Chandni Chowk is one of Delhi’s oldest and busiest markets specializing in variety and authenticity. Narrow-lanes are always alive with activity and lined with shops that sell books, clothing, electronics, consumer goods and leather goods. This is the home of the first Haldiram's. Keep moving or you'll be carried away in the human wave.Take a Rickshaw tour where the rickshaw-wala turns tour-guide giving inputs about anything and everything around. Make stops to try the street-food, buy some books or clothes cheap and take in the buzz. The real Delhi resides here and so one must put Chandni Chowk on their list during Delhi visit.
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 also made significant contributions in the landscaping of her father's new capital. Chandni Chowk runs through the middle of the walled city, from the Lahori Darwaza (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 was initially divided into three sections: 1. Lahori darwaza to Chowk Kotwali (near Gurdwara Shish Ganj): This section closest to the imperial residence, was called Urdu Bazar, i.e., the encampment market. The language Urdu got its name from this encampment. Ghalib noted the destruction of this market during the disturbances of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and its aftermath. 2. Chowk Kotwali to Chandni Chowk: The term Chandni Chowk originally referred to the square that initially had a reflecting pool. It was replaced by a clock-tower (Ghantaghar) that was damaged and demolished in the 1960s. This section was originally called Johri Bazar. 3. 'Chandni Chowk' to Fatehpuri Masjid: This was called the Fatehpuri Bazar. It is said that moonlight reflecting on its canal, earned it its name, Chandni (Moonlit). The Mughal imperial processions used to pass through Chandni Chowk. The tradition was continued when Delhi Durbar was held in 1903.