One of the largest wholesale spice markets in Asia, Old Delhi’s Khari Baoli is well worth a visit for the intensity of its sights and smells alone. Along with fresh spices of all shapes, sizes, and colors, this market sells myriad nuts, herbs, dry fruits, and grains—often displayed in heaping, photo-worthy mounds.
Dating back to the 17th century, this gargantuan market in the Chandi Chowk neighborhood is a must-explore for anyone who wants to pick up spices, herbs, chutneys, tea, and other edibles to take home to friends and families. (Despite it being a wholesale market, you can buy in small quantities.) With its piles of colorful spices as far as the eye can see, it’s also a great place for photography—rivaled only by the colorful textile market nearby.
Khari Baoli market is a popular stop on most tours of Old Delhi, and having a guide on hand can make identifying and purchasing items easier than if you go at it alone.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Khari Baoli is essential for foodies, market lovers, and first-time visitors to Old Delhi.
- You don’t need to bargain. Spices at this wholesale market are sold by weight and their prices are generally as marked.
- Wear comfortable footwear—most Old Delhi visits require a fair bit of walking.
- If you have allergies or are sensitive to scents, you may want to wear a mask, as all of the spices can cause people to sneeze and cough.
- The market is not accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Khari Baoli is in the western end of Chandni Chowk, just south of Old Delhi Railway Station and west of the Red Fort. By metro from New Delhi, take the Yellow Line to Chandni Chowk station, a 10-minute walk from the market.
When to Get There
The Khari Baoli spice market is open year-round, though you’re better off visiting in the winter months or first thing in the morning to avoid the heat—particularly in May or June. Like the rest of the markets in Chandni Chowk, Khari Baoli is closed on Sunday.
DIY Masala Chai
While cooking with fragrant spices can be daunting to those new to Indian food, one of the most popular Indian treats, masala chai (spiced tea), is also one of the easiest things to make. Simply heat black tea leaves in a pot of water with some cinnamon, cardamom pods, and a few pieces of clove. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat, add milk and a bit of sugar, and serve.