Ultimate Old Delhi Walk

Scalloped arched door

The Ultimate Old Delhi Walk

Long
6 Kms/ 3.5 Miles 5 Hours Chawri Bazaar

Orientation

You can't come to Delhi as a tourist and miss Chandni chowk.

Here's how to see Old Delhi

Built in the 1700s by Shahjahan, the king who made the Taj Mahal, Chandni Chowk or Shahjahanabad is fascinating and chaotic, its colorful and crowded, its got bargains and rip-offs. Here is a walking map of Chandni Chowk.

This is a long walk. It is 5.6Kms or 3.5 miles long. It is going to be a slow walk through a really crowded part of town. Take your time wandering through it. Plan for at least 4-5 hours to do this and be patient.

Tip: Take a rickshaw to double the fun and reduce the walking

 

Walking Map of Old Delhi

National Geographic calls Chandni Chowk, "The city’s most crowded, chaotic. and captivating areas, with a bamboozling orchestra of sights, smells, and sounds." Chandni Chowk is one of my favourite places in Delhi. There is really nothing like it anywhere is the world. It's not for everyone and it takes some getting used to. Be patient and it will grow on you. This walk helps you see old city of Shahjahanabad on your own. Shahjahan wanted to build a new city in Delhi in the 17th century. The Mughal empire was huge by this time and supposedly the richest in the world. Shahjahan was very fond of architecture. Taj mahal in Agra was also built by Shahjahan. He wanted to project an image of pomp and splendour and Agra was cramped and crowded for imperial parades. He wanted a show. The Chandni Chowk is meant to be this thoroughfare to walk through. Slowly Shahjahanabad grew organically. Today it comprises of various Galis, Kuchas, Katras and Mohallas. Narrow lanes and dead-end lanes within residential blocks are called kuchas, galis or katras. Each kucha, gali or katra has its own name and forms a neighbourhood block. In some places a larger neighbourhood quarter called a mohalla is formed by neighbouring kuchas, galis and katras. If you really enjoy such information read the entire treatise on the urbanization of Old Delhi here: (PDF) Space Formation and Transformation of the Urban Tissue of Old Delhi, India.

Key sights in this Old Delhi Walk

Exit the Chawri's bazaar metro station and follow directions to Kucha Pati Ram. There you will find some preserved havelis or old mansions from the 1700s. While a lot of buildings have been modernised you will still find beautiful doorways In the alleys in this part of Chandni Chowk. You can skip B,C,D and E on the map if you are not that interested in architecture.
A Hunting scene carved on the door
A Hunting scene carved on the door

Kucha Pati Ram (B,C, D & E on the map)

Most Delhi-ites do not know that this neighborhood houses some of the most beautiful doors in Chandni Chowk (old Delhi). The narrow streets of this area keep Kucha Pati Ram cooler than the main thoroughfares. Even though this area looks commercial, many business owners also live in this area. First of all you will see old havelis (mansions), interesting doors and architecture from the mughal period with modern influences in Kucha Pati Ram. Sandstone carved doorways are a characteristic of this area. The doors are beautiful and of various kinds. Many are hand carved and many are being torn down to make way for modern structures of glass and concrete.
Wrought Iron work on balcony
Wrought Iron work on balcony
Where the house meets the road
Where the house meets the road
Weathered door
Weathered door
Watching the world go by
Watching the world go by
Temple entrance
Temple entrance
Scalloped arch
Scalloped arch
Red door
Red door
Old doors with Electrical cables
Old doors with Electrical cables
Home meets world
Home meets world
Hand carved door
Hand carved door
Hand carved capital for a pillar
Hand carved capital for a pillar
Domes and Balcony
Domes and Balcony
Beautifully painted door
Beautifully painted door

Jama Masjid (E on the map)

Then you will start walking towards Jama Masjid the largest mosque in India. You will probably be tempted to eat at Karim’s nearby. Don't forget to climb the tower if you have the stamina to climb over 300 steps. Great photo op up top.  

Red Fort (G on the map)

You will then then walk to the entrance of the Red fort. Getting so close to it will give you a sense of scale of this place. There are plenty of great places to eat all throughout your walk. They have been marked on the map. Feel free to deviate from the path to get to these places.

Chandni Chowk (H)

After the Red fort, you will walk down Chandni Chowk’s main thoroughfare. Emperor Shahjahan build this road for his processions to show off to the general public. You will then take a left to go into Dariba (Walk from H to I), the jewelry market in Chandni Chowk. Follow the path all the way to Fatehpuri mosque (A on the map close to J)and to the Khari Baoli spice market (J on the map) Be sure to go in and smell the spices. There are lots of great places to eat on the approach road to the spice market. Eat Pooris at China Ram, Kulfi or Chhole Bhature at Giani di Hatti. Shiv Misthan Bhandar are also great.
Chhole bature shiv mishthan bhandar
Chhole bature shiv mishthan bhandar
Nagori aloo shiv misthan bhandar
Nagori aloo shiv misthan bhandar
Some of these restaurants may seem intimidating. I've eaten at these places and so have my guests many times but if you want to be absolutely safe eat at the nearby Haldiram. They have good food too. This is a long walk and you will feel a bit out of your element here but keep going. Don't be shy to ask for help if you get lost inspite of the map. After you are done, head to the Chandni Chowk metro station and get back to your hotel or onto the next destination.
Here are more pictures of the sights
Jama Masjid

Write to us to do this walk with us



Related Walks

Khairul Manazil structure

Ultimate Old Fort Walk in Delhi

The Ultimate Old Fort Delhi Walk Short 1.5 Kms/ 1 Mile 2 Hours Pragati Maidan Orientation This 1.5 Kms walk is best done in the morning when the weather is cool. The walk takes you through the Old Fort or … Read More

Featured Post
Guard house

Ultimate Mutiny of 1857 Walk in Delhi

The Ultimate Mutiny of 1857 Walk Long 5 Kms/ 3 Miles 4 Hours Vidhan Sabha Orientation This 5 Kms walk is best done in the morning when the weather is cool. The walk takes you through the northern Ridge in … Read More

Featured Post
Scalloped arched door

Ultimate Old Delhi Walk

  The Ultimate Old Delhi Walk Long 6 Kms/ 3.5 Miles 5 Hours Chawri Bazaar Orientation You can’t come to Delhi as a tourist and miss Chandni chowk. Here’s how to see Old Delhi Built in the 1700s by Shahjahan, … Read More

Featured Post
Mosque at Hauz Khas

Ultimate Hauz Khas Walk in Delhi

  The ultimate Hauz Khas walk Easy 1.5 kms/ 1.2 Miles 3 Hours Hauz Khas Orientation Haus Khas is located in southern Delhi and is easily reached by the yellow line from most parts of Delhi. A short autorickshaw ride … Read More

Featured Post
Featured Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

%d bloggers like this: