Khari Baoli is a street in Old Delhi, India known for its wholesale grocery. It is the Asia’s largest wholesale spice market selling all kinds of spices, nuts, herbs and food products like rice and tea. Operating since the 17th century, the market is situated near the historic Delhi Red Fort, on the Khari Baoli Road. The market is adjacent to Fatehpuri Masjid at the western end of the Chandni Chowk. The history of the spice market goes back to the days of the Mughal era.
The Spice Market is a well-known locality for the high quality spices and dry fruits. It not only attracts the buyers or retailers but also many travelers, journalists and photographers for the colors it brings out and the lives tied around it. I had heard a lot about it, but didn’t exactly have the time to visit the market, even after spending two years in Delhi. It was only when my friend from Germany dropped in to see me, did we plan to check out this local spice street, and his informative explanation triggered my curiosity to explore the same.
Tour to the Colorful Spice Market
We set off on a Saturday morning. If one is using the metro to get there, the nearest would be the Chandni Chowk station (Delhi 6). From there it is easily accessible with a rickshaw, which would take 10 minutes, without taking into consideration the traffic jam (which is really bad). Old Delhi, as the name says it is very old looking, buildings constructed many decades back, almost falling apart unsystematic electricity extensions, wires and cables creating a hammock above your head with noisy people and intolerable horns around. The city is famous for its street markets and the world famous Jama Masjid and the Arabian food streets which attracts large crowds of people every day.
After bearing an irritating traffic jam, we finally reached the spice street. We could tell with the strong aroma of fresh spices that reached us and sent me sneezing two minutes later. The street was packed with people carrying sacks upon them across the shops. We started our walk from the main building which had multiple stores in it. As we walked in, I noticed that small dishes of various spices were placed in such an adorable manner on the counters for the buyers to try out. It was a range of chilies, black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric and cumin.