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Video: Raw & Real in Chandni Chowk

INDIA | Thursday, 24 October 2013 | Views [2221]

Spending a day in New Delhi's oldest marketplace feels more like a lifetime. Worn, weathered, and enriched with hundreds of years of active trade and commerce, it's like stepping onto a movie set, where everything seems almost too fantastical to be real. Need a goat? About time for that haircut and shave? Fresh new whites for the colorful madness of Holi? How about "new" tires for your rickshaw? You'll find it here.

Glancing up, I saw a thousand serpent-like cables and wires dangling from every edifice, like empty clotheslines connecting itself to a thousand others like it. It's a "sharing society" when your neighbor merely "borrows" it from you by rigging his to yours.

Passing innumerable options of street food carts and side walk eateries, I couldn't resist the urge to stop in for a quick taste of what the locals were cooking up. Now, a note to the reader: I had lived an intensely squeamish month while backpacking the jungles of Thailand a few years back, and it took me a while to recover. So picking up a chapati off the food carts of India, took a lot of, well, guts. And I am SO glad I did.

Out of all the wonderfully orchestrated chaos that is Chandni Chowk, my favorite souvenir was intangible: it was to lose myself in its ancient and intricate alleyways, my senses tantalized by a million and one exotic spices and aromas, as clouds of people and incense breezed by me. It was Life. Unfolding daily. Welcome to Chandni Chowk.

- Andre Bolourchi

Related articles:

Inside India: Celebrating Holi & Avoiding Delhi Belly

A Taste of India - Southern Indian Specialties

On Thin Ice: How I Saved My Sherpa

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Tags: asia, chandi chowk, culture, delhi, food, getting lost, india, just go, markets, travel

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