It was in the year 1872 that the lane near the Gurudwara Sisganj Sahib in Chandni Chowk got its name as the Paranthewali Gali. It was all thanks to Pandit Gaya Prasad, who set a small parantha shop in this narrow lane. Since then, the galihas become a hot spot — offering a variety of paranthas hot off the stove. We take you on a walk through the gali and take a look at what’s changed and what’s still cool about it.
Exploring the Gali While you’re here, expect deep fried paranthas made of stuffings ranging from the usual aloo and methi to kaju, kishmish and rabri. “Earlier, there were only four types of paranthas available here - aloo, dal, besan and saada parantha,” says Manish Sharma of Shop No. 34. Manish is the sixth generation of paranthawalas who have been serving here for the past 140 years. “But it’s only in the last 20-30 years that we’ve introduced all these varieties.”
Previously, the Paranthewali Gali was home to 14 parantha shops. Now, the numbers have reduced to just four. But the place hasn’t lost its charm. When we entered the gali, it was filled with aromas of different flavours of paranthas. “We have at least 25 varieties of paranthas. Some of the best selling ones are the pudina and kaju paranthas,” says one of the cooks. So, which flavour is preferred the most? “Indians like trying many flavours, but when foreigners come, they love having the kela (banana) parantha,” he adds.
A plate with two paranthas is served with aloo matar, paneer makhani and sithaphal. “These three side vegetables are served from the time my forefathers opened the shop, and since then, we have been carrying the tradition,” says Sharma.
They also serve kele ki sonth (sweet red chutney with sliced banana pieces) and mint chutney with the paranthas. But, your feast will be incomplete if you don’t order a glass of lassi - sweet or salted, with it.
For a sweet ending
Once done exploring and savoring the paranthas, you must not forget to try out the various sweet specialities of Chandni Chowk. Right across the parantha shops are some small eateries serving rabri, kalakand and milk cake. A bowl of rabri would cost you Rs 10. If you like the taste and want to get it packed, you can do so. One kg would cost you Rs 380. Another thing to try out here is the milk cake, available at Rs 400 per kg. Kalakand too is a hot favourite.
If this does not excite you, then there is another option - Kedar Nath Premchand Halwai, who are famous for their garma garam sweets such as gulab jamun, jalebis and ladoos. All you need to do is walk down the lane and take a right.
The star attraction
Though everyone knows that Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, 43, belongs to Chandni Chowk, it’s a lesser known fact that his house is in Paranthewali Gali itself. While exploring the bylanes, we discovered that his old house is still an attraction for many who live here.
Shopkeepers have his photographs put up in their shops. Some told us that he still visits his house before the release of his movies and makes sure that he takes a bow at the Gurudwara in the area. A 14-year-old boy guided us to Akshay’s house and told us that all the shopkeepers around that home are the star’s friends. On asked whether he has met the star, the boy said, “Not yet, but I want to shake hands with him on his next visit here.”
Know all Parantha shop numbers
34, 36, 1974 and 1984-85.
All the paranthas are priced between Rs 30-45
A glass of lassi Rs 30
A bowl of Rabri Rs 10
How to reach
Get down at the Chandni Chowk Metro station on the yellow line. Take a rickshaw for Rs 15 to the Paranthewali Gali.
Landmark: Kunwarji Dalbiji corner after crossing Gurudwara Sisganj Sahib