Chandni Chowk Market

Chandni Chowk Market, Delhi, India

Hot Tea, Warm Smiles

The backstreets of Old Delhi and the Chandni Chowk market are full of spices, flavors, bargains, and characters. People were very friendly and curious, and also very interested in having their picture taken! Then viewing it afterwards on the camera’s LCD screen 🙂 The locals would just come up to me seeing that I had a big camera, and actually ask to have their picture taken! This is one of the only places where I’ve seen this. Usually people tend to shy away from cameras, sometimes even asking you to not take their pictures. Definitely not the case here! 

Handicrafts, craftsmen, and vendors are here in full form, selling everything from pots and pans, to fabric, to raw construction materials, to beads, to bindis. Not only vendors, but also services such as bookbinding, offset press printing, welding, sewing — you name it, it’s here. And chances are it’s been in this same exact spot for decades, if not centuries.

Narrow streets and alleyways formed a maze of chaotic delight, with no real way to understand where you are heading next. Although there were areas which were devoted to different types of services and items. A paperwork/printing/bookbinding area. A housewares / home supply area. A raw construction materials area. A fabric area, etc. I would call them districts, except I don’t know that they are big enough to be classified as such.

There were also tea vendors in nearly all areas, and if by chance there wasn’t one, a boy from around the corner would happily deliver you a hot masala tea, served in a glass, for around $1. This masala tea was something I consumed regularly, mainly because it is incredibly yummy. It’s what many people refer to as ‘chai’ in the Western world, but it’s 100x more flavorful and delicious. It’s also a safe bet when it comes to ingesting liquid in a country that is so prone to water-borne illnesses such as giardia. If you can’t find water you can trust, drink tea. 

Visiting Chandni Chowk was so special, and such a photographers’s paradise that I actually rescheduled my flight to leave one day later so I could have one more day of shooting here. Many of the photos you see here were taken on that second day.