A Good Walk in Old Delhi

Start in Old Delhi with a morning tour of the Lal Qila (Red Fort), Emperor Shah Jahan's sprawling 17th-century capital. Exit the Red Fort onto Chandni Chowk. Chaos reigns supreme here, so gather your wits and watch your feet lest they be flattened by a cart or cycle-rickshaw. You'll pass a short but fragrant row of flower-sellers. About four blocks down the street on the left, identifiable by its small gold dome, is the marble Sis Ganj Sahib Gurdwara, a Sikh shrine. After a look around, continue down Chandni Chowk and cross three more lanes (galis); then, at Kanwarji's sweet shop (opposite the Central Bank of India), turn left on Gali Paranthe Wali. Continue down the lane, following its jogs to the right, until the T at the Sant Lal Sanskriti sari shop. Turn left into Kinari Bazaar, a sparkling bridal-trimming market where Hindu families can buy every item required, and then some, for their wedding festivities.

At 2130 Kinari Bazaar (a bric-a-brac shop called Krishna & Co.), turn right into one of Chandni Chowk's most beautiful lanes, Naughara Gali, where a community of Jains lives in some colorful old havelis. At the end of this peaceful alley is the Svetamber Jain Temple. Even if the temple is closed (as it is between 12:30 and 6:30 every afternoon), Naughara Gali offers a respite from the bustle of the bazaar.

Return to Kinari Bazaar and turn right, continuing until Kinari Bazaar intersects with Dariba Kalan, or "Silver Street." If you're in the market for jewelry or curios, check out the shops to the left; if not, turn right and head down Dariba Kalan to its end. Turn right again and you'll find yourself on a broad street in the brass and copper district. Take the next right, then an immediate left under a stone arch. Now head up Chah Rahat, a typical narrow lane with old wooden balconies and verandas.

When Chah Rahat opens into a courtyard, take the hairpin turn to the left and follow the arrow on the sign for "Singh Copper and Brass Palace." After about 30 feet, a second sign directs you down an alley on the right. Singh's emporium is filthy but has an interesting collection of miscellany.

From Singh's, return to the courtyard on Chah Rahat and take the short, narrow lane to the left. You'll emerge to see the splendid Jama Masjid, preceded by a somewhat incongruous tool bazaar. To reach the mosque's entrance, head right, then follow the bazaar to the left.

At the end of this long tour, you'll probably be ready for a proper Muslim meal. Make for Karim's, on the colorful lane heading away from the mosque's entrance, or take a cycle-rickshaw to Chor Bizarre. Another option, a bit farther afield, is to take a taxi or rickshaw to Raj Ghat and the National Gandhi Museum.


Allow a full day—but not a hot one. Avoid Friday, when the mosque is closed to non-Muslims; Sunday, when most shops in Old Delhi are closed; and Monday, when the Red Fort is closed. (If Sunday and Monday are the only options, go for Monday. The bazaars are crucial to Old Delhi's flavor.) Note, too, that the Svetamber Jain temple is closed to visitors for most of each afternoon, so if art and architecture make your heart sing, try to start very early or right after lunch.

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