Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Crawling through the rise and fall of Delhi emporers !!

Last December, I wrote a lot about policies and politics. This has been mostly because Delhi and its politics have been the central focus of the entire media and I had no job to do other than read the newspapers in my winter vacation. I also visited Delhi and met a "beauty" I have known for quite sometime with who I have fallen in love very recently. This beauty also had been following the happenings in Delhi since, maybe the mid eighteenth century!! Ah! the beauty I am talking about is "Chandni Chowk," the moon-lit square. I call it the 'beehive of Delhi' for it is always busy and bustling with activity and is swarmed by people flocking the box like shops and eateries!!

The Jain Mandir opposite Red Fort

Curious after my visit to this wonderful place, I browsed for and read a book, 'Some Blunders of Indian Historical Research,' by P.N.Oak in which he talked about Delhi and old Delhi in particular. This book is worth reading and gives a lot of insight about India even though some articles are very hard to believe! The author also mentioned about the Red Fort, supposedly built by Shah Jahan. He said that Prithviraj Chauhan, the ruler of Ajmer and Delhi lived in lal-kot on the banks of River Yamuna much before Shah Jahan (yes! the same lal-quila/Red Fort. The author claims that the latter became famous due to Mughal/Urdu influence). Apparently, red fort is full of Rajput architecture (Ex: Elephant statues at the entrance). The red fort stands facing this "busiest market in India." And according to Oak, there was a guy from Mongolia, Taimurlang ( this guy bettered the art of cruelty than Allauddin Khilji!!) who invaded Delhi, massacred people (it took decades for Delhi to recover) and then wrote about Delhi including Red Fort and Chandni Chowk. This fellow was from the late 14th century and Shah Jahan was from the late 16th century!!

Chandni Chowk(??)
The history is fine but I am interested in the geography of the congested wholesale market which the Red Fort stands overlooking!!
What is so special about this Chandni Chowk that I loved it so much is the following.

One: The skinny gallies (streets)
Two: The millions of shops that fit in a single street
Three: Rabdi in the paratha galli where you could slip in for a bite. This street has hundreds of paratha and sweet shops!
Four: The electric bazaar( I want to live here for once in my life, atleast)..Again for someone aspiring to become an entrepreneur like me, the way business is held in this small area is astounding!!

The streets are so thin that they are good enough only for two bikes together. No cars of course!
The variety of parathas, the custard apple chutney, Rabdi, Kachori, Namkeen lassi, the small streets in which there are hundreds of electric shops and most importantly the GAP and Tommy Hilfiger hoodies sold on the street side are very much attractive!! Shop keepers will ofcourse pull you into their shops..if you are male, into a suitings shop, if you are female, into any shop!! By the way, this is just along one street which I came across!!
Even for the religious types, there is a Jain Mandir, an age old Shiv Mandir and a Gurudwara. At all these places, the free prasad is simply superbbb. I went into the Gurubwara thrice for the prasad!!
This area has a lot to offer for tourists including pollution. Nevertheless, its fun to roam on such a busy area. Just make sure it is not a very hot day! There is a metro station for your convenience too!

Anyway, this historical Delhi beauty is a must-visit for all Indians. If you get a chance, go. If you do not get a chance, create one!P.N Oak titled ‘Some Blunders of Indian Historical Research.’P.N Oak titled ‘Some Blunders of Indian Historical Research.’ P.N Oak titled ‘Some Blunders of Indian Historical Research.’