I have been to Old Delhi on multiple occasions, usually with friends that are visiting Delhi for the first time. I always take them to Jama Masjid and the Red Fort. I know that there is a lot more to explore in Old Delhi but I usually shy away from it because the area is very hectic and crowded. However, at the beginning of September a friend came to the city and this time we decided to join a morning walk along Chandni Chowk, organized by Delhi Heritage Walks.
We started at Digambar Jain Lal Mandir opposite from the Red Fort and finished at Fatepuri Masjid, near Kaori Baoli Spice Market. Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest markets in Delhi. It was built in the 17th century by Shah Jahan and designed by his daughter Jahanara. There have been so many changes over the years that it is hard to imagine how it looked like when it was originally built. Either way, we enjoyed the walk and learnt a lot about the history and changes this place has gone through.
After our walk along Chandni Chowk, we visited the Red Fort. This complex was constructed in 1639 by Sha Jahan and it is considered to represent the high point of Mughal architecture. The fort became the main residence of the Mughal emperors until 1857. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
After the Red Fort, we went to Jama Masjid of Delhi, which is on of the largest mosques in India, and also my favorite. It was built between 1644 and 1656 by Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor that built the Taj Mahal. The mosque has three domes and two minarets, and the courtyard can accommodate up to 25,000 people. For 100 rupees, you can climb one of the minarets and enjoy an amazing view of the city.
A few hundred meters from the mosque, you can find Karim’s, an Indian restaurant that specializes in mughalai food. It was opened in 1911 by the descendants of the royal cooks who used to work for the Mughal emperors. It is a good place to enjoy a well deserved lunch after walking around Old Delhi.