Khari Baoli is the largest spice market in Asia and possibly the world. It is located in old Delhi, between the Chandni Chowk and Chowri Bazar Metro Stations, and is a filled with everything from the most common to the most exotic spices. You can find strange items like “rattan jot”, to more staple items like cloves, green and black cardamom, black pepper, which are standard spices in any Indian household.
The market itself has been in existence since the 17th century, and the name "Khari Baoli" refers to a salty water step well that existed nearby in the 1550s.
Why should you go: One word- SPICES!
Whether you’re looking to experience Old Delhi or just looking to buy a stock of spices for yourself, this is the place to go to. The spices are without doubt better quality and in some cases- half the price at which you get them for in South Delhi. So if you are a large household- or if you would like to buy your household spices in bulk, or if you're just a tourist, this is the place to go to.
Remember that Khari Baoli caters to both retail spices as well as whole sale of spices. I bought my spices from a gully called “Gali Nai Vaas”, which catered to whole sale spices.
How to get around: the easiest way to get to Khari Baoli is to take the metro to Chawri Bazar or Chandni Chowk. From there, you can go by foot, but if you don’t know your way around it’s best to take an e-rickshaw, which is a shared rickshaw that charges around Rs 10 per person.
It's not a good idea to take a your car, and this is for several reasons.
1. There is no parking
2. Some of the gullies in the area are so narrow that they are actually no wider that one well built person.
3. Your car being parked any where near that area may cause a traffic jam and will be towed away
How do you know you’re there: The nose knows.... Seriously!
You know you’re near Khari Baoli when your nose starts to tickle and you start sneezing at the smell of the red chilies in the air.
Do’s and Don’ts: There are a few things you need to remember. First and foremost, Old Delhi is very unlike New and South Delhi in that it is a very conservative part of town. Hence, remember to always
1. Dress respectfully and modestly.
This is true especially for women. This rule should be followed whether you are an Indian from a cosmopolitan part of the city or another town or a foreigner from abroad. This means you should
a. Wear loose clothing- so it’s best not to wear a pair of jeans.
b. Carry something to cover your face and head (a scarf? Or a dupatta)
c. No bare shoulders, or mid riffs.
2. Wear comfortable walking shoes
You should expect to walk a fair bit, so in the summer floaters will do. In the winters, wear a pair of sneakers.
3. Go early, Khari Baoli is crowded
Remember this and try to go in the first half of the day around 10 am when stores are just opening for the day. If you reach earlier, you won’t get to see the stores. If you go too late, you won’t have a good experience.
Remember that this is densely populated, and crowded part of town with narrow streets, so the streets may not always be clean.
4. Always ask for permission before taking photographs
As I said, this is a conservative part of town. People may not like their photographs being taken, so it’s best to ask for their permission if you are a professional photographer.
5. Carry drinking water from home- Always
This is especially true if like me you happened to go on a hot summer's day just before the monsoons. I would suggest visitors to Old Delhi to visit preferably in the months after the rains or in winter time when the weather is more suitable.
This brings this article on Khari Baoli to a close. I hope you find this information use full, and that you have a pleasant trip to Old Delhi. Please do leave constructive feedback in the comments section, I look forward to reading it.