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Khari Baoli

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Title: Khari Baoli  
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Subject: Old Delhi, Fatehpuri Masjid, 2005 Delhi bombings, Neighbourhoods of Delhi, Delhi Stock Exchange Association
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Khari Baoli

Californian almonds being sold at Khari Baoli market in Old Delhi.

Khari Baoli- is a street in DELHI, India known for its wholesale grocery and Asia's largest wholesale spice market selling all kinds of spices, nuts, herbs and food products like rice and tea.[1] Operating since the 17th century, the market is situated near the historic Delhi Red Fort, on the Khari Baoli Road adjacent to Fatehpuri Masjid at the western end of the Chandni Chowk, and over the years has remained a tourist attraction, especially those in the heritage circuit of Old Delhi.[2][3][4]


Inscriptions from the 'Khari Baoli' step-well
Shop selling tea leaves, at Khari Baoli.
Shop selling spices, at Khari Baoli.
Carts parked on the Spice Market, Khari Baoli Road.

Foundations of the Khari Baoli step-well were laid by Khwaja Abdullah Laazar Qureshi during the reign of Islam Shah (Salim Shah), the son of Sher Shah Suri. The work on this building was completed in the year 1551. Nothing remains of this baoli now, save copies of inscriptions that were preserved in works like Aasar Us Sanadeed (Sir Syed Ahmad Khan) and Miftah Al Tawarikh.[5] [6]

The market came up around the Fatehpuri Masjid, which was built in 1650 by Fatehpuri Begum, one of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's wives. During Shah Jahan's reign it came to be known as Khari Baoli (from Baoli, meaning step well, and Khari or Khara, meaning salty) from a saline water stepwell used for animals and for bathing. It was constructed along with a fortified gateway on its western end popularly known as Lahori Gate, one of the 14 gates of the fortified city of Delhi or Shahjahanabad, named so because a road through it led to the city of Lahore, now in Pakistan. However, today there is no trace of either the well or the gateway here, which now lie buried under the main road of the market.[7][8]

In 1936, Chowdhary Chhotu Ram, a minister in the Punjab Government, issued a law cancelling all debts of the villagers.[9] Thus numerous Agrawal traders lost their businesses and migrated to Delhi, settling in colonies like Kamla Nagar, Shakti Nagar and Model Basti, and taking their trade to locations around the walled city of Old Delhi, especially Chandni Chowk, Khari Baoli, Dariba Kalan, Nai Sarak, Naya Bazaar, Sadar Bazaar and Chawri Bazaar.

Here, many shops are still known by their serial numbers, e.g., "Chawal Wale 13" or "21 Number Ki Dookan," and are run by the ninth- or tenth generation of the founders of these establishments dating to the 17th and 18th centuries.[10]


"Gadodia Market", situated on the south side of Khari Baoli was built by wealthy merchants in 1920s has one of the numerous spice stores and is Asia's largest wholesale spice market.[7] Today, Kari Baoli is not only Asia's largest spice market but also an important and busy commercial district, as it caters to vast spice market of North India, including states of Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and even as far as Madhya Pradesh, making it perpetually crowded with traders, and shoppers looking for the cheapest deals and bargains, in the narrow margin spice, dry fruits and other perishable commodity market.[10][11]

The other end of Khari Baoli market is on the GB Road (Red light district and whole sale market for engineering goods) and Sadar Bazar (wholesale market for non-branded consumer goods).

There is a wholesale market for genuine herbs in Katara Tambaku where some importers and exporters do the wholesale business of herbs.


  1. ^ hHow a royal flu spawned a culinary gem Mint (newspaper), Sep 18 2009.
  2. ^ Hughes, Holly. Frommer's 500 Places for Food & Wine Lovers. Frommer's. p. 11.  
  3. ^ Khari Baoli Delhi: Lonely planet, by Patrick Horton, Richard Plunkett, Hugh Finlay. Lonely Planet, 2002. ISBN 1-86450-297-5. pp. 102.
  4. ^ Khari Baoli BBC News, 18 July 2009, Images 2-8."Asia's largest wholesale spice market"
  5. ^ Aasar Us Sanadeed, author- Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, published by Urdu Academy, Delhi
  6. ^ Dilli Ke Aasar e Qadeema, compiled and translated by Janab Khaliq Anjum, published by Urdu Academy, Delhi.
  7. ^ a b Khari Baoli by Danish Shafi. Indian Express, April 29, 2007.
  8. ^ Shahjahanabad, a city of Delhi, 1638-1857, by Shama Mitra Chenoy. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1998. 127.
  9. ^ Madhulika Shankar Singh. Not all about money: Aggarwals of Delhi. Daily Pioneer. October 05, 2002.
  10. ^ a b Double whammy for wholesalers by Manisha Jha. The Hindu, May 27, 2008.
  11. ^ Low volumes, high prices TNN, The Times of India, 9 August 2009.

External links

  • Reviving the baolis of Delhi The Hindu
  • Khari Baoli in Fatehpuri
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