Flee to Flea: A Treasure Hunt

You know I have a thing for word play. I have lived in Mumbai for 19 years, technically speaking, and yet I have never actually seen my city. Let me introduce you to one of the most historical aspect of the city – Chor Bazaar, literally meaning thieves market.

You must be wondering what is so great about a mere market. Well, 150 years of history is reflected in its evolution – from its name to the products that is sold. Originally referred to as Shor Bazaar, meaning noisy market, the word “shor” became “chor” since the colonial rulers were unable to pronounce it. Eventually, stolen goods started showing up in the market, thereby living up to its current name.

The area is full of crowded streets, crumbling buildings with characteristic Islamic architecture. However, instead of distracting you, it somewhat adds on to the old world charm.


After traversing through each lane, it is easy to understand why this place was such a favorite among the Britishers. The variety of trinkets that can be seen is simply astounding; from antiques to vintage goods and posters, car spare parts, brasswares, hardwares and tools, electronics, furnitures, fashion and footwear, and weirdly meat.

The closest railway is located at Grant Road from where tourists can walk towards Mohammed Ali Road which will lead you directly to the Flea Market. There are two ways to reach Grant Road – via CST (Central line) or via Western Line. The market is trypically open from 11.00 to 19.30 Hours, except on Friday. But do not neglect it just because it’s a Friday. I have been told that the real thieves market is actually the Friday Market.

Pro Tip:

  • Well the lanes are narrow, to describe it at its best. I was roaming around the lanes, and I did not attract any kind of untoward attention. However, do keep checking your wallet or pockets; I was warned to keep an eye out for pickpockets.
  • The prices literally depends on how well versed you are in the art of negotiation. I would advise you to go during early hours; they are more amenable to prices since the first customer to a shop is considered as auspicious.
  • Last but not the least. There are very few liberal minds in India. Being a conservative Muslim area, it is advised to dress in loose, full-sleeved clothing.

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