Sunday, September 19, 2010

Khari Baoli

Khari Baoli Market
Khari Baoli is the Asia's biggest wholesale spice market. The market can be reached by taking the Khari Baoli road (towards western direction) after crossing the Fatehpuri Masjid on the western end of the main Chandni Chowk Road. Famous for its wholesale grocery, the market offers all kinds of spices, nuts and herbs

The market came up around, the Fatehpuri Masjid, which was constructed in 1650 by Fatehpuri Begum, one of Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan's wives. It was during his rule that the Khari Baoli, with Baoli, meaning the step well, and Khari and Khara meaning Salty were built. Thus it was salty water step well used for animals and for bathing. It was constructed along with a fortified gateway on its western end famously known as Lahori Gate, one of the 14 gates that Fortified city of Delhi or Shahjahanabad. The gateway got its name because a road through it led to the city of Lahore, now in Pakistan. Though, today there is no trace of either the Baoli or the gateway here, which now lies buried under the main road of the market.

In 1936, Chowdhary Chhotu Ram, a minister in the Punjab Government made a law that cancelled all the debts of the villagers, thus several Agrawal traders lost business and migrated to Delhi and settled in areas like Kamla Nagar, Shakti Nagar and Model Basti, and took their trade took around the walled city areas of Old Delhi, especially Chandni Chowk, Khari Baoli, Dariba Kalan, Nai Sarak, Naya Bazaar, Sadar Bazaar and Chowri Bazaar.

Here many shops are still known by their serial numbers ex- "Chawal Wale 13" or "21 Number Ki Dookan", and are run by the ninth or tenth generation of the founders, who started these business, way back in the 17th and 18th century.

“Gadodia Market", situated on the south side of Khari Baoli was conructed by wealthy merchants in 1920s has one of the numerous spice stores and is Asia’s largest wholesale spice market. Today, the market has become a busy commercial district, as it serves to vast spice market of North India, including states of Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and even as far as Madhya Pradesh, making it perpetually crowded with traders, and shoppers looking for cheapest deals and bargains, in the narrow margin spice, dry fruits and other perishable commodity market .

The other end of Khari Baoli market is on the GB Road (Red light area and whole sale market for hardware goods) and Sadar Bazar (wholesale market for non branded consumer goods).

At present, the street of Khari Baoli is turned into a busy and congested market with shops on both sides selling spices, nuts and herbs. The visitors will have a unique experience here viewing the whole process of market of loading, carrying or unloading of huge packs of items from manual trolleys, shopkeepers busy in dealing with the customers, customers selecting bulk quantities of items and weary laborers resting and chatting aloud. The overall look of the market seems to be very crowded and chaotic but in reality it is very well managed if kept in consideration the fact that such a huge amount of trading of small items is carried out daily.

How to reach Khari Baoli:
Khari Baoli market is situated near the historic Delhi Red Fort, on the Khari Baoli Road adjacent to Fatehpuri Masjid at the western end of the Chandni Chowk. The nearest railway station is Old Delhi Railway Station and nearest metro station is Delhi Main.

In order to reach Khari Baoli, one can take either take local buses from various places within the city or can hire auto-rickshaws, taxis and metro rail.

Preferred Timings: 11:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Note: Khari Baoli market remains closed on Sundays.

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