To most people Chandni Chowk is a tacky and down market wholesale bazaar in Old Delhi. However, Chandni Chowk is more than just a relic of the Mughal era. A heady mixture of history, modernity, tradition, religion, food, chaos and commerce, it is quintessentially Delhi. Chandni Chowk was built in 1650 AD as an accompaniment to the majestic Red Fort or Lal Qila by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan and was designed by Jahanara, the Emperor's favorite daughter.
Chandni Chowk was established in 1650 and was built along with the Red Fort under the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan. Earlier this lane was known only for its silverware shops, before the Parantha shops moved in, first in the 1870s , though many sari and jewellery shops are still in this lane. Paranthe Wali Gali ("lane of parantha-makers") in Old Delhi is a famous gourmet localities of the world. The famous Mela restaurant in the UK has imitating the famousgullee and in Bombay the Only Parathas restaurant group is trying to copy the ambience of the Delhi lane. From the 20 parantha shops in the late 1960s (all belonging to branches of the same family), three remain. Pt Kanhaiyalal Durgaprasad (estd 1875), Pt Dayanand Shivcharan (estd 1882). Pt Baburam Devidayal Paranthewale (estd 1886). By 1911 this area, known as Chota Dariba or Dariba Kalan, got the name as Paranthewali Gali. In the years just after independence, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit came to take their parantha meals in this gali. The "Pandit Dayanand Shivcharan" shop proudly displays the photograph of the Nehru family eating in their shop. Late Jayaprakash Narayanand Atal Behari Vajpayee were regular visitors. In late 1980s many of them closed shop and moved out, though today this place is experiencing a revival; and some shops are being run by the sixth generation of the same family. The food is old fashioned, strictly vegetarian, and cooked dishes do not include onion or garlic, since the owners are brahmins, and traditionally their clientale has included Jains in the neighborhood. Varieties include exotic fillings like Kaju, Badam, Matar, Mix Paranthas, rabri parantha etc. The parantha is usually served with a side of sweet tamarind chutney, mint chutney, mixed vegetable pickle, a paneer and potato curry, potato and fenugreek curry, and a sauteed mash of sweet pumpkin (sitaphal).