Photographing my way through Chor Bazaar (Thieves Market) in Mumbai

19 Feb

Mumbai has some interesting and unique nooks & corners, one of them being our local Chor Bazaar. “Chor” in Hindi means “thieves” and “Bazaar” means a “market”, hence literally translated “Chor Bazaar” means “Thieves Market”. Per Wikipedia this market is one of the largest flea markets in India and has a fascinating history. Apparently this market was originally called Shor Bazaar, meaning “noisy market”, but with British mispronunciation “shor” became “chor” and the name stuck. Eventually stolen goods started finding their way here and hence this market started living upto its name. These days Chor Bazaar is famous for all kinds of antique / vintage products and other interesting things ranging from clocks, all kinds of instruments, furniture, glassware, brassware, lamps, ceramics, Bollywood posters, ceramics, coins, miniature cars, etc etc. Basically its possible to find anything here from cute to bizarre to the regular. πŸ™‚

All kinds of knick knacks

All kinds of knick knacks

As part of my Mumbai Local series, I had wanted to visit this market for a while and eventually ended up going there with a photography group. And during this trail, realized that along with a shoppers treasure trove, this market is also a photographers delight. This is a small market at Mutton Street, near Mohammad Ali Road and is best explored on foot. We started our trip on an early Sunday morning and saw the early morning activity and the market actually come alive. Β Hence we managed to capture a lot of activity around the market too.

I loved walking all around this market and exploring the small alleys, shops and discovering hidden treasures of my own. At one point I even stumbled upon a small second-hand clothes market and an automobile junkyard :). But I most loved the people photography here and an old style telephone box. And sharing some of these sights below –

A flower seller

A flower seller

People Photography

People Photography

A bun seller

A bun seller

A shopkeeper selling auto ancillary products

A shopkeeper selling auto ancillary products

A giant parantha in the making :)

A giant parantha in the making πŸ™‚

A boat :)

A boat πŸ™‚

A Bollywood poster

A Bollywood poster

Teapots

Teapots

A junk yard or a treasure trove?

A junk yard or a treasure trove?

Vintage clocks

Vintage clocks

Vintage instruments

Vintage instruments

Painted tiles

Painted tiles

Lamps in all colors and shapes

Lamps in all colors and shapes

Diyas / Lamps

Diyas / Lamps

Beautiful painting on a pot

Beautiful painting on a pot

I have also been assured by numerous regulars that every visit here brings out a new sight, new items and after one visit I can totally understand what they mean by it.

So the next time you are in Mumbai, do take some time out and be sure to visit this hidden corner.

Tips for the Trip –

  1. The easiest landmark to this market is Shalimar Hotel on Mohammad Ali Road and you then ask anyone around for directions.
  2. If you are shopping here then bargaining is a must.
  3. This market is in a conservative part of Mumbai, hence I recommend dressing a bit conservatively. Not that anyone says anything, but this just helps avoid undue attention and stares.
  4. Things available here are by availability and chance hence you have to Β rummage around and may not get not something that you may have in mind on your first trip.
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32 Responses to “Photographing my way through Chor Bazaar (Thieves Market) in Mumbai”

  1. Dr_IQ February 20, 2014 at 01:15 #

    Lovely post.

    Like

  2. literaryvittles February 20, 2014 at 01:30 #

    amazing photographs!! wish I could visit this market πŸ™‚ though I’m terrible at bargaining. absolutely terrible.

    Like

    • getsetandgo February 21, 2014 at 10:23 #

      Thanks and you can visit just for photography too. Also bargaining is an easy art perfected by practice. I’ll write a post on it soon πŸ™‚

      Like

  3. Fae's Twist & Tango February 20, 2014 at 05:10 #

    Well, Mumbai, here we come! πŸ˜€

    Like

    • getsetandgo February 21, 2014 at 10:24 #

      Hey, when r u here?

      Like

      • Fae's Twist & Tango February 21, 2014 at 11:34 #

        Our ship will dock 7am 4/15 and sails away 5am the next day. We have an excursion 9;30am~ 2pm to see Prince of Wales Museum, Gateway of India, National Gandhi Muesem, Dhobi Ghat (for photo), Colaba Causeway for shopping, lunch is not included and Taj Mahal Hotel is recommended, (details says Victoria Terminus too) and then back to the ship. We really don’t know what these places are other than some of the obvious. We never go on our own, because we are afraid of getting lost and not finding our way to the ship, in a foreign land. I even dreamed about getting lost in India. πŸ˜‰ Other excursions are more museums and temples. I like to see people and the-hustle-n- bustle of people’s everyday lives.

        Like

      • getsetandgo February 23, 2014 at 10:27 #

        Hey Fae, unfortunately it’s a working day else I would have loved to take you around and show you the hustle and bustle of the city. At present your itinerary seems quite packed, but if you have the time then just on your own too, you can check out the following –
        1. Victoria Terminus – is one of the oldest train stations in India built in a Gothic architecture and definitely recommended. The central railway also runs heritage tours everyday for this huge station at around 3pm.
        2. Have a drink in the evening at Cafe Leopold (at Colaba Causeway) and ask them to show you the remnants of the firing of the terrorist attack. You can also try a drink at Cafe Mondegar. For lunch, you can also try a meal (esperially berri pulao) at Cafe Britannia (an old Parsi – Iranian joint, part of a world that is fast disappearing).
        3. See Marine Drive (Queens Necklace) in the evening when its all lit up. Makes a beautiful sight.
        4. Mumbai also has a good cultural and art scene and you can try to catch a play / cultural performance at the NCPA.
        5. In terms of food – do try a vada pav (uniquely shaped bread with a fried potato filling), pav bhaji (bread with mixed vegetable), naturals ice cream (made with fresh fruits of the season and no preservatives), ussal and missal. These are totally local dishes.
        6. Do bargain while shopping on the street in Colaba Causeway.
        Please feel to write to me if you want to see / do something specific or check on anything else and I will be happy to help πŸ™‚

        Like

      • Fae's Twist & Tango February 23, 2014 at 13:27 #

        Thank you so~ much, Snigdha! Oh no, I have no expectations. I wrote our schedule so you would comment, and you did. I am grateful! Thank you for the valuable information. I copied it and will take it with us. You are very kind. xoxo

        Like

      • getsetandgo February 26, 2014 at 11:03 #

        Hey Fae, glad to be of help and I would have loved to meet you and take you around. You visiting any other cities in India?

        Like

      • Fae's Twist & Tango February 27, 2014 at 01:54 #

        Yes, we first fly into Delhi, just for two days, to visit the (Lotus) Baha’i Temple, Taj Mahal and whatever we see on the way. Then we fly to Singapore to take our cruise.

        Like

      • getsetandgo March 9, 2014 at 11:12 #

        Hi Fae, in Delhi my favorite place is a walking tour of Chandni Chowk. Delhi Heritage walk organizes guided tours and it’s definitely recommended.Also do visit Haldirams and try Chaat especially papri chaat and gol gappas and all the mithais (Sweets) esp rasgullas, rasmalai, kalakand and gujhias πŸ™‚

        Like

      • Fae's Twist & Tango March 9, 2014 at 11:30 #

        Definitely. I will ask our concierge to direct us to the places you mentioned. Thank you!

        Like

      • getsetandgo March 18, 2014 at 13:06 #

        No worries and have a good trip πŸ™‚

        Like

  4. grackleandsun February 20, 2014 at 06:30 #

    Love this! Your photographs really bring the experience closer.

    Like

  5. sueslaght February 20, 2014 at 11:06 #

    Definitely a photographers delight. Fabulous shots!

    Like

  6. katpegimana February 20, 2014 at 13:19 #

    Your photos are great! I love how the colours stand out amazingly.

    Like

  7. SocialBiker February 22, 2014 at 13:31 #

    Just loved the lamps. Can you share the price range there, I am assuming them to be of lowest possible cost here….

    Like

    • getsetandgo February 23, 2014 at 10:28 #

      Hey, not sure about the price range. I didn’t ask as I didn’t want to buy.

      Like

  8. Megan Coffroth February 22, 2014 at 19:31 #

    Such a neat post! You take great pictures. I especially love the colors in the teapot photo.

    Like

  9. psychologistmimi February 23, 2014 at 05:40 #

    I would love to go shopping there

    Like

  10. ...shabab khan February 28, 2014 at 00:44 #

    When i visited chor bazar for the very first time, I was taking every vendor as a theif. When I find im being stared I immideatly check my back pocket to ensure my wallet is there.
    Its a network of Lanes, bylanes and alleys, if u don’t know the market well, you’ll head into the washroom of somebody. However, I bought an ancient sword for Rs. 6500 and sold in my city for 15000. πŸ˜‰

    Like

  11. souvagya June 2, 2014 at 19:48 #

    Wonderful pics and write up. Although I stay in Mumbai for many years now, never got a chance to visit chor bazar. Looks like it is a must see for me. Anyway, I just started with my cartoon blog post mostly centered around life in Mumbai. Please do visit when u get a chance.

    Like

    • getsetandgo June 3, 2014 at 10:34 #

      Hey, thanks… Do visit Chor Bazaar as I think it is one of Mumbai’s hidden gems… I’ll also check out ur blog πŸ™‚

      Like

  12. Abhinandan June 5, 2014 at 12:00 #

    Awesome post πŸ™‚ Thanks πŸ™‚

    Like

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