A walk around the Haveli’s of Old Delhi

The beauty of the Old Havelis in Chandni Chowk lie in the crumbling state as they are in, today who have stood the test of time. Walking past the Old city of Shahjahanabad, the almost broken and haunted looking havelis have a certain magnet which has the power to attract you towards them. Take out some time, to admire the elaborate arcades, colossal doors, which take you back to a long by-gone era.


Situated in Chhota Bazaar, opposite old St.Stephen’s College building, Seth Ram Lal Khemka Haveli was once a place where wealth and power concentrated. It was built in 1850, the mansion has been a witness to the plunder during sepoy mutiny and the revolt of 1857. The present owners, Baglas, inherited the mansion in around 1905. The mansion is built using two types of brickworks from colonial era and the thinner ones, being the Lakhori bricks.

This 19th century mansion welcomes you with an open-air aourtyar with stairways leading towards the large rooms. The effort of the present family can be seen in keeping the old charm alive of the mansion.
How to get there: Ten minutes walk from Kashmere Gate metro station


A textile from the Mughal era, one of the wealthiest people in Delhi, Lala Chunnamal’s haveli was built in 1848. The positioning of the haveli, is interesting as it is situated in the Walled city of Shahjahanabad, the commercial hub of the city, but as you enter the quiet lanes, you forget the hustle and the chaos around you. Although a neglected haveli, it still sparks the erstwhile opulence and an unrestricted entrance welcome you whole heartedly. The mansion consists of 128 rooms which still consists of the chandeliers, antique wall hangings, family pictures on the wall with wooden chimneys. Currently, the 10th generation is staying as well as has the ownership of the mansion

How to get there: Five minutes walk from Chawri Bazaar metro station via Nai Sarak Marg


A mansion near the canal, as you walk through Daryaganj road, is a mansion which was owned by the forefathers of Pervez Musharraf,the ex-President of Pakistan. The mansion is said to be spread over 24,800 sq.ft the structure is dilapidated even though it was once a seat of muslim culture and traditions.
How to get there: Ten minutes walk from Chawri Bazaar


The traffic at Lal Kuan might let you walk past through the quaint place which was once a haveli of Begum zeenat Mahal, the favourite wife of Bahadur Shah Zafar. Towards the west of Hauz Qazi, the mansion dates back to 1846, when it was ordered by the empress herself. After her death, the Mahal was not taken care by anyone, till it was sold to the Indian Government by the Maharaja of Patiala. It stands in complete disarray and houses the famous school for Muslim girls, which happened with encroachments over the years.

How to get there: Ten minutes walk from Chawri Bazaar metro station via NaiSarakMarg


Bhagirath Palace, one of the biggest markets for electrical, was also a mansion for someone. While we still use the place for our shopping, much less is known about the mansion. The mansion was constructed in 1`8th century for a French mercenary Walter Reinhart. His wife’s name was Begum Samru. Pondering over the architecture you might see that it reflects quite a lot of both, the Greek and Roman architecture, with Corinthian columns.
How to get there: Ten minutes walk from Chandni Chowk metro station

When the sun sets at Shahjahanabad the city rises!

Shahjahanabad was the ‘seventh’ city which reflected the Mughal magnificence of Shah Jahan’s vision of 1639.The city is a beautiful amalgamation of religions, culture, food, people and heritage. The best time of the day to witness its beauty is at night, when the city gears up to unwind it the colours of the place. This memorable experience in the walled city of Delhi is curated by ‘Delhi Walks’, a flagship brand of India City Walks that strives to provide unique, memorable city experiences.

The Old Delhi experience begins after sunset at Jama Masjid, one of Shahjahanabad’s most prominent architectural landmarks. A walking tour with ‘Delhi Walks’ will help you understand the grandeur of Shah Jahan’s vision and the kind of resources that the Emperor had at his disposal. You will not be able to go inside the mosque at this hour of the day, but since the mosque is at an elevated area, you can see the grandeur from a distance as well. The elaborate Indo-Islamic architecture and the magnificent courtyard where people still sit and pray, is an exquisite sight to watch.
Stepping out of Shahjahan’s imperial Mosque, you straight enter into the lively alleys pf Old Delhi. Discover the gems of the main streets of Chandni Chowk, when we tell you the stories related to them. It was said that the main street was called as Chandni Chowk because the a tank at the center of this historic street once reflected a moonlight.
This walk promises to enthrall history buffs with the magnificent view of Red Fort on one end, Fatehpuri Masjid on the other and an array of heritage buildings on both ends.
The road staright ahead from Jama Masjid takes us to the most opulent bazaar loaded with a wide array of precious, semi-precious stones which can easily give competition to other streets in India. The street which was once a street lined with jewellery from various corners of the world, has looters eyeing on the wealth that the empire had in terms of Jewellery, which has gone through enough ransack to let it now sell only silver jewellery. But the designs offered here are unmatched to any other place.
A walk through DaribaKalan, would lead you to a small alley called Kinari bazaar which is a haven for those who love to shop till they literally drop with the weight of the bags that they’re carrying. At night, the lanes glitter, pop and shine with the colourful borders, laces and colorful embellishments
Tucked away in the heart of Kinari is a lane that’s easy to miss. This tranquil lane is known as Naughara, which contains nine traditional havelis that belong to the Jain community. Not very from Naughara lies a popular lane called galliparantheywalli. Pack a parantha or two from this alley only to head back to Naughara, to enjoy your moment of peace!

At the extreme end of this symmetrical street lies KhariBaoli, Asia’s largest spice market. A walk through the spice market lets you experience the smell of freshly ground spices, which is a mesmerizing feeling!
The Charm of Old delhi is intoxicating, and charismatic. A walk around Old Delhi is letting yourself immerse into the culture, the history and all that the city has to offer!

When the past coalesce with the present: Old Delhi

Old Delhi is not a place, it’s an experience. Each street that you visit has a different story to tell. While you reminisce the past Haveli’s which are forgotten, you also get to experience the delectable’s that the place has to offer. While going through the narrow alleys of the Mughal magnificence the original havelis of Shahjahan’s era are gone now, most of them destroyed, but some of them taken over by larger populations dividing and converted into mohallas or the residential colonies and katras or the commercial enclaves. The main street of Chandni Chowk houses the most prominent Red Fort, which was the residential complex of the Mughal emperor, at the end of the street is his favourite wive’s Mosque, named after Fatehpuri Begum. There is an interesting story behind naming the main street as well. It was said, that the central arcade of the main street had a well at the center. On a full moon night, when the moonlight used to fall on the reservoir, it used to reflect on the mainstreet. That is why it was called as the moonlit square.

Apart from the old deserted Haveli’s which used to be of prominent people, the local culture and mixture of the people was effervescent. With the vibrancy that the walled city has to offer, the city has some delectables to offer. Be it for the non-vegetarians or vegetarians, such as Paranthewali gali, it is also the food haven.

If we have to travel back in time, the main street of Chandni Chowk exposes us to such cultural and religious tolerance which is unmatched till now. The main street has a Digambar Jain Temple, in line you have the famous Gurudwara Sis Ganj, right opposite to which is a cathedral Church and right at the end is the Fatehpuri Mosque.

The Morning Raga of Old Delhi!

Get.Set.Go, is the mantra that we believe in our organisation. Are you ready to enjoy a unique experience of a comfortable, cushy rickshaw ride brought to you by India City Walks. It is once in a lifetime experience which I’m sure you would not want to miss out on. With super comfortable rickshaws, brilliant storytelling to cater to your knowledge thirst and the narrow lanes which brim with activity all through the day will take you for a experience which will be etched in your memory. As the sun rises over the Walled city, which echo of some activities, where else would you find, the sleepy heads waking up to incessant chanting of mantras, from the Gauri Shankar temple, the serene ardas of Gurudwara Sis Ganj as well as the chapel in the Central Baptist Church will take you for a spiritual journey down the main street. The loud fajr azaan resonating from the walls of Jama Masjid’s imposing minarets is the cherry on the cake. While you are experiences all this in one go, I officially welcome you to the walled city of Shahjahanabad! While the shops are still closed, the shopkeepers would be seen sipping hot chai and waiting for the pakoras to be fried, which becomes their breakfast and kickstarts their hectic day!

The narrow alleys of Old Delhi move at a pace that they know of, especially in the mornings when they take their own sweet time to get up and get going with the day. Experience the unbelievable tranquility of a sleepy city with ‘Rickshaw Tours’, a flagship vertical of ‘India City Walks’ that curates special offbeat experiences to let you see city from a eye of a local. So what is a rickshaw?

Light, three wheeled passenger bicycle vehicle which carries one or more people according to the size and shape of the rickshaws. The custom made rickshaws which are owned by India City Walks have been designed to keep in mind the heritage, history and the culture of the historic walled city, which strives to offer the comfort and safety of the travellers who come to Old Delhi.

Be it any sort of experience, relating to food tour or just simple heritage tour, we are here to cater to a lot of varieties to give you the best of experiences. When paranthas at the Paranthewali Gali is a favourite for vegetarians, a rickshaw tour around Matia Mahal, opposite Jama Masjid, serves a quintessential breakfast meal which is filling at the same time a favourite amongst the locals. Nihari is the most famous breakfast meal around, which involves slow cooking of meat with nearly fifty varieties of spices, including garam masala, cumin, cardamom and other strong spices. This spicy dish is best eaten only in the morning. All passionate foodies who have a stomach of a pandora’s box, can join us for a tour in the meshed wired lanes of matia Mahal, which brims with the smell of lots of spices.

We understand, crawling out of bed, right in the morning is a tedious task, and we at ‘India City Walks’ strive to give you the rare glimpse of serene Shahjahanabad through the empty lanes and alleys.

A Unique perspective to Old Delhi, the history of Shahjahanabad can be sought while you take a rickshaw tour, as we do impromptu storytelling of all the places you visit, the colours and the soul of Old Delhi which makes it a living fabric of the city. Shot halt’s around the city where you would step down to experience the places, will be done, and of course for food tasting. Pick your bet, whether a food tour or a heritage tour, we are ever ready to deliver the best of the experiences!

First shop, then Drop!

Ever thought, if you could shop your heart out, and feast on some delicious food? Here are some places which you can look out for!
The haveli of the maverick Urdu poet is what is popular in Ballimaran. There is a lot of controversy related to the name Ballimaran. While some point out that it refers to the maker’s of balli’s or oars, whereas the later editions refer to the name as ‘Billimaran’ which suggests the killers of cats! Yet another rendition to the name Ballimaran is that it was named after the wooden poles used for anchoring boats in the Yamuna and the canals that ran between Fatehpuri Mosque and Red Fort, which are the opposite directions. The area occupied by Punjabi business community that converted to Hinduism from Islam in their holy dip in the Ganga- following a miracle performed by a Muslim saint. Post-Partition many residents migrated to Karachi which is now in Pakistan. Predominantly a Muslim area, the place is known for footwear, optical frames and a noted family of Hakims who are practitioners of Yunani medicine.

Chitli Qabar Chowk:
What do you expect in a marketplace? Convenience, air conditioned comfort and electronic payments? Probably we all do, but we often forget that these are fairly newer developments and at least in India, the mom and pop stores ruled the roost till the 90s and they still do in smaller towns.
In a metropolis like Delhi, the best way to experience a typical Indian bazaar is to visit Old Delhi which never fails to live up to its legend. Bazaar Chitli Qabar is one of those markets hidden inside the narrow alleys of Old Delhi and which are now somewhat overshadowed by more prominent landmarks.
The market probably derives its name from a small qabar (grave) that is located in the midst of the market. It’s protected by small houses covered with grills and is surrounded by various shops that go about their business nonchalantly.
The entire locality of Bazaar Chitli Qabar is a smaller, more congested and more homely version of the more commercialized Chandni Chowk found nearby. Narrow alleys, even more tightly packed shops selling everything from apparel to metal works to flowers can be seen; there are traditional bakers preparing large round shaped breads which you’re more likely to witness in a Middle Eastern souk and roads choked in perennial traffic jams; everything in this place is as far removed from your typical urban existence as it can be.

A Sunny afternoon date with Old Delhi!

Shahjahanabad in the afternoon, is bustling with people at all corners of the walled city. Whether it’s the shopkeepers shouting at the top of their voices, or the customers looking for their perfect piece of cloth, border that they are looking for, meshed wires, right above, watch your step, don’t stumble on the wires. You are yet to see the beauty and charm that the Walled city is!
If the heat is a spoilsport for you, you should see how the locals find solace in the sturdy roofs of mansions and throng for afternoon prayers under the shady dome of mosques that reflect impeccable imperial architecture. With all this hustle, the walled city of Shahjahanabad still is the go-to place for tourists from all walks of life, where only in the afternoons you will encounter chock-a-block alleys starting from the main street of Chandni Chowk through the narrower alleys like Ballimaran, Kinari Bazaar, and Dariba Kalan. A rickshaw tour around the bustling city of Old delhi will be an experience unforgettable, as you see the bustle on streets but once you hop on the rickshaws, you can indelibly be lazy while taking a leisurely tour with ‘Rickshaw Tours’, a flagship vertical of ‘India City Walks’ that curates offbeat city experiences. A rickshaw is a light two-wheeled passenger vehicle drawn by one or more people. The custom made rickshaws owned by ‘India City Walks’ have been designed keeping in mind the heritage, history and culture that the historic city has to offer as well as the comfort and safety of the travelers who come to explore the city of Old Delhi.
The route and the experiences have been designed as a part of the tour by ‘India City Walks’ to ensure that you spend very little time to get baked in the gorging sun and enjoy a swift, memorable ride around the walled city, the city which was commissioned by the Emperor Shahjahan. The tour starts from Jama Masjid, as we tell you the stories related to the mosque which is one of the largest in Asia. Right from the experience of the cool marble precincts to the elaborate central wall we tell you the story which makes the mosque come alive. After the mosque, we can hop into the royal carriages, which are comfortable and cushy rickshaws, to step away from the Mughal magnificence to the present day bustling city of Old Delhi. ‘India City Walks’ takes you through the main street of Chandni Chowk, literally translated as moonlit square, as the moonlight would reflect over the tank which would provide water through streamlets to the whole city, while you relax and sit in the rickshaw, we do the storytelling for you.
From there, we take a straight route to Asia’s largest spice market which is brimming with the strong smell of spices, there to absolutely mesmerize you and take you for a flavored ride. The whole of Chandni Chowk, is a mixed bag, while the main street of Chandni Chowk, has heritage temples and spiritual places like the Digambar Jain Mandir, Gurudwara Sis Ganj or the Central Baptist Church, all in the same route, the heart of the city has a small shop which has been serving masala Soda’s for 120 years, to beat the heat and give you the lost energy.
India City Walks will titillate your senses when the rickshaws take you around the busiest and the colorful alleys. Be it Ballimaran the one stop lane for footwear, optical and colorful bangles, or the wedding market, Kinari Bazaar which has the best designs for colorful wedding stores. Either sit on the rickshaw, or get down, admire the beauty of the lanes at your own leisure.
An afternoon in the city of Old Delhi lets you experience the quirky delights in a new way. The lazy, sunny streets might be the best time to experience the unique charm that should not be missed out on, especially when it is captured by ‘India City Walks’ rickshaw tour.

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