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A Visit to Chor Bazaar
The “Chor Bazaar”(literally meaning "the market of the stolen") cannot be simply described as a bazaar, rather it is an experience in every aspect: be it getting to know about it in the first place or reaching the market, shopping and even leaving the market! In case you visit chor bazaar, be prepared for some peculiar surprises!
The market is primarily confined to two specific lanes with several other smaller patches spread around the area, where each lane specializing in its own way. The market gathers weekly every Friday at very strange hours, which are from 4 am to 8 am. Yes, you need to be there at an almost night hours at around 4am to get the best out of the stock available. The two prominent lanes being Ded Galli which is predominantly a footwear market, and Mutton Street near Dhon Taki Police Chowki where most of the stuff comprises clothes, electronic items, accessories, etc.
It is more of a wholesale market than a market of stolen things as the name suggests, but you can still find a lot of stolen or second hand stuff there. Most of the stuff, though very cheap, is of a very mediocre quality but still the stock does contain a significant amount of high quality deliverables. Thus it’s advisable to reach the market at most before 5 am so as to buy the good stuff, leaving the leftovers for the late comers as mostly within an hour in the bustling market, all the valuable stuff is sold out.
Now, to reach Grant road at around 4 am, the option we opted which was most feasible to us was an all nighter at Marine Drive and catching the first local (4:15 am) from Churchgate station to Grant Road station. After reaching Grant Road we took a taxi to Mutton Street, and within 10 minutes I was standing in a narrow street at around 4:30 am. It was a dark lane where vendors were setting up their roadside stalls with a very few people moving about randomly. We were skeptical upon the fact that were we at the right place, but all our doubts were washed clean, as in no time the crowd there started to increase exponentially and within fifteen minutes it was a bustling market with almost no space to move in the lanes, and vendors shouting and announcing the deals they were offering. As I said earlier, it is the early people who have the privilege to segregate the quality products from the bulk and buy them at a very reasonable price. Me with my friends went from stall to stall buying almost everything we found of our use as the prices for most of the things were actually very less and compelling. The best deal I got was an ADIDAS jacket (I found nothing even remotely pointing towards it being a fake, probably it was stolen!) at ₹300 which from our prior experience could not be less than ₹2500. The shopping experience there can be very easily encapsulated in a single phrase, that it is a “supermarket for men” where nobody bothers to negotiate, just keep picking up the stuff you want and keep moving in the rushing energetic crowd, where everyone is searching the best out of the bulk.
After about an hour of shopping about two travel bags almost packed with the shopped stuff, we headed to ded galli. The name ded galli (meaning 1½ road) comes from the shape of the lane where the market is situated. It is a long lane with vendors predominantly selling shoes of almost all common brands and all types be it formal, running, football studs and so on; and a small lane protruding sideways from within the main lane, thereby giving the name to the market ded galli market. Again, the shoes are not of very high quality, but to get a ₹7000 worth Puma-Ferrari flat sole shoes pair at only ₹600 is a deal very difficult to ignore!
Finally at around 7:30 am, we all were exhausted, with the money almost completely drained off, we were totally satisfied with all the things we bought. As we were leaving, we noticed certain shops being closed as they sold all of their stock off, implying that the market will start to disperse soon, probably around 8 am as expected. Thereby, concluding the description I would like to advise that visiting Chor Bazaar is a must experience for everyone in Mumbai and in case you are planning to buy stuff, try to reach as early as possible to get the best of the stock!