Monday, December 14, 2009

Shopping in Old Delhi

Lesa and I have been exploring some of the market streets in Old Delhi. We do this on Saturdays when the kids have school - which gives us about 5 hours to explore some of the slightly sketchier parts of town without worrying about keeping track of children. One of our favorite areas includes the streets and alleys surrounding Chandni Chowk.This is a famous Old Delhi market street that runs into the massive Red Fort (Lal Qila). It is always full of shoppers looking for "cheap and best" prices.
One of these alleys is called, Kinari Bazaar. Also known as "Wedding Street," this alley is ground-zero for fancy Saris, ribbon, beads and special decorations and garlands. Its also a great place to shop for a man's turbin. This is the same place where I recently found capes for the kids' Halloween costumes.

Once you start wandering these streets and alleys it becomes quite a maze... These passages are often narrow and snake their way through the neighborhood. I often think of an electrician-friend of ours back in Austin when I see the wild web of phone, cable and electricity lines tangled above us as we walk. (see above)
The smells are memorable - usually good ones! Paratha Walla Marg (translated as "paratha sellers street") smells wonderful. One of the open-air restaurants here is well over 130 years old. (1872) Parathas are made of unleaven bread stuffed with vegetables, spices and sometimes cheese (paneer) - pretty much a meal on the go. These are often eaten for breakfast here in north India.
On our last trip in, we took one of our friends, Jane a little farther up Chandni Chowk to the Fruit and Nut/Spice/Pickle Market. This neighborhood smells incredible. Once you hit the spice stalls you often find yourself sneezing from all of the wonderful spices drifting in the air! Our favorites items are definitely the nuts, though. We go for the cashews, pistachios (pista) and almonds!

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