The Red Fort VII – Architecture – Chatta Bazaar

Chatta Chowk, Source – Luong

Chatta Bazaar (Covered Market)

  • Also called as Chatta Chowk Bazaar or Meena Bazaar
  • Was previously known as Bazaar-i-Musaqqaf (the market with ‘saqqaf’, means roof)
  • Emperor Shah Jahan wanted all the amenities in the fort, especially for 100 members of Harem, although he had only 3 wives, including The Lady of Taj – Mumtaaz Mahal
  • Mughal women usually ventured outside for shopping
  • Ladies at that time was allowed only one day a week to go shopping, as it was considered a taboo to be shopping when male shoppers were around
  • Hence, Shah Jahan inspired from Persian Fortresses and Mughal Fort in Peshawar, instructed Mukarmat Khan, who was supervising the construction of Red Fort, to built a covered market
  • This idea was very suitable as the climate of Delhi was very hot
  • The bazaar is 2 storied with 230 ft. in length and 13 ft. in width
  • It has an octagonal court in the center for sunlight and ventilation. called Chattar Manzil
Chattar Manzil, Source – Salil Ahuja
  • There are 32 arched bays on each side of the bazaar
  • These are used as Shops
  • The lower cell consists of two room – a front and a back room
  • The front is used for Shop displays and Sale counter, the back is used for storage
  • Nowadays upper cells are used by Army men serving for the protection of the Red Fort
  • During the Mughal rule, the bazaar had an exquisite collection of goods viz.
    • Imperial Household wares
    • Carpets
    • Rugs
    • Pillows
    • Quilts
    • Pashmina Shawls
    • Costumes
    • Velvet Curtains
    • Embroideries
    • Silks
    • Wools
    • Velvets
    • Precious Stones
    • Jewellery
    • Ornaments
    • Gold and Silver Utensils
    • Fine Wood and Ivory Work
    • Brass and Copper wares
    • Fine Arms and Armaments
    • Indoor Games
    • Spices
  • These items sold over here were exclusive for Fort Market only, giving an exclusive choice for Harems and Nobles
  • Nowadays the items sold in this market are souvenirs, eatables and drinks
  • In 2003, Archeological Survey of India tried to evict the shopkeepers, but the ruling of the High Court of Delhi helped retaining the shop



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