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Old Delhi (Shahjahanabad)

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Though it’s not in fact the oldest part of Delhi, the seventeenth-century city of Shahjahanabad, built for the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, is known as OLD DELHI. Construction began on the city in 1638, and within eleven years it was substantially complete, surrounded by over 8km of ramparts pierced by fourteen main gates. It boasted a beautiful main thoroughfare, Chandni Chowk, an imposing citadel, the Red Fort (Lal Qila), and an impressive congregational mosque, the Jama Masjid. Today much of the wall has crumbled, and of the fourteen gates only four remain, but it’s still a fascinating area, crammed with interesting nooks and crannies, though you’ll need stamina, patience, time and probably a fair few chai stops along the way to endure the crowds and traffic. Old Delhi is served by metro stations at Chandni Chowk (actually nearer Old Delhi train station), Chawri Bazaar, and the Ajmeri Gate side of New Delhi railway station (the metro stop’s name of “New Delhi” is in this instance misleading).

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