Bohri Bazar is a famous marketplace situated in the Saddar Town locality of Karachi, Pakistan. The market traces its origins before the partition era and stayed at its place while the time around it evaluated into something more. It was used to be one of the most popular and busy places for shopping in Karachi and reflected as one of the few historical spots of the city. Commodities sold in the Bohri Bazar range from condiments, Home decor, Kitchenware, to stationary material, fabrics and party favors.
There is no exact date of when the market was established but old folks remember it from the era of 1950’s, which makes some of these shops more than a 100 years old. The market back in the time was one of the most famous for its shops and merchandise, which left the customers in awestruck. The market is situated alongside of Empress Market one the British relics left behind in Karachi. Though Empress Market was one of the most famous and architecturally beautiful but Bohri Bazar had its own charm and kept its loyal customers attracted to itself.
Karachi has had a great change since Pakistan came into being, the market has shifted to the area Clifton by the beach and so has the residents but places like Bohri Bazar never let its populace forget about the old belonging and memories they had shared together. It even mesmerize the new comers and make them come again and again. The bazar continues to evoke romanticism and is visited by hundreds of customers and visitors daily for shopping, despite its location in one of the most congested areas of the city. The market is a one-stop shop for everything needed to run a household.
But just like a city, a market is defined by the people who run it and Bohri Bazar has its own share of unique characters. As you stroll through the alleys sidestepping sunrays piercing through the tattered tents, you see narrow shops with dimly lit openings into winding alleys full of shoppers. The shopkeepers not less than magicians impeccably dressed in shalwar kameez, reading newspapers and passing a smile, a sign of welcome to their shops; The books sellers on the footpaths with the piles of books laying in front of them grinning and cleaning the dust from the books, time to time. The beggars strategically positioned at the entry points to make the buyers handing out charity before they run out of money. A tea vendor delivering chai to all shop keepers in the bazaar can make anyone dizzy, an art in itself, the chai wallah expertly weaves in and out of the bustling streets, handing out teacups around ensuring smooth supply of caffeine.
Bohri bazaar is also very famous for decorations and other important ornaments to make your parties go lit. Here you can find an array of artificial flowers as decoration prop, mehndi decorations and other props to make your wedding filled with all the bling and sparkles. Along with other shops, you will also find those related to beauty such as shops selling toupees, wigs, artificial hair, cosmetics, and jewelry including a wide range of Hyderabadi Bangles. Another famous rang of shops are the shoe shops selling zari Chappal, naagra shoes and other types of sandals with a wide range of variety originated from Lahore to Jaipur(India), which are equally popular in Karachi.
The Bazar is home to one of the oldest Nimko shops in Karachi, while others similar snacks like samosas with daal & other fillings, which is still very popular in Karachi. Other than kulfi from, the bazaar is famous for its numerous chaat houses and ice-cream shops selling faluda. A trip to Bohri bazaar would be incomplete without this. As night approaches, the small streets inside the bazaar are surprisingly glowing with the lights set up inside and outside the shops by the owners. Showing another view, one different from the day light. Shops remain open well after sunset, sometimes even busier than it is during the day.
Just like every historical place Bohri bazar has had its history of tragic incident that affected the Shops and residents of the area. The bazaar has witnessed two horrific disasters, one of which was in 1958 when a huge fire broke out in a fireworks shop. The shops were burnt beyond recognition and caused a great damage to the building. The second incident took place in the 1980s when two bomb blast claimed dozens of innocent lives. The Bohri community played an important role in reconstructing the market and didn’t lost any hope. The area is still in need of the attention from the government to improve the electrical wirings, fix the drainage system and other bare necessities.
Bohri Bazar from its beginning is helping people to earn for their families but in past few years due to unauthorized usage of market, this building is now under threat. The Bazar is our heritage, culture, and the core values of our society, a hope for the authorities to get in their senses and preserve this city’s heritage and make something out of the bountiful architecture that is found all around Saddar. we must strive to preserve these places and provide adequate services to the shop owners as it reflects our history.