Masjid and the Gauri Shankar Temple and it is also an area that is well known for its food.

The area is as mentioned above filled with street food stalls, where you can sample everything from the famous 'Chaat' to the more exotic dishes of the North Indian region. It is also home to some of the best restaurants in the city, such as 'Karim's' and 'Ghantewala Halwai'. Chandni Chowk is an essential part of Delhi's culture and history.

The market was once divided by canals, which now are closed to reflect moonlight and remains one of India's largest wholesale markets. The market's history dates to the founding of the capital city of Shahjahanabad when Emperor Shah Jahan established the Red Fort on the banks of the Yamuna River beside his new capital.

Old Delhi is also home to many of the most iconic monuments and buildings in Delhi. The Red Fort and the Jama Masjid are two of the most famous and important sites in Old Delhi. The Red Fort, built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century, is a symbol of the Mughal Empire's power and grandeur and it is the largest mosque in India and one of the most important religious sites in the country. Old Delhi is also home to many of the most famous Sufi shrines and 'Dargahs' in India. These 'Dargahs' are places of worship for the Sufi saints who have had an immense influence on Indian culture and religion and the most famous of these shrines is the shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. This shrine is a popular destination for pilgrims from all over India, who come to pay their respects to the Sufi saint.

Is Chandni Chowk and Old Delhi the same?
One of the oldest markets in Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk is Old Delhi's main thoroughfare, which is a chaotic wholesale market lined by hawkers and porters offering full medieval bazaar experience. It is an important historical site renowned for the availability of every kind of goods as well as food. This prominent thoroughfare and surrounding market area is one of the most crowded places in India. Yet, it is also where you will get some of the best street food, spices and bargain goods as well as markets for clothes, spices and dry fruits, temples, silver street and so on.

Through the narrow and chaotic streets
The photographer took a rickshaw ride through the narrow and chaotic streets of the Chandni Chowk, not sure how you get there by foot, but the ride and the experience were a lot of fun. There was a little bit traffic jam of rickshaws so it may be tourist trappy thing to do, but he really enjoyed it. He saw so many different people as can be seen in 25 Stunning Faces of India, different shops and even the overhead wiring and cables were total chaos. Again it may be a silly touristy thing to do but he had a great time. He spent a couple of hours here and what a place and for him this place epitomises the saying 'Incredible India'. The sights, smells, sounds, colors and the friendliness of the people are unforgettable. The vibrancy of the colorful spices and the aromas were truly fantastic and it is an experience but a great way of seeing everything there is to see. Lots of monkeys around, cows – of course but the hustle and bustle of daily life and the chatter is something else.

"Do not hesitate to get yourself down to Chandni Chowk, because you will remember it forever, streets such as Ajmere Gate Rd, Lalkuan Bazar Rd, Gali Satte Wali, Choori Walan Rd, Patel Gali Rd, Matia Mahal Rd and Meena Bazar. Chandni Chowk or the Moonlight Square, was designed and established by Princess Jahanara, Shah Jahan's favourite daughter in 1650"

The bazar was shaped as a square
It was given elegance by the presence of a pool in the centre of the complex. The pool shimmered in the moonlight, a feature which was perhaps responsible for its name. Shops were originally built in a half-moon shaped pattern, now lost. The bazaar was famous for its silver merchants, which also have contributed to the name as silver is referred to as 'Chandi' in Hindi, a slight variation of which forms 'Chandni'. The pool in the 'Chowk' was replaced by a clocktower, Ghantaghar until the 1950s. The center of the market is still referred to as 'Ghantaghar'. Chandni Chowk was once the grandest Indian market. Mughal imperial processions passed through Chandni Chowk and the tradition was continued when Delhi Durbar was held in 1903. Delhi Town Hall was built in 1863 by the British.

Bazar of people in India
Chandni Chowk runs through the middle of the walled city, from the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid. Originally, a canal ran through the middle of the street. It was initially divided into three sections. Chandni Chowk's speciality is its variety and authenticity with food, delicacies and sweets of more than 1,000 kinds, 'Sarees' with 'Chikan' and 'Zari'. Narrow lanes host shops sell books, clothing, electronic, consumer goods, shoes and leather goods. It is the location of the original 'Haldiram's' and brands such as 'Gianis'.

A journey through colors, aromas and bargains
A particular local delicacy are the 'Jalebis', which are fried in pure 'Ghee' which is clarified butter. 'The Cloth Market', supplies home furnishing fabrics, including ready-made items as well as design services. 'Nai Sarak' is the wholesale market of stationery, books, paper and decorative materials. It house folder stores. It also offers bridal 'Saris' and 'Lehengas'. 'Lal Kuan' is a wholesale market for hardware and hotel kitchen equipment. It is adjacent to 'Tilak Market' which is a wholesale market for industrial chemicals. 'Dariba' is the market for silver and gold jewelry.

See this video about Chandni Chowk in Delhi made by Walking in India.

The photographer's own experience of being in Chandni Chowk in Delhi
"- My first stop in the old part of Delhi was the iconic Chandni Chowk, a labyrinth of winding alleys and shops that has stood the test of time for over three centuries. As I dived into this bustling market, it was like stepping into a time capsule. The colorful fabrics, intricate jewelry and aromatic spices overloaded my senses. The shopkeepers beckoned me with their warm smiles, offering me an array of trinkets and textiles. The narrow streets brimmed with a lively ambiance, accompanied by the constant chatter and bargaining between buyers and sellers. This market truly encapsulated the essence of old-world India", the Photographer says.

"- Navigating the labyrinthine lanes of Chandni Chowk, my Nikon became an extension of my eye. The chaos was mesmerizing – rickshaws dodging pedestrians, vibrant saris brushing past, the sweet scent of 'Jalebis' mingling with the pungent aroma of spices. Every corner revealed a new story, and I aimed to capture them all. As I continued to explore, I found myself getting lost in the narrow alleyways of the Chandni Chowk market. The vibrant colors, loud bargaining and overwhelming smells were both exhilarating and overwhelming", the Photographer says again.

Read also:  Chawri Bazar Rd portraiture

Chawri Bazar Rd portraiture

Read also:  Chawri Bazar Rd portraiture

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of Chandni Chowk in Delhi. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.