Comfortably poised at the western end of Chandni Chowk, Khari Baoli usually escapes the exploration radar of most of the travellers visiting Delhi.
Now considered as Asia's largest spice market, it was built around the Fatehpuri Masjid, which was built in 1650 by Fatehpuri Begum, one of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's wives.
This market has been operational since the 17th century and lies in close proximity to the historic Red Fort in the northern part of the city.
What's this market all about?
Here the key spice which is traded is actually the plain ol' red chilli but you can literally find any possible Indian spice at this market for a dirt-cheap price, especially if you are buying it in bulk.
This place also houses flowers, khoya-gur shops, hair-care products and so on which basically tick marks your monthly grocery shopping list.
There are few shops here which are recognised instantly by their puraane names– “Chawal Wale 13”, “21 Number ki Dukaan”, “15 Number ki Dukaan” and many more since the time they were first set up here.
These trades are presently being continued by the 10th generation of the merchants now and each shop here spells history like no other!
Trade worth thousands takes place in this bazaar everyday but it happens through shops which located in small alleys and bylanes which are hardly a meter wide.
Today, Khari Baoli is not only Asia's largest spice market but is also a prominent commercial area. It caters to a vast spice market crowd of North India as well including states of Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and even Madhya Pradesh, making it perpetually crowded with traders, and shoppers looking for the cheapest deals and bargains around.
A few specialties here includes prunes, dried mulberries, unrefined pink salt, red chillies, herbs and grains so if you're here, don't shy away from visiting the snaking alleys which taper towards the end. Sneeze your way through these lanes to get hold of these beauties at economical rates.
If you're a teaholic, you can't simply skip out on visiting Mehar Chand and Sons. This 100 year old joint is stocked with the best quality of spices, herbs, dry fruits and their divine masala tea, is a mass favourite here. Don't let the old rugged appearance trick you into thinking that it's just another kiosk here- it's much more than what meets the eyes!
BTW beware of the spices here because they're too strong and it's fairly common to cough due to the dry spices in the air, so it isn't advisable for children to visit this area! The market is open on all days except Sundays and it operates between 10 am to 8 pm and don't let this scare you away. Evenings here are jam packed too so take a stroll here to find out whatever you're looking for!