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Fasting, feasting

We take a walk through Old Delhi for the best of Ramazan treats.

india Updated: Aug 13, 2011 03:18 IST
Namya Sinha

The month of Ramazan is both about fasting and feasting, with many areas in the city offering delectable options when it comes to the latter. Bazaar Matia Mahal, which is opposite Gate number one of Jama Masjid, is one such area where you can gorge on some sumptuous food. When you enter the bazaar, you’ll be unable to resist the aromas wafting from various eateries and bakeries in the area. Stacks of semi-cooked chicken and big mounds of feni kept outside eateries are a common sight here in Ramazan. Come here after 8pm and stay on till late to enjoy the fare this bazaar has to offer.

Delicious delights
On entering the market, you’ll come across Kallan Sweets on the left. It is popular for its Khoya Samosas, Paneer Jalebi and Habshi Halwa. Just a few steps ahead on your left are the Al Jawahar and Jawahar hotels. Aluminum and silver vessels and kebabs on skewers mark the facade of these eateries.

Jawahar Hotel has a huge fan following for its Nihari (Rs. 150) and Paya (Rs. 150). On regular days, these are available for breakfast, but during Ramazan, they are sold in the evenings as well. Just in a narrow lane between these two eateries lies Karim’s, which is a must visit for the tourists in the city. In the month of Ramazan, it is open till 4am.

Also, don’t miss out on Haji Mohd. Hussain’s shop that specialises in chicken (Rs. 240) and fish fry (Rs. 300). For those who love a hot glass of milk, the Mohd. Younus Milk Store is a good option. Here, milk is thickened in a big vessel. You will also come across street vendors at every few steps here. They sell everything from hot and spicy kebabs to dates and dry fruits, which are relished by many.

During Ramazan, other addition to most of the shops are the Seviya, Khajla and Feni, priced between Rs. 70 to Rs. 120. When here, do visit the Aqsa International, which is popular for its Banarsi Feni. Another place to buy Feni and Seviya is Haji Tea Point.

Bakery destination.
This area boasts of some of the best bakeries in the city. The Golden Bakery has more than four varieties of Sheermal, which is the hottest selling item here. Sheermal, with butter and cream, costs R20, informs Bhai Aquil, owner of the bakery. Other popular bakeries here are the Asgher Bakery and the New Janta Bakery, which is famous for its sweet yellow bread.

Survivor’s guide:
1) Don’t wear short and revealing clothes
2) Wear comfortable shoes
3) Carry your own water unless you plan to buy packaged drinking water here
4) Beware of beggars who will constantly pester you for money
5) Carry cash and change currency, as most of the eateries here don’t accept any credit or debit cards

How to get there:
1) Nearest metro station is Chawri Bazar on Yellow Line. Take a rickshaw from there for Rs. 20
2) Auto rickshaws also go till Gate Number One of Jama Masjid. They charge around Rs. 40 from Connaught Place
3) The area is well connected by DTC buses
4) Cars can be parked at the parking near Gate Number Three of Jama Masjid, though one should avoid taking their own vehicles here

Know more about it:
1) This area is also known for craftsmen specialising in making thin silver sheets (chaandi ka vark)that is used for decorating Indian sweets. This is made by beating the silver sheets by hands.
2) The area of Pahadi Bhojla in Matia Mahal is known for jewellers who have been here for decades.