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Chor Bazaar – Thieves Market Posted by on Jan 6, 2022 in Travel & Geography

Thieves Market Mumbai

Photos Courtesy: Nicole Herbert Dean

One of India’s original flea markets कबाड़ी बाजार located in South Mumbai. The word for flea is kabaddi in Hindi. The name of the market is ‘Chor Bazaar’ or ‘Thieves Market’. It’s original name was ‘Shor Bazaar’ because it was noisyशोर But over time evolved and true to its name took on the form of a flea market.

History

Legend दंतकथा it that when Queen Victoria visited India, she lost some of her personal belongings a violin सारंगी some jewelry. They were found in the Shor Bazaar. So, this market has been around for some time – maybe 150 years old. The British could not pronounce the word for ‘noise’ – ‘shor’ properly and given its dubious reputation for housing stolen goods it received its unforgettable name. In fact, the common joke if you get pickpocketed or lose your stuff in Mumbai, is to act on the suggestion to track it down in Chor Bazaar!

How to get there

So, how do you get there? Travel by taxi from the airport and it should take you about an hour. The fastest means of transport is the train – to Victoria Terminus or Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus as it is now called. Mumbai‘s local trains are the easiest way of getting into the downtown areas if you can stand the crowded compartments. The market is located on Mutton Street. A narrow but packed street with shops with jutting awnings. As you walk you will encounter people, animals, लोग, जानवर scooters dodging their way down the street.

Where do you start?

Once you get there – the best place to begin is on the outside and make your way in slowly. A hardware shop लोहार की दुकान with all sorts of medieval-looking tools is on display. You will find Hammersहथौड़ा hooksअंकुड़ा chains, gardening tools,बागवानी उपकरणand even dog leashesकुत्ते का पट्टा

Next, is a sports equipment shop with all sorts of vintage sports items. Items range from Rs. 250-Rs 1200 ($3-$15).  Such a steal! Most of the shop’s house antiques – watches, clocks, gramophones, cameras, and art. There are even new parts – probably stolen – of BMW and other foreign-made cars.

Many of the shops are run by families who bequeath their business to the next of kin or children.  It is a tourist attraction and the residents and shopkeepers are very friendly and helpful.

A favorite is the Bollywood Bazaar which unlike its name houses antique pots and pans made of copper and brassतांबा और पीतल Next to it is a record shop, Haji Ibrahim Record Shop, replete with antique radios, large horn wind-up gramophones, and records. Interior decorators come here to shop for their clients.

There is even a bakery in the midst of the chaos. This bakery has been in existence since 1958. They serve freshly made cookies, macaroons, and fruit cake.

Millennial Advice

This market has become quite popular with vloggers who travel to find unique stories for their YouTube channels and Instagrams. With their unique perspective, they advise not to go to the market on Fridays as a lot of shops are closed. This is because many are Muslim-owned and they observe a day of prayer. They also caution women to dress modestly and appropriately – there is lots of walking to do. And lastly to beware of pickpockets. After all the market has to live up to its reputation.

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About the Author: Nicole Herbert Dean

Language, Region and Culture Consultant to the Department of Defense and United States Military.


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