The origin of Chandni Chowk dates back to the Mughal era in Indian history. According to legend, after shifting his capital from Agra to Delhi Emperor Shahjahan established Chandni Chowk in 1650. The legend also says that Chandni Chowk market was designed by Jahanara-Emperor Shahjahan’s favorite daughter. It soon became the heart and soul of the commercial activities of Mughal Empire and the legend continues till today. Chandni Chowk is located opposite to the Red fort. A large ‘chowk’ or square with a centrally located pool was incorporated in the initial design.
The market of Chandni Chowk prospered and grew through the ages. The present Chandni Chowk market symbolizes the development through three centuries.
The area of Chandni Chowk have a number of markets. The notable markets in Chandni Chowk are:
- Nai Sarak for books, stationery items and musical instruments
- Cloth Markets at Fatehpuri and the various Katras for textiles
- Dariba Kalan and Kinari Bazaar for jewelry
- Dariba Kalan for silver items
- Bhaghirath Palace for medical equipments and Allopathic medicines
- Chawri Bazaar for paper, stationary items and musical instruments
- Ballimaran for shoes and opticians
- Kinari Bazaar for Zardozi items and laces
- Flea market (daily at Jama Masjid) for antiques and all kinds of bargains
- Old Lajpat Rai Market for electrical goods.
- Cycle Market for bicycles and photography
- Moti Bazar for shawls and pearls.
- Khari Baoli for dry fruits, pulses, food grains, spices and saffron
- Tilak Bazar for chemicals.