When it comes to shopping, almost every city in India has its own main market popularly known as Chowk, which is located towards the centre of the city. So do we, the Allahabadis. The Clock Tower, or “Ghantaghar” is the Chowk of Allahabad. With changing times, Allahabad is developing at a rapid pace, but the chowk remains as it was, and that is its beauty. If you belong to the city, you must know what a fabulous place it is and if you don’t, well you can visit there whenever you feel nostalgic. The market has everything, you name it and they have it, maybe that is a reason that it always remains crowded. There are a number of wholesale markets and due to this fact, the products are cheap compared to the other markets of the city. It is the main supplier of the products, (be it clothes, toys, eatables) in city markets.
Shopping here, in itself is an art and If one wants to know exactly how it’s done, one must leave their vehicle on stand and walk as there is very little scope of your vehicle moving at its normal speed or moving at all. as chowk has a network of gullies that are always packed with people. The Clock tower divides into two lanes.
If you are a foodie, you should surely visit the famous fruit market. The whole gully has a variety of eatables including roadside thelas of fruit juices. Also, it has roadside shops containing different kinds of bakeries which serve biscuits, namkeens.
The next comes the famous Loknath market. The road begins with scrumptious, lip-smacking eatables. The aroma of freshly made imartis, anarsas and khajas at the sweet meat shop can’t let anyone resist from having one. The shop also offers maath, a traditional sweet, mostly consumed in marriages. Also, various shops here offer different variety of eatables like fryums, which are available for the whole year unlike the general shops where we find them only during the Holi season. Also, they have a variety of pastas (penne, farfalle, elbow, fusilli or shells) and macaroni and many more food items ending with the shops of pickles and murabbas. The famous Loknath ki Lassi is known for flavoured cream (“rabdi”) that is added to it, if you have one, you will be full for the whole day. One can try it on a sunny day as it is quite refreshing!
Allahabad is also known for its chaat. Chowk has the most known chaat shops namely the Niraala Chaat and the Loknath chaat. Loknath chaat shop offers the famous “Jalladi” aloo (they are so spicy that one can easily forget the Tabasco Sauce!). Then there is the well known Hari’s shop. Its Samosas and Farookhabadi namkeen are prepared in pure ghee. They are exported and can be preserved for many weeks. Also, Dum aloo masala of Hari is not a new thing if you are an Allahabadi.
Chowk is also famous for garment shops. Be it a wedding or any other occasion, Mohammed Ali Park can be considered the right place to shop. The market here is lined up with a range of fashionable garments. The best thing about these shops is that the prices are reasonable and customers have a wide scope of negotiating prices.
As mentioned earlier, the Clock tower divides into two lanes. In the centre, there is a line of shops. The whole market is called the Verandah, also known as “gadbadjhala” (in Marathi it means “mischief”) it has a range of innumerable jewellery shops. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, it might remind you of Hogwarts. The shops are lined up in a way that it is considerably difficult to locate them. There is one shop that is the starting point of all the remaining shops. If you find that particular shop, well Congratulations! You have decoded the map. There is a wide scope of bargaining due to the wholesale shops. Be it jewellery for occasions or daily to wear earrings, you will find everything at a reasonable price. It also has countable shops of showpieces. Although, due to the fact that it’s a local shop, there are many duplicate cosmetics sold in this market, gadbadjhala indeed.
On the right lane of the clock tower, after passing some shops, there is a big mosque called Jama Masjid which is as old as chowk itself. The main entrance of the mosque is in a gully that is known as Thatheri Bazaar, famous for utensils and other kitchen commodities. This is one of the charming and old areas of Allahabad where our Mohamadeen brothers and sisters run the main business.
Chowk also has shops for Puja articles, idols (clothes, accessories for worshipping idols), located under the famous Neem tree that has been there since ages. A beautiful representation of the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb is Chowk. It is said that in 1857, many who revolted against the British government, were hanged there openly. It also has a famous landmark nearby i.e. Police Chowki or Kotwali. Ironically, many shopkeepers here are Muslims who sell Hindu Puja articles and no one questions their religion.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of Chowk, and there is so much more to discover for which you simply have to visit the place. So, if you are bored of the busy city life, take a break and walk around the area of chowk. Explore the fun on foot, leaving behind all the luxuries, the happiness of Allahbad.

I was born in Mumbai so I am not exactly from Allahabad. But I consider myself Allahabadi because I have been living here for 19 years now. I am a research scholar pursuing Ph.D from Psychology at University of Allahabad. Also I am working as an Assistant editor in the journal named Psychology and Developing Societies. I have a deep interest in singing. Its one of the things that makes me who I am. The word that comes to my mind while thinking of Allahabad is Home; my place. I love everything about Allahabad, be it people living here, the places, the culture, food, everything. It has its own shortcomings as well, but then who doesn't?

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