Chandni Chowk is one of Delhi's busiest and oldest marketplaces. Located in the walled city of Old Delhi, which is now central northern modern Delhi, it got its name from the canal which used to run down the middle reflecting the moonlight; 'chaandni' in Hindi means 'moonlight.' The street was a wide boulevard running between houses from the Lahore Gate of the Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid. The walled city was laid out in 1650 by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan and includes the Red Fort of Delhi.
These days the area seems like a congested traffic nightmare and quite challenging in its chaos and crowds. But you can find food, saris, jewelery, books, shoes, electronics and who knows what else in the surrounding narrow streets. The buildings along Chandni Chowk are interesting - there are many different religious buildings co-existing harmoniously in the area including famous Jama Masjid mosque of 1644, a Hindu temple and a Christian church. The houses reflect the historical function of the area, falling into three basic types: the Haveli or mansion, the Kucha, an area of grouped people such as Maliwara where all the gardeners lived, and Katra, a residence of craftsmen in the same trade.
Get to the market entrance by taxi or autorickshaw. Alternately metro stop Chandni Chowk. Don't forget that bargaining is part of the shopping experience so be prepared to haggle.