Mumbai’s Chor Bazaar is a must visit market if you are interested in anything vintage, arty and stolen. Chor Bazaar is the largest flea market in the city located in the Bhendi Bazaar area. Here you can find antiques, second hand goods, old Bollywood posters, automobile parts, furniture, hardware and even stolen goods. The market is one of a kind market in India and has been mentioned in a popular novel called ‘Such a long Journey’ by Rohinton Mistry.
History of Chor Bazaar
Chor Bazaar which means ‘ the market of thieves’ has an interesting story behind its inception. It is said to have been established about 150 years ago and was originally called ‘Shor Bazaar’ or ‘ a Noisy Market’, but during the British rule in India, the British mispronounced the word ‘Shor’ and it was called ‘Chor Bazaar’. Initially the market was a trading place for furniture, brassware and other household items, but over the years, stolen stuff began to be sold in the market, thus claiming its right to its British pronounced name.
Chor Bazaar is located in a crowded locality in South Mumbai, which is a predominantly Muslim area. It will feel like walking in a bygone era when you pass by the crammed curio shops located in the labyrinth of the narrow lanes here.
What All Can You Buy
Chor Bazaar can be divided into many smaller markets, but the main attraction are the curio shops on Mutton Street, where you can check out some amazing stuff.
Antiques, Trinkets, Bollywood Posters and Furniture
If you love vintage things then here is where you will find old cameras, type writers, gramophones, kettles, brass statues, stone figurines, ceramic dolls, grand father clocks, old radios, intricately carved wooden boxes, musical instruments, colourful trinkets, ancient coins, various types of lamps. You sure need patience and lot of time if you want to explore each and every shop here, because who knows you might get lucky and get your hands at something which may have been stolen eon years ago or has an interesting story behind it.
If you want to check out some old Victorian furniture then the shopkeepers will happily show you around and offer to sell some old chairs, cupboards, tables and even bath tubs! They even rent out this antique furniture for Bollywood film shoots.
Also, here you will find old Bollywood film posters. Name any old Indian cinema and most likely you will get its poster in Chor Bazaar shops. If you are lucky you may even get a poster of a Hollywood classic.
There is an automobile parts lane just next to the antique shop lane, where you can see scrapping of old scooters, bikes and cars. The spare parts of the vehicles are then sold at throw away prices. There might be some stolen vehicles too getting scraped off. It looks like a junkyard but can be a paradise for automobile aficionados, who can find various second hand parts like engines, car doors, bike mud guards, tyres, brakes, horns, etc.
Just outside the lanes, you will see many street vendors selling hardware items and cheap electronics. So if you want a hammer, some nails, knives, screw drivers, second hand mobile phones, mobile phone accessories, you may get some good bargain here.
Every Friday night apparently you can sneak in to the market with a local for sure and buy some stolen branded shoes at cheap prices. The shady market which operates only at night sells factory outlet shoes, said to be stolen or got through some shifty arrangement.
How to reach Chor Bazaar
The nearest local train station to Chor Bazaar is the Grant Road station from where you can take a taxi or if you like to walk it is just 2-3 kms away.
Featured Photo by *floydgal*