Memoirs of Rangoli ... (p12) - Khari Baoli and around
Old Delhi, India
Rahul was still insisting to guide us. He even told that it was not be safe to just wander, and we might not get a good deal etc. with the shop if we go without him. Ah..that was the old trick in the book, and Syib just told him that we'd be going for a while as we were going to take a lot of photos etc.i could see Rahul's disappointment with our decision to abandon him. but i guess, that was for the best. we are wanderers and photographers, and getting stuck with so-called tour-guide whatsoever totally something that we wouldn't want to.
Khari Baoli...home to the largest wholesale spice market in Asia. Compared to the main part of Chadni Chowk that we'd been wandering for the past few hours, this place speaks different volume of characters. the street was so dirty with all the garbage etc. it was like the cleaners were out for a long break (and it was apparently true...as there was actually a strike). moreover, i don't think it was a place for playing tourist.
men where bustling around the streets, and most of them were workers of the spice markets, pulling the carts, lifting the sacks of spices etc. the stench smell was like at different magnitude here and i think i spot an open toilet where they peed openly etc.
nonetheless, for a memo-grapher like me, other than those open-secret thing, Khari Baoli provided us a plenty of human interest subject. other than staring for a while at our ladies of the group, most of them didn't even care with us that keep pointing our camera towards their face (at a reasonable distance). probably, other things are matter in their life, other than entertaining our acts.
we were separated into few groups at first, but then decided to stick together as the place could be such a maze. we walked towards the main part of the market that located next to the Fatehpuri Masjid of Chadni Chowk. it was actually an old building that now hosting a number of wholesale suppliers of spices. despite their busy life handling the matters of the day, trading their stocks etc. lifting the sacks etc. , the crowd there sort of welcoming us. i mean, they even told us that we could go to the upper levels of the building and wander to see the life of the spice traders of Khari Baoli. it meant, our camera was not an offense to them.
despite our excitement wandering and memo-graphing the place, i couldn't deny the fact that the smell of the spices really gave our nose a pang. it was strong, and most of was sneezing while walking around the place.
we went till the top most level of the old building, and could see the area of Khari Baoli from up there. that was when i noticed the building actually was next to the Fatehpuri Masjid.
it about time to go, as we'd been there for more than an hour already. we made our way down to the ground, and then as we went out from the building, Rahul was there, smiling, despite been waiting for us for a while. He asked whether we want to buy anything from the market, and of course, the answer was resoundingly yes from the ladies of the group.
Rahul brought us to one of the shops that located outside of the building. a proper shop, that selling the processed spices in small packets, and it was a shop where tourists always been brought to. there was a group of westerners joining us when we made our way into the shop...hence, made the place packed like McD during the rush hour. i saw a packet of saffron...and voila..it cost a fortune. Rahul told me saffron is the most expensive spices/herbs because it was hard to get.
anyway, once done with the shopping...we had another crazy ride back to our hotel. 12 of us, riding 2 auto-rickshaw. and my friday couldn't be more amusing than this!