Heading out of the Metro Station at Chawri Bazaar, the escalator slowly transports you to a charming world that has so much to offer that it is easy to get lost exploring its narrow alleys.
One often ends up taking detours, led by a whiff of sizzling alu-tikkis on a tawa or tempted to dig into a kebab straight out of a charcoal grill.
Rickshaw-pullers masquerade as tour guides, point out the famous eateries and bazaars on the way to your destination, while navigating the narrow streets like seasoned experts.
During Ramzan, the walled city is an explosion of colour. Rows of plates laden with dates, fruits, pakodas and samosas beckon visitors.
In the evening, after a day of fasting in the summer heat, families form cozy circles on the floor and soak in the atmosphere as they break their fast. At around 7.20 p.m., the masjid is lit up, a green flag is waved from the terrace and crackers are burst to announce the sunset and get ready for Iftar.
For a Delhiite or a tourist exploring the area during Ramzan, the evening air is filled with the aroma of spices, the voices of vendors vying with each other.
A trend has caught on over the last few years to organise walks through the old city exploring its history and trying out the delicacy on offer.
Chief explorer and founder of India City Walks Sachin Bansal who has tied up with the Delhi Government to organise walks in the old city believes that “celebrating India’s diverse heritage is all about making the country’s plural legacy accessible and relevant to everyone.”
Taking their tagline of “exploring the city's soul” to heart, they have lined up a number of tours to re-acquaint the natives with the bazaars of Old Delhi and other parts of the city. The guided tours help visitors embark on a culinary adventure in Matia Mahal, a renowned food street and bazaar of Shahjahanabad located just outside the Jama Masjid.
During Ramzan, it is decorated with a canopy of streamers and paper lanterns. Neat piles of colourful spices, plump fruits and stacks of saiwayyan are displayed outside the shops to attract customers. Some of these shops have been there for decades and are a history lesson by themselves.
Customers wait patiently for their orders while slaking their eyes upon the kababs arranged in beautiful symmetry on sizzling grills.
Cool sherbet topped with watermelon cubes or kullad chai line up as the second course.
To indulge your sweet tooth, local bakeries stock up on nankhatai , biscuits and shahi tukda that melts in your mouth.
Modernity has also seeped into the age-old street food culture with the famous American Hershey's chocolate being mixed with ice paan to create a modern treat.
For a tourist exploring the area during Ramzan, the evening air is filled with the aroma of spices