Beyond the gulab jamun and pokhara stalls selling their dishes in New Delhi, you can find the food that Indian vendors have created not for customers but rather for Alakshmi, goddess of poverty and misfortune. Walking along the crowded streets, you will often see seven chili peppers and one lemon strung together to form what locals call nimbu mirchi. As spicy and sour are Alakshmi’s preferred flavors, residents and shopkeepers hope that she will head to the hanging citrus fruit and peppers to satiate her needs rather than go inside and wreck havoc on their lives and finances.
If you look closely, you will notice that the peppers are hung just far enough outside the threshold to be close but not too close. One wouldn’t want Alakshmi getting too interested in what’s going on inside.
Need to Know
When viewing the nimbu mirchi, it's important to remember not to touch them. You can look and take photos, but touching them is considered rude.
Visit India with Atlas Obscura Trips
Northern India’s Colorful Cities, Villages, and Celebrations
Visit towering forts and palaces, explore local villages, experience Diwali with an Indian family, wander centuries-old ruins, learn to cook in a family home, and witness the sunrise over the Taj Mahal and the River Ganges on this immersive tour of Delhi, Rajasthan, and Varanasi.
Where to Try It
Chandni ChowkNew Delhi, 110001, India
You can see many examples of nimbu mirchi at this shopping district.