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What Makes Jaipur Masala Chowk So Popular?

Masala Chowk is a new open-air food court in Ram Niwas Garden where you can enjoy the flavors of Jaipur.  Masala means spice and chowk means public square or an open area. The word hints at a place with a variety of kiosks serving street food. Initially, it was meant for the tourists since it is close to the popular tourist attraction, Albert Hall Museum in Ram Niwas garden. However, it has become a runaway success among the locals.

 

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Albert Hall Museum in Ramniwas Garden, jaipur

 

 

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Rush hour at Masala Chowk, Jaipur

 

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Masala Chowk brought back memories of Kiran cafe which was very popular among Jaipur residents for years and operated in another part of Ram Niwas Garden. In 1970-80’s, Kiran café was one of the few options for eating out in Jaipur. It was a favorite weekend destination for the families until authorities decided to pull a plug as the millennium approached. Kiran Cafe was extremely popular because of affordable prices and consistent quality.

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Masala Chowk has become immensely popular among the locals. The reasons for its runaway success is understandable. One, there is no other open-air food court in Jaipur. Two, it offers street food at a single place. Members of a family find it convenient to pick what they like and still eat together.

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Three, many legendary food outlets from the walled city area or old Jaipur have an outlet in Masala Chowk. Visiting old part of the city is difficult given the chaos, traffic, and parking problems. It is easier to visit Masala Chowk as it is much more accessible. Four, clubbed together all these food outlets offer a huge assortment of street food right from chats, gol-gappas, tea, dosa, samosa and so on. Lastly, the food is affordable and doesn’t pinch pocket. There’s one for everyone.

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Here is what you should try at Masala Chowk. (It is not an exhaustive list)

Samrat is well-known for Samosa and Jalebi.

Somilal is famous for Mishri Mawa and Gulab Sakri

Shankar Samosewala is famous for…but, of course, everyone’s favorite Samosa

Gulabji Chaiwala is famous for its tea.

Raman Dosa is famous for Masala Dosa and Uttapam. Caveat- It doesn’t taste like the ones in South India!

Gopal Singh Patasi – Gol-Gappa or Pani Puri

Prem Prakash Samosa is famous for low spice and low salt yet yummy Samosa.

Delhi Chaat and Cafe – Chola Bhatura, Aaloo Tikki & Chola, and Dahi Papdi Chaat.

 

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Residents who grew up in 70’s & 80’s fondly recall this place as a circus ground. Many Indian and Russian circus camped here providing affordable entertainment option to the people. In 90’s the concept of circus went away and so did circus. Later an amusement park by the name of wonderland operated for a couple of years. This place has been vacant ever since Wonderland closed down. The Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) continue to call this place “Wonderland Park”.

 

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Then and now pictures by JDA depicts the development in progress. From Wonderland Park to Masala Chowk!

 

Masala Chowk is over-crowded during the weekends and traffic jam is rampant. The earmarked car  parking lot for the Masala Chowk is only for 20 cars.

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Car parking at Masala Chowk Jaipur

However, one can find cars parked in vicinity in excess of this capacity. Masala Chowk Parking is a bit of menace as one needs to park their car at Ramniwas Bagh underground parking lot near Ravindra Manch theatre once the dedicated parking lot becomes full. Another car parking lot can be found near Ramniwas Garden entry gate on JLN Marg. This is south gate of Ram Niwas Garden.

To reduce the influx of crowd, the JDA authorities decided to charge an entry fee of Rs 10 per person in Masala Chowk. I’m not sure if it has any desirable effect. On a positive note, it is not taxing for the middle class.

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Packed Masala Chowk during the peak hours

There is a park area attached to Masala Chowk. JDA, the local authority responsible for implementing this concept has plans to hold various musical and entertainment programs for the public in this park.

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Park area of Masala Chowk

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Masala Chowk Timings – It opens at 9 AM. There is no standard closing time since every outlet follows a different time. Generally, it is open between 9 AM to 10 PM.

How to reach Masala Chowk? Masala Chowk is situated in Ram Niwas Garden, near Albert Hall museum. Reach Albert Hall Museum with the help of Google map and then walk in the south direction from its ticket counter, Masala Chowk will be on your left side. One can even walk down to Masala Chowk from Johari Bazaar within 12-18 minutes.

Masala Chowk provides an authentic Jaipur experience and is worth a visit. With its central location, the deal only gets sweeter! Your timing needs to be right to enjoy Masala Chowk experience. I recommend visiting Masala Chowk during the daytime or early evenings to avoid the crowd. It is best to combine it with a visit to Albert Hall Museum. Masala Chowk is sure to keep your pocket happy with its affordable food price.

Check out other interesting posts on Jaipur Food Guide

street food in Jaipur Masala Chowk

 

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108 thoughts on “What Makes Jaipur Masala Chowk So Popular?

  1. The food must be good if the locals eat there..as always your posts are very informative Arv and make me want to visit Jaipur even more…Sooner rather than later I hope 🙂 Enjoy your weekend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve only been to Southern India (Chennai and Tamil Nadu) and this seems so different. I think here in the UK we tend to lump India into one big bucket – and in fact, from what you’ve shown, Jaipur is completely different!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fiona, Happy to know you have been to Southern India. You are correct, India is a land of diversity. The differences are quite stark. North and South India differs so much. I’m sure you will love visiting Jaipur. Thanks for exploring this post. 🙂

      Like

    1. I haven’t been to Delhi Haat but I have seen a couple of pictures. I guess Delhi Haat is a bit more upmarket. It’s a fairly new place but immensely popular. I’m sure you will love it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the idea of an open air food court! The only food courts I have ever visited were in a shopping mall and they felt so constricted and crowded, this sounds a lot better 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess that is because of weather and climate. Since you live in a cold country, enclosed and heated space is a must. Out here we don’t have such extreme temperatures. We have a range of 4C-46C. Someday you should visit Jaipur and India; experience it yourself, Lise! Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. 🙂

      Like

    1. Suzanne, I feel that you will enjoy a trip to India. I don’t think I need to mention the reasons since you have already listed them out. Well, I’m not promoting it and I’m not being paid to do so. I’m simply sharing my part of the world. I’m hoping it helps people. Thanks for taking out time to read and share your thoughts here 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I went here back in February and loved it. During our time in Jaipur we ate more food than any other place we visited – and it was all so amazing. Masala Chowk was one of the best stops from a food standpoint since all of the things we found we loved earlier in the trip were available in one place. And of course there was ker sangri to be found which was bot my son’s and my favourite dish we had in Rajasthan. Unlike many Indian foods, that is one thing we can’t find here in Canada so we’ll have to keep coming back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wow! That’s great Todd! Ker Sangri is one of the authentic Rajasthani dishes. I’m not surprised why you liked it. Masala Chowk is a great experience for anyone who wants to experience authentic India. You not only get to taste food but also watch how the locals, their food choices and so on. Even though you may be able to find Indian food in Canada, but it can never replicate the taste and the setting. Thanks for checking out this post on Masala Chowk, Todd! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a lovely place for eating one’s meal outdoors! I have always been attracted to restaurants and cafes, which offer their food outside in the open air away from the often stuffy inside facilities. Another great post, Arv!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes- I have eaten in many Indian restaurants- just not in actual India. I also have tried making a lot of my own pastes for curries very successfully. I am a major carnivore but have eaten many vegetarian Indian meals, mainly cooked by my friend when I lived in the UK. She loved to cook!

        Like

      2. That’s great, Orla! If I’m not wrong it’s the tandoori dishes which are incredibly popular in the UK! I’m sure you will love the food in India…whenever you decide to visit. I assume you are in Ireland, now!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Indian restaurant nearby​? Sounds great. Most such restaurants are run by Indians and must be great. With places like Masala Chowk you get incredible variety. Yeah, I guess nothing like the place of origin. 😊

        Like

  6. Beautiful post, as always, but also very informative. If we end up in Jaipur, we will have to visit Masala Chowk. Pinned for future reference 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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