Archive for July, 2015

Delhi’s Ghantewala closes

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

 

Over the last five years or so I must have photographed Delhi street food a dozen times for different magazines. I would always however try and steer the piece towards the Ghantewala sweet shop on Chandni Chowk – as much because that gave me a good excuse to try the ladoos and theĀ sohan halwa which was always offered.

I was deeply saddened this morning after reading the excellent Delhi Walla blog that the Ghantewala sweetshop had suddenly closed. According to a piece in today’s Hindu, the current owner, Sushant Jain, said unavoidable personal circumstances – and a drop in profits – had led to the closure. Ghantewala had been around in one form or another since 1790 and legend has it that the Emporer’s favourite elephant used to ring the bell hanging outside the shop to be fed sweets. As so often, the truth behind the legends matter less than the legends themselves: so cities ebb and flow. In recent years it seems that India has rediscovered its food heritage and realised that its culture is wrapped up in more than bricks and mortar. There are numerous Delhi food walks around now and my friend Pamela Timms, (although now recently relocated back to the UK) is the author of the definitive Korma, Kheer and Kismeta wonderful and detailed tour of many unsung street eating joints. The globalisation of food means that I can eat at any number of Japanese or Italian restaurants in Delhi but I should be hard pressed now to taste sweets that link the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam to the present day. What a shame.

 

 

 

Raj who delivers the sweets in the Ghantewallah Confectionary shop on Chandni Chowk.

Raj who delivered the sweets in the Ghantewallah Confectionary shop on Chandni Chowk.

 

Sweets on sale in the Ghantewallah Confectionary shop on Chandni Chowk

Sweets on sale in the Ghantewallah Confectionary shop on Chandni Chowk

 

Sweets on sale in the Ghantewallah Confectionary shop on Chandni Chowk

Sweets on sale in the Ghantewallah Confectionary shop on Chandni Chowk

 

Sanjay preparing a fried bread dish in Ghantewallah Confectionary shop on Chandni Chowk

Sanjay preparing a fried bread dish in Ghantewallah Confectionary shop on Chandni Chowk

 

The bell outside the Ghantewallah Confectionary shop on Chandni Chowk

The bell outside the Ghantewallah Confectionary shop on Chandni Chowk