We Are Your Favourite Sweets Stop.
A story that began two centuries ago, is ready for its new chapter. Ghantewala Sweets- bringing the sweet taste of traditions and happiness to every celebration and continuing to live up to the legacy that is still making history today. Started in 1790 by Lala Sukh Lal Jain, the history for its name, ‘Ghantewala’ is woven with three different stories with one of them being from the days when the founder used to walk the streets, going house to house selling his sweets with a bell in his hands to attract attention. As the time passed, he grew popular and people started to know him by the name of ‘Ghantewala’, and later on establishing a shop and naming it ‘Ghantewala’.
Another story descending down from the courts of the Mughal Emperor- Shah Alam II. The Emperor asked his servants to get him sweets from the ‘ghante ke neeche wali dukaan’ (shop below the bell), which in time got shortened to the name ‘Ghantewala’. During those days the area was sparsely populated and the Emperor who used to live in the Red Fort could hear the toll of the bell for the school which was located near the shop. The last one also belonging from the Mughal Era, the elephants who had a bell tied around its neck used to walk down the street, stop and move its neck in such a way resulting in the bell ringing in front of the sweet shop, and hence the shop started to be known as ‘Ghantewala’. “He knew how to make sweets and always used the finest of ingredients,” says Sohail Hashmi, a writer and documentary filmmaker who conducts heritage walks in the city. Being already famous before the 1857 rebellion, the newspaper ‘Dihli Urdu Akhbar’ reported how the sweet delicacies of the shop softened the rebels from different regions, making them lose all their urges to fight.
Known for its ‘Sohan Halwa’, a delicacy savored by patrons from as far away as the Gulf. Pista Burfi and perennial favorites like ‘motichoor ki ladoo’, Kalakand, Karachi halwa and snacks like makkan choora were also popular among the patrons.
But in the year 2015, the centuries old endeavor had to come to a halt, the current owner and the scion of the Jain Family had to make a “tough decision” to shut down the shop.
“We’ve served sweets to generations of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi [both prime ministers] bought sweets from my grandfather. My father supplied sweets to [former PM] Rajiv Gandhi and I supplied sweets at [his daughter] Priyanka Gandhi’s wedding,” as quoted by the owner, Sushant Jain.
As written by BBC in its article, “Today, however, the customers are all gone and the once thriving shop wears a deserted look”, the family of Ghantewala is back to rewrite the history, to cater back to the bustling crowds, to evoke back the lost piece of history and summon nostalgia of the royal Mughal Era.