Delhi has a long history of habitation, dating back to ancient times. It is widely believed that this area was inhabited before 2nd millennium BCE and the written accounts of its continuous habitation are available since 6 century BCE. It has been the capital of Pandavas since the Mahabharata times.
In present times, the two terms most often used while referring to Delhi are “Old Delhi” and “New Delhi”. The difference lies in the way this city was developed in two different periods of time. While “Old Delhi” areas are the ones which were developed during the Mughal and Sultanate period in medieval times, the term “New Delhi” is referred to the areas developed during the British Period.
“Old Delhi’ is a name given to the walled city area which was developed during the times of Shah Jahan, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi. In modern times, this refers to the location of Red Fort, Chandni Chowk, Ajmeri Gate, Lahori Gate, Kashmiri Gate, Jama Masjid, Delhi Gate and the surrounding areas. Administratively, these areas are largely fall under the Central Delhi District.
Red Fort was built by Shah Jahan and is a national monument. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site of importance. Every year, the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort. It was built in Indo-Islamic architectural style by architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori. Opposite to Red Fort is the Chandni Chowk market, a key market for traders in clothing materials, clothing, fabrics, accessories, consumer electronic products, jewelry, spices, stationery, brass and wooden handicrafts, old books and grains. Many delectable vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines can be savoured here.
The vast grounds behind the Red Fort are popular for the Sunday Chor Bazaar, a market held every Sunday for the old products. These products could be anything from rugs and carpets to tyres of cars. The shops here are known for high bargain prices and one needs to be a real good negotiator to get a cheap deal.
Jama Masjid is yet another historic monument of national importance. It was also built by Shah Jahan. It is an important religious place for the Muslims. The area around Jama Masjid is known for its meat shops, stationery items, metal handicraft items, wedding cards and book shops that sell old books at cheap rates.
Nai Sarak is a popular street close to Jama Masjid known for selling old books. There are many vendors of old books. If you want to have second hand books on any discipline, there are very good chances of finding these here. You can even sell your old books here at good prices.
Ajmeri Gate has shops which deal in auto parts, consumer electronics, such as washing machines, refrigerators, mixers and grinders and many others. Many a shops also deals in repairs of these products. Turkman Gate has wholesale shops for metallic products which are used in artificial jewelry or as embellishments for clothing.
Delhi Gate area is known for its musical instrument shops, clothing, old cinema houses and restaurants. A popular Sunday Market of old books used to draw many visitors here.
The Kashmere Gate ISBT is what makes the whole of area around Kashmere Gate quite popular. However, there are a number of shops in its close vicinity dealing in different products which are also thronged by visitors. A number of banks also have branches in the Old Delhi. PNB, Allahabad Bank, Vijaya Bank, SBI, etc have branches here.
The whole areas of Old Delhi are characterized by narrow lanes behind one broadway with residential and commercial establishments existing together. “Galis”, “Kuchas” and “Katras” are the names given to these interior lanes. The architecture style of the OId Delhi buildings is predominantly Indo-Islamic with features of arches, pillars and “jaalis” made as windows. The worn-out look of buildings with various cracks having developed over a long period of time is a throwback in time. Old Delhi is the place where high density of population lives and there are overly crowded streets during the market times.
Old Delhi market is connected with Delhi Metro Rail Network. Yellow Line of the Delhi Metro has stations at Chawri Bazaar and Chandni Chowk. Also, Violet Line passes through this area with stations at Lal Qila and Delhi Gate.
Inter-State Bus Terminus
Kashmere Gate ISBT is present in Old Delhi where buses to and from different cities of India ply.
The New Delhi Railway Station lies close by at Paharganj. This is one of the largest stations of Railways from where you can take trains to many cities of India.