I found Chandi Chowk to be bustling and full of life. From our hotel, we took the subway to the Chandi Chowk station and as soon as you're at street level, you know this is going to be fun. Not only are there unending shops, the Red Fort to the East and Jama Masjid in the area, too, there are people interacting and life happening before your eyes. I thought walking through it was the real treat. I saw a tour bus pass with camera clicking tourists 8 to 10 feet above street level safely behind the sealed windows and I couldn't help but think they were missing the sounds (and smells) of this exciting area. Crossing a street is an adventure. I liken the streets of Delhi to a fast-moving, well orchestrated ballet where each person, rickshaw, tuk-tuk, handcart, vehicle and pedestrian miss each other by inches. As a tourist myself, I knew that more likely than not I was the reason the traffic flow became a little out of synch when I first interjected myself into it. But after a brief learning curve, it was fun to be part of the fluid motion. There were side alleys that seemed almost too shady to enter at first, but turned out to be full of delights for the senses once explored. My advice is to enjoy the busy main roads, but also get into those alleys, try whatever Hindi you may know to talk to the shopkeepers, and drink it in. What a blast. Coming from a society where shopping is conducted in big boxes with canned music on the PA system, Chandi Chowk is an incredible marketplace. Can't wait to go back.
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