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Sunday, 14 June 2015

Markets of Chandi Chowk In Delhi

The storyteller ! Beautiful shop

Turban man is for the money the other serves, very serious business
but he only wanted to discuss the cricket !!

A rickshaw ride into the ancient lanes of Chandi Chowk,  the biggest spice market in Asia was an amazing day for me. It appears to be chaos, but millions of traders have been doing business here every day, for centuries, purchasing, loading in and out and I am sure a lot of money changing hands.
A visual and sensual assault. So many spices and dried fruits, teas, rices, lentils and flours. The Indians are great story tellers and if it helps sell their wares,  why not ? Guaranteed to stop old age, make you fertile, help in pregnancy, help breast milk, stop aches and pains and on and on. You can buy tea that has been picked by the light of a silvery moon every seven years. I didn't fall for that one, but the guy selling me the tea, has been convincing people for years and he told me it works. Hilarious !
I tried some delicious food at such little cost. Paratha from the very ancient Paranthewali making paratha since the 1800's. A plate with dahl, coriander and mint chutney, a fruit chutney and a vegetable curry to have with our paratha for the cost of $1.00. Simply delicious !
The jalebis ,orange whirl of batter dipped in a sugar syrup. Samosas, from Japani Samosawala a 40 years old business. Lassis and mango ice cream, spicy chaat to take home, and amazing sweets. We had coffee at the Jain coffee house.
Most of these places are open every day. The old places are highly specialised and much loved. So enjoyable wandering the ancient lanes in a market like no other I have been.
In the afternoon we ventured to a Sikh Temple Kitchen or Langar where thousands of people  of every caste creed and colour are fed twice seven days a week .
It is run by volunteers who see this as part of their spiritual service.
Massive woks and cauldrons, are stirred with shovels and churn out tons and tons of dahl. Other
workers are making chapatis. I have never seen kitchens or cooking pots so huge and so clean.This wonderful service is done in a very orderly manner. People queue up outside and upon entering sit in orderly lines, are given a plate then served their meal. It takes no time to eat, as they leave the plates are passed back to the kitchen, the floors are swept and the next lot enter. I am sure this goes on in most major cities where a Sikh Temple is, but having not seen it I found quite spiritual and comforting amidst the chaos of Delhi.
Feeding the masses

Volunteers making the bread

Large woks of dahl