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History of Chandni Chowk


Opposite the Lahore Gate of the Red Fort is Delhi's famous street of Chandni Chowk. Also known as the Moonlight Square, Chandni Chowk is one of the most important and historic streets of Delhi. Popularly called the 'Trafalgar Square of Delhi', it is located in the heart of the city and is accessible from all parts of Delhi. Apart from its historical importance, Chandni Chowk is well known for the traditional alleys, different places of worship, markets and many eateries.

History of Chandni Chowk

Over 300 years old, Chandni Chowk was built when the famous walled city of Shahjahanabad was constructed in the 17th century. There is a famous Jain Temple, the Gauri Shankar Temple, Gurdwara Sisganj, Baptist Church, Sunheri Masjid and Fatehpuri Masjid. The presence of the many important places of worship reflects the secularism and diversity of Indian culture.

It is believed that Jahanara Begum, the eldest daughter of the Mughal king, Shah Jahan designed and laid this well known street of Delhi. She decorated the street with marvelously designed mansions, gardens and divided it into four parts. The first part known as the Urdu Bazaar stretched from the Jain Temple to the Dariba Kalan. Phool Mandi, the second part extends from Dariba Kalan to Kotwali. From Kotwali to the existing Town Hall is the third section called Jouhari Bazaar. From Jouhari Bazaar to the Fatehpuri Masjid was called the Chandni Chowk.

The name of Chandni Chowk was derived from an octagonal pool on the street which reflected moonlight. The water of the pool flowed through a canal around the street. This is how the street came to be known Chandni Chowk or Moonlight Square. During the rule of the British, the pool was replaced by a 110 feet high clock tower.

The street has undergone a number of changes since the time it was constructed. However the importance of Chandni Chowk still remains.

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