chai wallah teapot display, india

photo creative commons by arti sandhu

A chai wallah’s display. Photo taken near Nai Sarak, Chandani Chowk, Old Delhi

What is a chai wallah? I hear you ask.  A wallah is one who performs a specific task. A rickshaw wallah drives the rickshaw, a dhobi wallah washes clothes and chai wallahs, you guessed it, they make chai. Chai wallahs are everywhere in India. Everywhere. From busy urban street corners to hidden alleyways, at bus depots and railway platforms and walking through the train car, along riversides and on footpaths that lead to pilgrimage sites in the middle of nowhere — when you need a fresh cup of tea, the chai wallah is always near.

Explanation via Chai Pilgrimage, with more beautiful photos here.


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