“Lets start it brief about the name ‘Chor Bazaar’, the famously called Thieves market at Grant Road Station of South Mumbai which is famous for any type of second hand and also stolen products. To keep the product range simple, i must add anything means anything, from PIN to PIANO and much more then one expect. This bazaar has its own crowd who get attracted at its multi-lane flea like market. All types of people visit this market for their individual needs. It is now one of the famous attractions for Tourists. Speciality being as it is said that when you don’t get an old or outdated product in regular market, the final destination visit and checkout is the Chor Bazaar with an hope of getting it. Say it range of old historic items used to decorate home, iron products, mobiles, gadgets or some that looks hardly working any more are all on for sale at shops and footpath of all its lanes. Lets see the in depth of this Thieves Market ..”
The Name Chor Bazaar and Its Attractions
The Name ‘Chor Bazaar’
During British Era in Mumbai, A local Market (Bazaar) started at Duncan Road (First left from ‘Gol Deval Temple’) which was crowded and noisy (Noise is Called ‘Shor’ in Hindi) and Britishers referred it as ‘Shor Bazaar’. Gradually this market got shifted to the location Currently (Adjacent area of Grant Road) and few thieves (Chor in Hindi) took the change to sell the stolen goods in shortest time possible here in cheaper cost.
So the word ‘Shor Bazaar’ Somewhere contributed to name ‘Chor Bazaar’ which is also famously known as ‘Cheap Stuff Market in Mumbai’. Although the name, But in reality not all goods sold here is stolen. Being cheap in cost has many other reasons like most stuff sold here is Second Hand (Used) and Special Friday markets as detailed below are Duplicate products (Locally Called FIRST COPY) which looks exactly same like the original brand but at price half or much less then half the original brand product. And so is this ‘Cheap Stuff Market’ got so famous and crowded, Specially on Fridays between 4:30 Am to 7:00 (The Special Night Markets of Chor Bazaar).
Ask some old age resident of South Mumbai who is in his/her 90’s about this market and few will sure tell you, It was actually called ‘Shor Market’ which means in Hindi ‘Loud Selling Noisy Market’ of the then called ‘BOMBAY’, where people use to sell any random products on footpath of those lanes and those shops of these Grant Road location which is quite adjacent to famous Bhendi Bazaar. Their are multiple small lanes, looks like four ways at every junction of this market with some very un-organized types of shops selling its individual specialities. With time, once when it use to sell second hand (Used) products, be it commercial or household item, it started attracting products which were stolen from various lanes, shops and homes, be it shoes from temple, gadgets by thieves or some real bigger things. It is said that famous CHOR’s (Thieves) of Mumbai city who wanted to make some quick money and were without jobs used this market as a medium of quick sell and earning via such stolen products, and so the name.
Today also it is said that its a combination of both stolen and second hand products which are sold openly here. Majority of people having owned shops and rented selling things here are Muslims, as the other locations are dominated with same community people. Such adjacent famous locations are Bhendi Bazaar, Mazjid Bunder, Pydhonie to list a few of them. One needs to be very smart when it comes to buying products here, be it some old Bollywood posters, a binoculars, gymnasium iron Dumbbells, multi coloured stones gem rings, or those old gramophones and their records and to list the latest mobile phones and much more which are all available here. The smartness to pick the correct working product at correct price as generally they cost every product rates 2 to 3 times and then bargain. Mind you their people skill in selling and checking your bargain skill are really good. Once you show the interest in any product in this bazaar and start the bargain you are targeted for sale, Try not to argue or get into fight with anyone in this market for any reason. If you like it bargain and take it or just say ‘Its OK’ or in Hindi ‘Nahi Chahiye’, I was just interested in knowing the cost.
Yes, you will also find some real decently Organized shops inside with antiquities being sold, and trust me if you are one of those old stuff collectors, Chor Bazaar is the best place in Mumbai. If you been misinformed about Old Indian Coins only sold here, then that’s a history and you can see those coins being sold at few of the railway platforms (Like i saw on Railway Bridge of Malad station sometimes before), Strange. One more thing to note is that if you find yourself messed up in market seeing all un-organized spread products and want something in particular which is not seen displayed, try asking couple of sellers around about the person who sells those products or who are specialists sellers of same and they will guide you to correct place and lane.
Special Friday Electronic and Shoe Market
Thursday late night OR say Friday Early morning Market, Timings (Between 4:00 to 7:00 in Morning) are special. I really do not know the reason behind the day and such odd timings, But the day being Jumma (Friday) has 2 special markets inside the 3rd main Chor Bazaar lane and Wagdi ground. By 3:30 Am all sellers unload their electronic goods at these Wagdi ground inside busy lanes.
Friday special sale ground is what this One Night Electronic Market is named with, ‘Wagdi Bazaar’ is a small open space inside busy colony and lanes of Chor Bazaar. About few Hundred people can be seen at this limited capacity ground for Second Hand Electronic Products Sellers. It has a small Gate which gets closed just an hour before 4:30 Am when the market begins and as soon the vendors are ready with the unloaded trucks of electronic goods the gates are thrown open to Mumbai people.
Wagdi Bazaar attracts youth as major electronic high brands products from iPad to Drones and almost many / all others can be seen just thrown open on a small piece of plastic spread on floor of this Wagdi ground and people jumps in to check and get the cheapest deal (BARGAIN MUST). Checkout this below video by Famous Biker and You-tuber called ‘Nikhil’ who has a huge subscriber list who has covered a special vlog on Chor Bazaar at night (See Video Section below).
TIP 1 : Before sunrise (7:00 Am Closing time of Market) the seller needs to wrap up and move, So the later you are around at sunrise the more cheaper are the deals, The earlier you are (4:30 Am) the hard to crack the cheap deals.
TIP 2 : Do Not get into argument or word war here, You may find good people and few worst ( ‘Shana’ as Mumbai Slangs says), So better grab your deal and move out quitely.
Another Night market (4:30 to 7:00 Am) on Friday. While Andheri is name of one of the famous Suburban Railway Station, Just a wild guess if the name refers to the secret market at dark nights (Andhera = Andheri). Guessing game aside, ‘Andheri Bazaar’ is another market specialized in selling Shoes, Jeans and Similar first hand apparels and stuff. Many college going youths visit this market at this early hour odd timings to get great deals on all types of Branded shoes (Reebok, Nike and any other brand and costliest shoes) you say are available at as cheap as below Rs.1000.
I am not sure where, But have seen a special video from some news / media publication revealing the other side of this Andheri Bazaar. They have detailed about how Branded Shoes are stolen from long distance trains, temples etc and how they reach this market for Friday morning sale. Exclusive interviews of Agents and people who actually stole it were taken and revealed. But not all stuff are stolen here. Great deals on TShirts, Jeans, Branded Under Garments are available in the dark moments.
Taking pictures and videos is not allowed, Lucky if you take some quick clicks or clip, But sellers will keep watch on you and may stop you if seen. Keep calm, Don’t argue and move ahead with your mobile cameras and DSLR’s kept in.
The Main Bazaar
This is the main Chor Bazaar which is what many people know about. From Monday to Saturday all day round all types of goods, products are sold here. Half of the market ha vanished due to a new Mosque under construction in progress. Now these market lanes are at same location, this bazaar operates openly during day time and is not part of those 2 special Night Markets, So do not get confused and keep note of timings i mentioned.
Best Day and Time to Visit Thieves Market
This market is open all 7 days of week, Except Sundays when only couple of lanes inside are seen selling limited products. So as said Sunday is the lowest selling day. So which day and time is the best to visit this famous ‘Chor Bazaar’ ?. Trust me if you want to have real fun and see what this Bazaar is all about Visit here on ‘FRIDAY’ starting early morning 9 Am till 1 Pm. And hey, I Will love to see your comments below with all your experience that others will love to read too.
How to Reach Chor Bazaar
Route 1 : Nearest station to Reach Chor Bazaar is Grant Road, which is a 3rd station from Churchgate in Western Railway Route. Parking is a big headache here so is why i am focusing on how to reach via local trains, Or alternately you can hire a cab anywhere from South Mumbai and they will drop you here. Ok, so via trains once you get down at Grant Road station in EAST, follow the east-west flyover bridge with road called Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, If you want to enjoy the location around, you can walk for 20 minutes to reach or simply take a cab from station and reach in few minutes.
Route 2 : Via the very Next station which is ‘Charni Road‘, get down in East and enjoy other famous locations like Khetwadi Lanes, CP Tank’s famous Madhav baug temple and take the same temple lane to reach Null bazaar which then goes to Chor Bazaar. Alternately also comes some old colonies of south Mumbai like Lohar Chawl, Gol Deval temple if you take that alternate lane. Its bit confusing, But if you are really excited and ready to explore the real south Mumbai with this tour and have fun, its highly recommended.
Video Inside Chor Bazaar