The name “Churi Wali Gali” itself suggests a lane that sells varieties of bangles. This lane, dating back to the days of Emperor Shahjahan, survives as a quiet testimony to the glorious days that existed about 400 years ago.
The lanes of Chandni Chowk were planned in such a way that only a local person would know the ins & outs of the place which is the case even today; however, very little of the old world charm remains.
More Than Just Bangles
Ask for the Churi Walan Chowk where most of the bangle shops are, which are dismally few in number, as compared to the ancient times where the bangle sellers were known to have accessorized even royalty! This is not the scenario today, however, the merchandise is still as beautiful & unique.
Changing market demands have forced the bangle-sellers to showcase other merchandise as well such as clips, earrings & dress materials, but a variety of bangles are always found on display. They live on the upper floors of their shops & some even make bangles in their dark dingy apartments. Most of the shops found around in the gali have given place to ones that do not fit its mystical character at all: medical stores, groceries, home furnishings, etc line the lane today.
Lest you willingly choose to explore & saunter around, be prepared to walk a lot. The narrow lanes, some of which are hardly two & a half feet wide are always bustling with life. There is no segregated pavements for pedestrians. Autos, cycle rickshaws, two wheelers & human beings try to push & pull through the space once tread by royalty. Don’t ever take your eyes off the passage, or you won’t know what hit you!
Good to Know
Also, there are numerous shops selling non-vegetarian snacks on both sides of the lane as it snakes along. Carry a handkerchief to cover your nose, because the smell tends to be nauseating at times, even to a committed foodie. Despite being labelled as 'Old Delhi', the lanes have an underlying contemporary character. On a closer look, you will be able to identify the modern renovations over the original, tattered facades of the buildings. The gali comes to life around 11 AM & continues to exuberate energy till about 9 PM; however, the best time to visit this place, especially for the unacquainted would be during the day.
Take a Ride
It can be approached most conveniently from a narrow lane opposite to Gate No 1 of Jama Masjid. Another approach is through a particular lane in Daryaganj. The nearest metro station is Chandni Chowk on the Yellow Line, but you would have to hop on a rickshaw from there. A number of bus routes, such as 118, 405, 411, 419, 347 & 901, would drop you off at Daryaganj or Jama Masjid. Don’t even dream of driving down, as there is no parking space at all.
Plan your trip to Churi Wali Gali for an entire day coupled with a visit to Jama Masjid & the Red Fort owing to their close proximity to the place; satisfy your taste buds at the famous restaurant, Karim’s; & lose yourself in the narrow lanes in the heart of Chandni Chowk.