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Photographer's Note

This shot was taken at a Souvenir Shop in Chatta Chowk Bazaar inside the Red Fort,Old Delhi.This is a historical bazaar dating back to the Mughal Period, when the ladies from the Royal Family used to do shopping in the Bazaar.

Some tidbits about the Chatta Chowk Bazaar.

The famous Chatta Chowk (covered market),was built by Shah Jahan, inside the confines of the Red Fort in Delhi.As Shah Jahan decided to build the Red Fort (1638-48) in Delhi, he wanted to have all the amenities, especially for the 100s of members of the Mughal harem, although the Emperor himself had only three wives, including the Lady of the Taj – Empress Mumtaz Mahal. One of the favourite pastimes of women is shopping. But the Mughal women of rank seldom ventured outside, and usually shopkeepers came to the palace to display the wares. But then, the fun of bargaining and the sharing gossip with their friends was lost.

Shah Jahan knew this weakness of his harem and found that in Persian fortresses like that of Isfahan, there were bazaars, known better as covered markets, to cater to the ladies and the nobles of the regime. Usually, the ‘Ladies Day’ was restricted to one day in a week, as it was taboo to have male shopkeepers around when the women shopped.

Also, a lot of precautions needed to be taken, like having the wives of shopkeepers to welcome them and show them the display, as you cannot have them wearing veils while buying the items. Shah Jahan himself had seen one such market inside the Mughal fort at Peshawar.

Bazaars, in 17th century India, were normally in the open air. A covered bazaar, although of a design common to West Asia, was an innovation in India. He instructed Mukarmat Khan, who was supervising the construction of the Red Fort, to build a similar covered market there. When it was completed, Shah Jahan was greatly impressed, as its design was suitable for the hot climate of Delhi.

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Additional Photos by Farhat Abbas (fabbs99) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2007 W: 2 N: 4087] (16125)
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