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Chatpati Chandni Chowk

Where food meets history: a memorable walk along Old Delhi’s walled city to savour many winter delicacies! 

12/31/2014 12:02:39 PM
written By : Nithya Subramanian Print

The beautiful thing about Delhi is that it is a city steeped in history. At almost every significant corner, there are monuments that reveal its glorious past - from over-one-thousand-year-old monuments to tombs of the Mughal period to power structures created by the British. As we drove down the roads of India’s capital this winter, my seven-year-old daughter who was born and is raised in Singapore exclaimed, “Wow! So many old buildings! Can we go inside and see them?” Her only connection with Indian history is through some of the historical dramas aired on popular television channels.

Feeling a twinge of guilt for neglecting this part of her education, I promised myself to teach her more as she grows up. But this piece is not about Indian history but about a wonderful gastronomical journey through Delhi’s Chandni Chowk – the Red Fort area.

My husband, who is a hardcore Bombayite, had been pestering me for several years to take him to Chandni Chowk. His impression of the oldest part of the Capital was largely shaped by Bollywood films, predominantly by Karan Johar’s Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham where Kajol lived in one of the cinematically sanitized bylanes. I, on the other hand, had made many visits to this bustling area – first as a student of Delhi University to buy cheap books from the dark, dingy shops of Nayi Sadak and later with my mother who frequently visited Krishna market along with her fellow teachers to order clothes for her school’s annual day. We would often be welcomed into students’ homes for a hearty snack (many of her pre-dominantly Muslim students lived here), before being escorted to the ‘reasonable and good’ shops. My last two visits, before my wedding and shifting to Singapore, was once to shop for sarees for my relatives and again, for a farewell meal with some of my sports journalist friends at Adarsh Bhojanalaya, a place specialising in satvik food.

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