Travel Experience

A Day in Life: Old Delhi

A Day in Life: Old Delhi
Last Updated: July 25, 2019

The Morning in Old Delhi…

The rush hour is endless, everybody’s competing to get first to the metro line and the continuous fumes from the old rotten scooters shoot the busy marketplace. I was out in the soothing winter sun looking for some new finds to mark my footprints but I got distracted by the fresh scent of ‘Pakoras’ and ‘Garam Chai’, for a moment this brought dark memories when I got food poisoning from ‘Pani Puri’ a few years back, but the irresistible smell of India’s speciality could perhaps be my ultimate toothy fare from my local finds – I knew I had it coming, I ordered a plate full of Pakoras with red sweet and spicy chutney and heaven sends…luckily no food sickness but another plate of Pakoras.

Marketplace Old Delhi

Where the old world city on the fringes of the modern platform meets ‘Darya Ganj’ I gave a nod to being a part of the clouds of dust. Similar to ‘Kumbh Mela‘, the crowd had me going Sha la la la la… {clap clap clap} in the morning but you got to know, not for the crowd my heart jingled but to find a mini chor bazaar {as the locals call it}. I had my wallet slip in my front pocket, thanks to my tight jeans – accidental slippage or robbery was out of the question. I did find some cheap souvenirs ‘I loathe cold, a warm pair of bedroom slippers just fit my budget’.

The Afternoon in Old Delhi…

Chawri Bazaar

The best preserved old buildings with timeworn window panes and big antique doors kept me walking further in search for the ‘Jama Masjid’ and ‘Meena Bazaar’. Deciding to rabble through the narrow lanes I navigated through the great unwashed walls of the soothing houses and ended up in ‘Chitli Qabar Chowk,’ where I stopped for a second thinking ‘is this where I am supposed to be?’

Was I Lost?

Jama Masjid Gate

Yes, but soon the narrow crowded shops full of eateries and stores bought me out in the open right outside the gates of ‘Jama Masjid‘. I may not have the best memory when it comes to locating places but I got to come face to face with the fact that I can find my way out of the crowded areas no matter how long that takes. With the walk that involved a lot of excursions, I was in for some gluttony. The navigation system in my mobile pointed an amiable cafe ‘Karim’s’ and by the picture, it looked simpatico. A little inside the Matia Mahal Road where I was at, Karim’s traditional Mughlai dishes gave me the munchies. The price range may be slightly above budget for college students {I was then} but as they say, when hunger strikes grab a snicker well, I grabbed the menu to try the Mughlai Veg Pulao instead. After stuffing my empty stomach, I casually strolled through the entrance of ‘Jama Masjid’.

A Typical Indian…

Jama Masjid Stairs

Well…I cannot easily trust anyone in certain things, like in this case – not sure of the whereabouts my shoe would be upon returning from the Masjid, I removed my shoes at the gates and hidingly slide inside my bag. What? There is nothing wrong with it. Although there is a place to store your shoe and even get a plastic bag to cover your shoe, I wasn’t ready to pay for that, when I can do things my way.

Hurrah Hurrah!!!

Jama Masjid View

I had a child like dream to climb up one of the minarets someday and I finally did. A steep climb to a 40-meter height made me gasp till I reached the top. Such captivating the entire old city looked from above – The view left me aghast.

Maybe it’s ‘Namaaz’…

Jama Masjid top view

The ‘Call for prayer Namaaz’ is something that lingers to me, so deep I am never tried to listen to its soulful prayer, something that cannot be expressed. I was always attracted to the alluring or calm or captivating sound of Namaaz. The moment I pressed my hand on the circular cage bordering the minar, the music echoed from every direction. Gentle rhythms of the prayers were mesmerizing. I assure you its soft prayers have the power to silence the city.

The Evening in Old Delhi…

Meena Bazaar

I headed down towards the exit to grab a nice ‘chai’ with ‘samosa’ when suddenly I realized my trip to ‘Meena Bazaar’, well, clearly there is nothing I’d purchase but I wanted to experience the real ‘Chor Bazaar or Kabadi Market’. Adjacent to Meena Bazaar, the place left me in confusion and amazed so much to see and ponder. Besides, it gave me a wide angle view of the majestic ‘Jama Masjid’. The thrust to drink soothing warm tea had no intention to leave my mind. With no motive for further exploration, I made my last pit stop at a tea junction nearby. Well, I thought to make my last stop but I ended up exploring further. Coming to my view I saw a market flocking to people in a distance and ‘Nepalese Market’ came to my existence. Who knew in the midst of old charm there would be a Nepali shopping terminus packed with people buying woolen jackets and blankets. The narrow lane from end to end had devotees’ on looking the many stockpiles of apparels and haggling their best offer.

Where to Next?

Chawri Bazar

Meandering the past one’s prime street of Old Delhi’s ‘Chawri Bazaar’, I felt a presence of something magical as the lights lit one by one I gazed at some superannuated erection the market supports. Strolling the long stretch of the Hauz Qazi Chowk from the backyard of Jama Masjid to Chawri Bazaar, the illuminating chaotic streets fill the jam-packed roaring people as I made my way to my final station.

It’s always good to EAT…

Paranthwali Gali

Recommended by many people I had to try out this gastronome street. And yes the streets were filled with a steamy elegance of restaurants on both sides. The lane was maddening, I had to wait in queue for few minutes for my seat to get vacant.

But where did I eat?… Sorry for stringing you along…

Pt. Kanhaiyalal Paranth waale

Pt. Kanhaiyalal & Durga Prasad Paranthe Wale, many of Delhiites would recall this name. To my wonder, I found many photo frames with pictures of celebrities hung on the restaurant walls. I sat right below ‘Lola Kutty’ Anuradha Menon, a popular VJ of Channel V.

I rather found the menu HI-LARI-OUS and why?

Paranthe wale Menu

It’s unfortunate to see such big hanging menu on the wall with miss-spelt assortments of teeming dishes. Hope they check the spellings soon. But never mind the spelling if the food is great. I stuffed my mouth full of ‘Muli Paratha’ with side dips like red and green chutney, pumpkin sabzi, aloo mattar gravy. I felt so relaxed after the meal; I had no intention for dinner later that day. Needless to say – this is the beauty ‘Purana Shahar’ speaks off. The endless entree of comfort food, charming narrow lanes that tend to grow smaller the more you wriggle in the zigzag alley. The monkeys, more adventurous than any living crisscross the cluttered electricity wires of the chaotic old sod and ‘tongas’ and ‘rickshaws’ penetrating their own route from one corner to another.

Quite a challenge to exit from the muddle…

Chandni Chowk Old Delhi

From the quiet murmur of the old city in morning with just ting tings of cycle rickshaw bells to the high sounding mass that wakes the dead in the evening. I witnessed the contrast of the old rubble of Delhi’s hidden charm. The trick is to enjoy life in whatever form it comes. I had my share of a boisterous and appealing affair…When are you going to have yours? If you want an experience of the old city Delhi, then I suggest you take the day off for a tour. Visit the Paratha Walla Gali to try out some of its best parathas, wander through the endless narrow lanes, embrace the old mega structures as you walk its pavements, feel the cool breeze from the minaret of Jama Masjid and just live the moment. If you enjoyed reading this blog please share and comment your views about Old Delhi. Planning a visit? Let us know about your plans and we will provide you with great deals of Delhi. Feel free to call us at +91-9212553106/07 or email us at

Published: 13 Feb, 2017
Abhishek Gurung


Abhishek Gurung is a writer whose passion for food and travel is an unending affair. He likes going on treks and camping in the woods, loves exploring forts and architecture, he is a cycle enthusiast who likes to contribute something to the environment, travel photography and videography is another interest as he sees life in a cinematic point of view. He likes the idea of living in offbeat destination where the mode of communication is to interact with each other. Coming from Nagaland, he has visited some beautiful valleys and remote villages and appreciates nature as it is and as it should be.

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