Delhi, a city known for its glorious past, magnificent monuments, vibrant culture and vivid lifestyle is a hot travel spot amongst travel lovers around the world. Travelers from different parts of the globe come to visit this historic city and take back the memories of its opulent and exotic heritage. Old Delhi is one pristine location that marks Delhi with its period elegance. Once known as the Mughal city of Shahjahanabad, Old Delhi was built by Emperor Shah Jahan way back in 16th century, when he shifted his imperial capital from Agra to Delhi. The city is a home to some of the most exotic and outlandish sites in India like Red Fort, Chandni Chowk, Sis Ganj Gurudwara etc. To help the tourists explore the beauty and grandeur of these sites we offer the privilege of Heritage walk around the city. The motive of this walk is to make the travelers aware of the architectural heritage of Shahjahanabad. The walk will take you through the lanes and areas pointing out places of historic and religious importance, old world Havelis, gateways and arches.
The heritage walk starts with a visit to Shri Digambara Jain Lal Mandir, one of the most famous Jain Temples in Delhi. The old temple is located opposite the western gate of the Red Fort. The temple encloses the idols of Jain Tirthankaras Parsvanatha, Adinatha, Chandrapradhu and Goddess Padmavati. The interiors of the Mandir are gracefully decorated with floral motifs, images of dancers and musicians and geometrical patterns that exemplifies the shahjahani architecture. From the Jain Mandir, we proceed to Gauri Shankar Mandir, a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati. The charm and serenity of the temple is matchless.
The best part of this place is its liveliness. The large number of people jostling each other on the narrow streets, vendors and pavement hawkers selling flowers, ice creams, sweets, clothes, books, electronic items and antique pieces would definitely urge you to stop and look. A little further from the Gauri Shankar Mandir comes the State Bank Of India building on the opposite side of the pavement. The building was built on Begum Samru's estate in 1806 and is one of the most significant landmarks on Chandni Chowk. The building was prior used by the Delhi and London Bank but since 1955, it has been with the SBI. This three storeyed building has high ceilings, colonial style gateposts and large jail openings on the first floor level that retains its historic character. Move a little ahead and you will find the Central Baptist Church. One of the oldest churches in the city, the Church has a projecting porch supported on heavy circular columns that carries an ancient look. The tank near the altar of the Church is used for baptism ceremony.
A little farther, is the Sis Ganj Gurudwara. opposite the pavement. The Gurudwara was built in the memory of the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Tegh Bahadur, on the site where he was martyred. In 1675, Aurangzeb the then Mughal Emperor ordered the beheading of Guru Tegh Bahadur as he refused conversion to Islam. Sis Ganj Gurudwara holds a great religious importance and is one of the most sacred places in Delhi. It is a large rectangular building with a hemispherical gilded chhatri at each corner of the terrace. The external part of the building is covered with marble on the ground floor, while on the upper floors red and yellow sandstones are used. A portion of the banyan tree under which the Guru was martyred is preserved as a memorial within the Gurudwara.
Then comes the Sunehri Masjid, stands on a high platform with shops on the lower floor, the Masjid is located opposite Bhai Mati Dass chowk. The domes of the mosque are covered with gilded copper and the prayer area is divided in to three domed compartments. In 1737, Nadir Shah watched from here the massacre he ordered.
Walk a few steps ahead and take a left turn and you will find yourself on the Paranthewali Gali. The gali is very famous for its varied variety of stuffed paranthas. It has many shops one after the other in a row that offers delectable paranthas. The shops has all - aloo parantha, malai parantha, kela parantha, khurchan parantha, paneer parantha et al. The taste and savor of these paranthas is simply irresistible. Not very far from the Paranthewali gali is the Kinari bazar. It is also called the shopper's paradise. It is perhaps the most apt place in Delhi where you can buy the most fascinating range of wedding trousseaus at reasonable prices. Other than the wedding dress you can also find a matchless variety of turbans, garlands, rosettes and the like here.
In Kinari Bazaar complex is a complex of Naugharana. It is a row of nine houses each of has maintained its traditional appearance and style, with courtyards and ornamental gateways. A little ahead, at the of the complex comes the Jauhari's temple. The famous Jain temple was built in the Mughal period, and still restores its old world charm. From Naugharana, we walk to Katra Kushal Rai, to see some grand havelis. The ornamental stone carved havelis are built around a courtyard and entered through arched gateways.
From there we will head to Dharampura, that houses the famous Sri Digambara Jain Naya Mandir. Built in 1807, by Lala Harsukhrai, the sandstone temple is profusely decorated with paintings and intricate floral motifs. After this we will visit Gali Guliyan, which is famous for its brassware and antique shops. At the end of the street is the Jama Masjid. The main Mosque of Shahjahanabad was built in 1656 by the Mughals and is still revered as one of the most sacred places amongst Muslims in India. The three large imposing gates of the mosque were built on the south, north and east side. The mosque is surmounted by three domes adorned with white marble with black stripes and gilded pinnacles. Behind the mosque are four small minarates, similar in appearance to the ones in front. The courtyard is sheltered with red sandstone and has a marble tank in the centre. The prayer chamber has eleven arched entrances. In the north east corner of the courtyard, relics of prophet are preserved.
Here ends your heritage walk of Old Delhi's Chandni Chowk area. This walk is a must done activity if you are coming to visit Delhi. It shows Delhi in a different light. As you drive past the urbane and polished set up of New Delhi to reach Old Delhi, you will sense the conspicuous change in lifestyle, culture and attributes of the people. Old Delhi with its vivid patterns, colourful and vibrant culture gives the feel of an independent city housed in the main city. The historic charm and beauty of this place makes it completely matchless and worth visiting.