Shahjahanabad II: Chandni Chowk & Begam Samru’s House

Way back in November 2009 I had posted the previous in my Dilli Darshan series of posts, covering the Khari Baoli and Katra Neel areas of Shahjahanabad. That was the first in what was to be a set of posts covering Shahjahanabad, which I am now continuing!

That first Shahjahanabad post gives a bit of an introduction to the old walled city, and the rest of these posts will mainly be a visual tour of the different parts of the city as they exist today, representing it’s layered history. Most of the photos in this current post were taken in 2009, so technically they represent what the area was like in 2009! These photos are also on flickr.

This post covers the length of Chandni Chowk road, which along with the Jami Masjid are probably the best known parts of Old Delhi. Chandni Chowk used to be the name of a particular intersection/square, but now the entire main thoroughfare of Shahjahanabad – which formed the main axis leading to the royal palace – has been given that name.

The layered urban history of this area includes many buildings from the late 19th c. and early 20th c., with a few structures from before that time (like Sunehri Masjid) and a few later structures. Additionally, most of these structures have been added on to and “renovated” (mostly haphazardly) over the last few decades of the 20th c., till the present. Since this has been an important commercial road throughout this time, many of the structures are larger commercial buildings than we find in other parts of Old Delhi.

These photos follow the numbered progression shown in the map below, from one end of Chandni Chowk to the other, and then a few photos are from the area around Begum Samru’s House (known today as Bhagirath Palace and a major electronics market).


Location of Chandni Chowk and Begum Samru’s House in Shahjahanabad


The sequence of areas photographed follow the general numbered progression below


Netaji Subhash Road and Lajpat Rai Market

Netaji Subhash Road today separates the old city area from the royal palace, and Chandni Chowk starts here.

Temples at the head of Chandni Chowk


Lajpat Rai Market on Subhash Road


Between Subhash Road and Fountain Chowk

Photos along Chandni Chowk between Subhash Road and Fountain Chowk.

A bank building built in the colonial style of Lutyen’s Delhi

The beginning of the Esplanade, leading south from Chandni Chowk towards Jami Masjid

Building at the head of Dariba Kalan road, which also leads south from Chandni Chowk


Fountain Chowk

At this chowk are located the historically significant Sunehri Masjid and Sisganj Sahib Gurdwaras

Fountain Chowk

Art Deco building at Fountain Chowk

Sisganj Sahib Gurdwara

Sunehri Masjid


Between Fountain Chowk and Town Hall


Town Hall/Chandni Chowk

The intersection in front of Town Hall was the original location of “Chandni Chowk”, which is why the British constructed the Town Hall and other administrative buildings here.

Town Hall

Opposite Town Hall

The beginning of Nai Sarak, which leads south from Chandni Chowk

Opposite Town Hall


Between Town Hall and Fatehpuri Chowk

The expansive haveli of Lala Chuna Mal

Further ahead

One of the few modernist buildings along the road

Many of the structures, especially the bigger ones, have an ornate and decorative neo-gothic tinged/late-colonial fusion style seen the next few photos

This building is at the head of Ballimaran, another road that heads south from Chandni Chowk


Begum Samru’s House Area

The area around Begum Samru’s House/Bhagirath Palace.

The 19th c. colonial bungalow of Begum Samru, which is now inundated with modern construction all around

Area around Begum Samru’s House


To end this post are a few photos of the Old Delhi railway station and Hardayal Municipal Public Library (early 20th c.)

Old Delhi railway station

Hardayal Municipal Public Library

One thought on “Shahjahanabad II: Chandni Chowk & Begam Samru’s House

  1. Pingback: Shahjahanabad IV: Fatehpuri Masjid & Katra Bariyan | Sarson ke Khet

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