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One of the oldest markets in Delhi — and perhaps the busiest in all of Asia — is Chandni Chowk, which is close to Delhi’s Red Fort. The market was, in fact, originally designed in the 17th century by Mogul Shah Jahan (who was later to build the Taj Mahal) so that his favorite daughter would have a place to shop near their home in the Red Fort. The shopping area originally had around 1600 shops, but has been completely rebuilt over the centuries and is now an extensive and expansive market area.
Chandni Chowk’s market is known for is its great variety and authenticity: food (especially street food and sweets), clothing (sarees, suits), electronic items, shoes, books, jewelry, car parts …
While walking the streets of Old Delhi, we encountered this unexpected parade. A group of people playing instruments, carrying a few floats, and seeming to have a good time.
Our guide told us that it was a parade of Jains — people adherent to the ancient Indian religion of Jainism. I don’t know much about the faith except that along with Hinduism and Buddhism, it is one of the oldest religions in Asia, dating to the 6th century.
There are many festivals in the Jain faith and we thought it likely was a celebration of one of these. Unfortunately I’ll never know.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)
It seems as though any type of transportation is acceptable on the streets of Old Delhi. Very common are bicycle rickshaws — a three-wheeled bike with a bench that holds two passengers. I’d never been on one of these contraptions until visiting Old Delhi where they are very popular because they are reasonably mobile on the crowded streets. And they’re quite cheap to hire (more so for locals than to tourists).
We spent the better part of an hour in the rickshaw, although given how bad traffic was, really didn’t get as far as you might think. Cattle roam the streets freely, although some are used to pull carts. The streets and sidewalks are absolutely filthy and smelled as bad …
A visit to Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib was my first to a Sikh temple. I was very impressed by what I saw — especially by the kind hearts of the people who spend substantial time and money serving others.
Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib is one of the nine historical Gurdwaras (places of Sikh worship) in Delhi. It was originally constructed in 1783 by Baghel Singh to commemorate the martyrdom site of the ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, who was beheaded here by the Mughal emperor in 1675 for refusing to convert to Islam. After some back and forth about whether the site was Muslim or Sikh, the British colonial government ruled in favor of the Sikhs, and the current facilities were …
It’s not every road trip you find your traffic lane blocked by a wild elephant. But that’s exactly what happened to us when driving in Southern Sri Lanka, on our way from a safari in Yala National Park
I was sitting in the back seat when my driver started braking and gesticulating about the road obstruction ahead. After a glance, I quickly grabbed my camera and started snapping away — not ideal photography circumstances, but that’s often how it goes.
There blocking our lane stood an elephant, interacting with passengers in a small bus in the opposite lane. I’m not sure what was going on — whether he wanted some food (most likely), or just to interact with the people.
I have a …
In my experience it’s rare for people to want their photo to be taken by a tourist. But the gentleman above was very proud of his job, and wanted me to photograph him cooking up treats in one of Delhi’s Sweets shops. He was frying some pastries in a large pan of oil, scooping them out as they were ready. When these were finished he poured in a bag of raw cashews, frying them as well.
I’m quite cautious about eating street food in countries like India, a trait that has served me well over the years. But I did buy a few of the cooked treats, which were quite good. I’m sure they spiked my cholesterol level, but such are the …
My favorite market in Delhi was its spice market, which happens to be Asia’s largest spice market. The market straddles Khari Baoli, a street near the Red Fort. The street’s name is derived from ‘Baoli’, meaning step well, and ‘Khari’, meaning salty.
The market dates to the 17th century. Many of the shops have been in the families for a long time, some even run by the ninth- or tenth generations.
Like all good spice markets, Delhi’s is fragrant, colorful and tempting. Besides a large variety of spices and herbs, you can buy other food items like nuts, tea, pasta and rice. Everything is beautifully displayed.
Khari Baoli is extremely busy — lots of shoppers, traffic, and workers carrying heavy sacs of spices to …
Even though I’d heard about it, I wasn’t prepared for how chaotic the street wiring in Old Delhi is. There are many places in the old city where you’ll see spaghetti-like masses of live wiring that seem to be incapable of being untangled or understood, yet somehow Delhi electricians figure it out and keep the power flowing. There seems no plan, no logic, no reason to it. It just seems to have evolved like some hideous beast.
By far the worst that I experienced was the Chandi Chowk Market area. It is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Delhi and is not far from the Red Fort. These photos were taken while walking those streets.
I think the photos are self-explanatory. …