The famous Paranthe Wali Gali, Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi is one of the still serving relics of Mughal rule in India that has fed millions of people with its old fashioned, strictly vegetarian parathas. It is one of the narrow street in Chandni Chowk that has some legendary shops serving the famous north Indian parathas (an Indian flatbread).
Walking through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk and reaching the Paranthe Wali Gali is a great fun. The paratha shops inside the gali are very small and you have to sit all cramped up in the shop to enjoy the paratha. But trust me the experience of having the parathas in this Gali are worth the pain.
Chandni Chowk was established by Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan in 1650 and was built along with the Red Fort. During those days the lane was known only for its silverware shops, before the Paranthe shops moved in, first in the 1870’s. However now you find the lane full of many sari and jewelry shops.
In 1960 the Paranthe wali gali was full of 20 odd shops belonging to members of same family. However in 1984 the anti-Sikh riots started outside Kanwarji’s (which is 10 feet away from the paratha wali gali) which burnt down the gali completely. After the riots many shops moved out while other were rebuilt. Now there are only three shops in the gali namely, Pandit Kanhaiyalal Durgaprasad Dixit, Pandit Dayanand Shivcharan, Pandit Baburam Devidayal Paranthewale which are run by sixth generation of the same family.
Eminent leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Vijaya Lakshi Pandit have visited this place to enjoyed the parathas at Paranthe wali gali. The photograph of the same can be found in the shops of the gali.
The Famous Parathas
After spending some quality time at Jama Masjid our hunt for parathas began. We enjoyed walking through the busy bustling Nai Sarak which is among the largest book market in Delhi. While exploring the walled city of Delhi we reach the tiny paranthe wali gali all tried and hungry.
We decided to try the deep fried parathas at ‘Pandit Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan’. Our next challenged was to figure out which parathas to try since the menu was loaded with all sort of parathas we can think off. Spicy Mirch, Kaju, Badam, Mint, Cheese roll, Banana, Bitter gourd, Papad etc. are among the available parathas. Slowly and steadily we ordered almost 14 different parathas among five of us.
The parathas were fried in pure ghee in cast-iron kadhais and are served steaming hot with Sweet Tamarind Chutney, Mint Chutney, Mixed Vegetables Pickle, Potato and green peas curry, and a sauteed mash of sweet pumpkin. A tangy combination of radish and carrot is also available as pickle.
The Parantha shops adhere to Brahmin vegetarianism, which basically means that onion & garlic are not used in their preparations. Also the cost of the parathas is reasonable cheap compared to Mumbai.
Another unique experience of the place is having lassi served in earthen pot called kullars. The lassi is thick but not heavy. It is just the right amount of sweet and makes perfect pairing with parathas. Large sweet sips of lassi in between all the spice and oil is a bliss!!
Looking at the cons of the parathas served at the gali, they are a lot calorie driven since they are fried in pure ghee. Another interesting aspect is to see that if this legendary old shops are able to sustain the growing competition, increasing modernization and creativity. Will the traditional heritage recipes be lost in our scrap books or continue with a new look along with the future generation? The answer to all this lies in the future. However the fact today is that Paranthe Wali Gali still hold on its own as our traditional heritage.
- Budget: Rs 60 to Rs. 70 for a paratha
- How to get there: The gali is located within Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi. Take the Metro to Chandni Chowk, then go east on Chandni Chowk road until you see the main street of Chandi Chowk. The gali is located just off the main street in Chandi Chowk after after Sisganj Gurudwara.
If you get lost, just ask anyone for “paranthe wali,”
The experience of eating in this small lane is overwhelming. Also, the Paranthas stuffed with exotic fillings like Chilies, Lemons, Kajus (cashews), Badams (almonds), Matar (peas), Khoya (milk-based), Rabri (yoghurt-based), Bitter Gourds, Radishes, Carrots, Cauliflowers etc. are worth giving a try.
Visit this place and check out the frenzied excitement of the lane by yourself!