Delhi Series ~ One Day in Old Delhi
Old Delhi or Puraani Dilli was the site of Mughal dominance. Old Delhi (formerly known as Shahjahanabad) was the seat of power and Mughal capital for centuries. The remnants of bygone days point to many dynasties that ruled over Delhi including the many reigns of the Sultanates.
Old Delhi was founded by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (hence the name Shahjahanabad). He styled Old Delhi as the walled city, surrounded by a wall, with the main street Chandni Chowk in front of the Red Fort, which was the imperial residence. Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in Agra. If you visiting north India, we would highly recommend that you travel to Agra from Delhi to explore this wonderful Mughal architecture marvel!
There is a old world charm in Chandi Chowk. It is one of the oldest and busiest markets in old Delhi. There are tiny lanes that serve the amazing kebabs, kathi rolls and spicy snacks
These lanes also house glam and glitter – glass bangles, chokers, temple-garlands, lamps, wedding paraphernalia and much more.
Our trip started from South Delhi. We were a group of 4 girls. We took the local route and used DTC bus to reach Old Delhi.
Reaching Old Delhi
Delhi Airport is very well linked to Old Delhi and the metro link is one of the best and speediest ways to reach Old Delhi.
The new Metro route links Indira Gandhi International airport to the Dwarka Sector 21 from where one can take another metro bound for Rajeev Chowk. You can change here for Old Delhi. The Chandni Chowk metro station is located opposite the Gali Paranthe wali.
Pre-paid taxis are available outside the airport or even the EATS buses that depart from Terminal every half an hour can take you to Old Delhi.
Paranthe Wali Gali
On reaching Chandi Chowk, we went to Paranthe Wali Gali. Paranthe Wali Gali meaning the bylane of flatbread, is the name of a narrow street in the Chandni Chowk. This lane is popular for its shops selling paratha, an Indian flatbread.(Aloo or Mix Paratha and aachar – my favourite)
After some food, we headed to the Jama Masjid.
Jama Masjid (Masjid-i Jahān-Numā) is one of the largest and oldest mosques in India. This mosque was built by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahen (same emperor who built the Taj Mahal).
The Masjid is an active place of worship for followers of Islam. The Jama Masjid is also called the “Friday Mosque”.
The mosque has three great gates, four towers and two 40 m high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble. We were a group of 4 girls and unfortunately could not go inside the shrine. We were able to enter through the gates, steps (of the entrance) and also walk through the halls. There is no entry fee for the Masjid.
The Jama Masjid has a calming aura. It shines beautifully under the sun ~ there was buzzing traffic, street hawkers, chirping birds and inspite of chaos and noise all around – there was serenity and peace.
Shish Ganj Gurudwara
A “gurudwara” is a place of worship for followers of Sikhism.
Shish Ganj Gurudwara is located in Chandi Chowk, built in memory of the ninth Sikh guru (preacher) – Guru Tegh Bahadur.
Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded by the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb when he refused to embrace Islam. (severed head is called “Shish”)
When we arrived at the gurudwara the noon prayers (kirtan) were going on. The gurudwara portrays the selflessness of the Skih community as a whole where they get together and cook and serve food (langar) to its visitors, with nothing in return.
(All visitors to the holy place should cover their heads)
Central Baptist Church
After the Gurudwara, we went to a Church, located just opposite to it. The Central Baptist Church is one of the oldest churches in Delhi (built in 1814). Its interiors and southern exterior portrays fine European Architecture.
Gauri Shankar Temple
Gauri Shankar Temple is a Hindu (Shiva’s followers) place of worship. It was built by a Maratha general Appa Gangadhar in 1761.
The temple has an 800 year old brown Lingam (phallus stone) encased in a marble representation of a female organ. The Lingam is surrounded by snakes made up of silver and represents a cosmic pillar, the centre of universe or life.
The best to visit during the morning and evening aarti (5.00 am to 10.00 am and 5.00pm to 10.00 pm)
Digambar Jain Temple
Digambar Jain Temple is the oldest Jain temple, originally built in 1658. Its an impressive red sandstone temple and that’s why its popularly known as Lal Mandir or “Red Temple”.There are a number of shrines in this area but the main shrine is of Lord Mahavira, the 24th and last Tirthankara.
The Jain temple has a bookstore inside the complex and is also known for the Jain Vet Hospital located adjacent to the temple.
We enjoyed the day. Going through the narrow lanes, bustling crowd, delicious food and historical sightings all over was a wonderful experience.
It was a different kind of day.
Visiting the many places of worship, listening to the heart and soul of Delhi in its colorful streets, passing through the vibrant stores and all under the golden sun-rays on a spring day.
It was indeed a great day ♡
To Delhi, with my forever love ❤