HT No TV Day: Ditch fancy malls, here's to Mumbai's oldest markets

  • Ruchika Kher and Arundhati Chatterjee, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: May 30, 2015 18:10 IST

While monuments and heritage structures contribute significantly to a city’s culture, its market places, too, are integral to its identity. A far cry from its cosmopolitan image and high rise-packed skyline, Mumbai also possesses a humbler side, which can be experienced by visiting some of its oldest markets. From perfumes to an extensive range of umbrellas, these markets have them all. Chaotic they may be, but their charm is unmistakable. Walk down these busy lanes, and learn more about the city.

Mirchi Galli

In the heart of Crawford Market, you can spot the majestic Jumma Masjid. A stone’s throw from the mosque is the age-old market of chillies, popularly known as Mirchi Galli. Take your pick from a variety of fresh as well as dry chillies, available at wholesale and retail rates. Besides the regular green and Kashmiri chillies, some of the hottest ones you can lay your hands on are Guntur Mirch, Picador Mirch, Sankeshwari Mirch and Bedgi Mirch.

Chhatri Bazaar

Pick your monsoon gear from Chhatri Bazaar.

It may not be the easiest street to locate on an online map or search engine, but this is definitely your go-to street for the protective rain gear you need. A 10-minute walk from Marine Lines station will take you to Princess Street. A walk down the road will lead you to the middle of a bustling street, lined with stores — retail as well as wholesale — selling umbrellas and monsoon wear. Each season has its own offerings, and some of the most innovative ones we spotted here are umbrellas with in-built battery-operated fans and umbrellas embellished with LED lights. Priced between Rs 150 and Rs 2,200, there’s something for everyone. With monsoon just round the corner, you would definitely want topay a visit to Chhatri Bazaar.

Fireworks Market

Fireworks market at Mohammad Ali Road is abuzz round the year.

The gastronomic pocket of the city, Mohammad Ali Road also houses a string of shops dealing with fireworks. While this market buzzes around Diwali, the business here doesn’t come to a standstill at other times of the year. Popular items available all around theyear are lanterns and lamps, with newer designs. The shops here cater to the demands of every budget. Starting at Rs 25, a wide variety of firecrackers are available to choose from.

Attar Galli

Get fragrances in bottles of different sizes at Attar Galli.

As soon as you enter the congested bylanes of Bhendi Bazaar, which is famously called Attar Galli, glass bottles with cutwork neatly lined in show windows make for an interesting sight. They instantly transport you to the stories of genies and magic potions. The only difference is that Attar Galli is not part of a storybook, and the bottles don’t contain potions, but perfumes. The small market includes rows of shops run by third or fourth-generation owners. From Rs 100 for a 10 ml bottle to Rs 1,000 for a bottle of the same size, the prices of the perfumes (available in fragrances like rose, jasmine and oriental) vary based on the quality. While most shops in the lane operate as wholesale dealers, some shops allow retail purchases as well.

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