Legend has it that Ghantewala in Chandni Chowk, the oldest sweet shop in India, was named by the Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Alam. Alam apparently used to ask his servants to fetch sweets from the ghante ki neeche wali dukaan.
That was a long time ago and a lot has changed since then in the Walled City. Ghantewala is now Ghantewala Confectioners and even has a website (www.ghante-wala.com) where you can order sweets, make bulk bookings and know the history of the shop. But what hasn’t changed the taste of the delectable fare available here — so claim loyal customers.
Sushant Jain, a seventh-generation descendent of the Jain family which started the shop, says that the shop has been running on the goodwill of his ancestors. However, taste Ghantewala’s Motichoor Laddoo and you will know it’s more than goodwill.
Everyone has their own favourite at Ghantewala. Some swear by the Sohan Halwa (Rs 250 per kg), which is made of sprouted wheat and assorted nuts, while some love its Kalakand and others crave the Pista Burfi (prices for all sweets range between Rs 120 and Rs 350 a kg).
Jain says that the shop has had some of India’s most famous names as customers — Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Rajiv Gandhi...not to forget the Mughal emperors. The only thing that has changed over the years is the packaging, claims Jain. The recipes, the grinders, the ingredients all have been passed down over six generations. Apart from that, Ghantewala has now branched out into namkeen, snacks as well as biscuits.
Dussehra-Diwali is a busy time in Ghantewala, but it’s a frenzy that Jain likes. People throng the store at all times of the day, which is stocked with 40-50 different type of sweets. Depending on the festival, the variety of sweets changes. For instance, Ghantewala’s gujiyas are extremely popular on Holi.
The secret of their success and longevity, according to Jain, is that there is “no compromise on quality”. The formula has worked for over 200 years now.
1862-A, Chandni Chowk,
Phone : 011-23280490
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