|he heart of Old Delhi beats in Chandni Chowk.
Walk down any lane in this legendary bazaar and you run the risk of disappearing in its frenetic hustle and bustle, only to re-emerge hours later ... awestruck and exhilarated. Traditionally known as "Silver Street" and "Moonlite Square," the chowk (square) is not just a marketplace but Old World India at its extraordinary best.
The streets awaken early with an assortment of colorful residents who populate the market area before giving way at mid-morning to merchants and shoppers. Some wash away the prior night's sleep at curbside faucets, while others squat for a sidewalk shave from a straight-razor wielding barber. For the weight-conscious, a rupee or two will allow you to step onto the scale of another sidewalk entrepreneur.
As the business of bargaining begins, the pulse of Chandni Chowk quickens and the 350-year-old bazaar becomes charged with activity, reverberating with the movement of merchandise. From its namesake main thoroughfare, artery-like alleyways branch out in different directions, stretching the chowk beyond its original boundaries to include several smaller bazaars and katras (trade wings).
Fast-paced, colorful and intoxicating, Chandni Chowk makes a lasting impression. Surely, it is the quickest way to experience the fascinating culture that is India.
All images and content within copyrighted © 2006 James Emolo