The Spicy Effect Of Khari Baoli
Image Credit: Spice market Khari Baoli

Being someone who loves to dance her way to the kitchen, the whole idea of visiting spice market is enough to excite me. It was just another Sunday and I decided to venture into those chaotic, super crowded bylanes of Khari Baoli - Asia's largest wholesale spice market. Yes the largest in Asia. Khari Baoli literally means - Baoli, meaning step well, and Khari or Khara, meaning salty. Situated in the bylanes of the historic Fatehpuri Masjid, this place was established in the 17th century and was built in 1650 by Fatehpuri Begum, who was one of the wives of Shah Jahan. 

As I walked past all streets, I could get the smell of spice from this 17th century spice market from pretty far and I needed to cover my nose to prevent from sneezing, coughing but it was of no much help. This market has been centre of attraction of this city. The main foundation of Khari Baoli is located in the older part of the city that is adjacent to Fatehpuri Masjid was Khwaja Abdullah Laazar Qureshi and this boali was used to bath animals, as the water was salty. 

With rickshaws and carts you actually have it make your way in a very tricky zigzag way. With vendors selling their stuff in wholesale, labours carrying packs of spices on their head and few bargaining to get the best deal – this is how the market looks like in short. From the common turmeric, to chilli to coriander to cumin the market also sees some exotic spice that are much a rarity otherwise. 

Not only does the spice sellers steal the show, but one get to see shops lined with dry fruits like cashewnuts, walnuts, prunes, dried mulberries and dried plums straight from Kashmir, while on the other side there are some day workers sitting and waiting to get some job. These age old shops are all numbered like “13 number ki dukan”, 17th number ki dukan” and so on and now mostly the 8 or 9th generation runs them. 

The way all spices are organised and kept on display is quite impressive and business worth billions happens here. Both ends of this oldest spice market sees - GB road whole sale market for engineering goods and Sadar Bazar – the wholesale market for non-branded consumer goods. I also spotted shops selling Indian wok (kadai), kitchen equipment, spice box and many more. 

As I braved through these lanes and explored this ancient market, I am still loving the chaotic buzz of the place. 

And while roaming around in this market like me if your hunger pangs distract you then look no further but head to Gole di Hatti for some Chole chawal or Chole Bhature or the famous Giani's di Hatti for some Kulfi faluda and more delight. Don’t miss on the Chaina Ram Sindhi Confectioners – the oldest sweet shop in this area.