To the west of Jama Masjid lies the specialized wholesale market of brass, copper and paper products, popularly known as Chawri Bazaar. It can be reached by taking the street just near the middle projection of Jama Masjid’s western (rear) wall. Once popularly known for its bewitching dancing girls in the 19th century, the street is named after a Marathi word ‘chawri’, which means meeting place. The street got this name mainly because here a ‘sabha’ or meeting would take place in front of a noble’s house and he would try settling the disputes before it would reach the emperor. A second reason is probably that a gathering used to get organized when a respected dancer performed and showed the finer nuances of her skill. The whole ambience of the street however got changed after the 1857 war when British destroyed many huge mansions of the nobles.
Built of Lakhori bricks, a small canon is placed over the gateways of both the buildings. The buildings have semi-octagonal projections on both sides with two small rooms on either side. The rooms have semi-circular arches to enter and it is difficult to visualize its former shape. The main features of the buildings are its niches and arches at the roof-level on the semi-octagonal projections, though difficult to make out.
Today, Chawri Bazaar is a very busy road as laborers with their laden backs, cars, rickshaws, scooters and walkers almost battle for the passage during the peak market hours. Again it is also a wholesale market but you will be allowed to purchase a brass or copper idol of Lord Vishnu, Buddha and others. The shops also keep many useful items like jewelry boxes, vases, pots and oil lamps. However, at present Chawri Bazaar is more known as the wholesale market of paper products than copper or brass. From beautiful wedding cards to attractive wallpapers to nice greetings to any types of papers required for any use, everything is available here in retail as well as in wholesale. Though the whole process is very exhausting but it will be a day to remember, as you will definitely enjoy it.