City Shopping – Buying books at Regal Chowk

Surreal. There is something with this setting which makes it surreal. The street in question is just another street at Regal Chowk, full of saddar-esque trash, dirt and overflowing sewerage water. There are shops selling everything from a transistor to the promise of a lustful life. There is not anything spectacular about this street. It would not qualify for a post. It is yet another street.

But not on a Sunday morning.

Booksellers, Book lovers, Bookworms, Food vendors, rickshaw wala flock in from various parts of Karachi to the unlikely refuge for second hand books. The show starts by nine o clock. Few booksellers set their shops on thailas while others put priceless pieces over makeshift floor-mats. They sell everything: from Dickens to Ghalib, from Sidney Sheldon to Jalib, from Ghazali to Opportunist writers. All the books are second hand or possibly much more hands have changed before books find their way here. Most of the booksellers have tiny shops across the city. They have been gathering on Sundays for years. They ended up at Regal Chowk after they were thrown out of Frere hall in early 2000s. Even after American Embassy’s departure, Frere hall stays off-limits for the books and whole supply chain.

If you are coming from Clifton then take the street which passes through zainab market. Go straight and turn left at regal chowk. Turn into second street on your left. Its better to park your car outside the street as it gets crowded immediately. You will find few food stalls on your left. Have a sip of hot tea or have chola plate. Depending on the time of your visit, you will find twenty to forty book stalls. Few of them sell whatever they find, others specialize in specific genres. You may find publications as old as eighty years. They have the smell of times gone by. Take a little time before indulging yourself in the books. Look sideways and feel the surrealistic scene. The street is not cleaned after a busy weekend night. Trash flies here and there. It bears no impact over visitors. They get indulged the moment they come in. Parents suggesting titles to children. Children suggesting titles to parents. Women falling over digests and novels. School Boys getting stuck over film magazines.

All of it on a Sunday morning at Regal Chowk.

Tags: , ,

Categories: City Markets

Stay in touch

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

13 Comments on “City Shopping – Buying books at Regal Chowk”

  1. May 19, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    such a nice blog…..

  2. July 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    what a stark contrast- the filth and sewerage on the street and the books. It does look like a real treat and is making me want to go there this Sunday.

  3. December 15, 2011 at 2:48 am #

    Admirable article!!!

  4. November 20, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    I was there two Sundays ago and bought 8 paperbacks at such amazing prices! These are one of the several things about Karachi that I miss terribly here in the UAE.

  5. April 15, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Such a Impressive blog great selection of images and words. very informative blog thanks for sharing such a nice blog with us . i m looking forward to see more blog like that . thanks

  6. Anonymous
    September 12, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    I want to buy used books, please send me an email

  7. rai
    September 12, 2013 at 4:36 pm #


    I need used books, please publish address of these booksellers.
    Thank You. Thank You

  8. rai
    September 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm #


    I need used books, please publish mobile phone and/or email addresses of these booksellers. This information would be of help to buyers and sellers.

    Thank You. Thank You

  9. rai
    September 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    I need books on Allama Mashriqi, founder of Khaksar Tehrik. Does any one carry books written by Nasim Yousaf. I am also interested in “Tazkirah”

    By Allama Mashriqi

    “The First volume of ‘Tazkirah’ published in 1924 has four sections. The first which is in Arabic constitutes the author’s main theorem on the rise and fall of human societies, and a verdict on the fluctuating fortune of the world Muslim community. The three sections following the Arabic text are in Urdu and consist of a 132-page Preface, a 100-page Introduction, and 172-page text of the book proper. The Introduction deals with the Quranic version of the law of man’s evolution as a species and the collective conduct of human societies determining their ultimate destiny. The Preface which precedes it discusses the conflict between various religions — the distortion of the Message brought by the prophets, the tussle between Religion and Science, and the compelling necessity to resolve these conflicts before mankind becomes extinct through its own follies…

    Even when analyzing the fate of human communities and man’s ultimate destiny, Mashriqi has looked on everything as a mathematician. It was as a mathematician that he discussed in 1926 the theme with Einstein on his return from Cairo via Germany, and tried to impress upon him to come out of the shell of a mere physicist. In his address to the mathematical society of Islamia College Peshawar in November 1928…he made a particular reference to it. He said, ‘If I have presented a book (Tazkirah Ed.) to the world that has no peer it is because of mathematics. If I had left mathematics and gone on to higher things it is through mathematics. If I have left studying mathematics and have seen a higher truth in the Koran its through mathematics. In fact, the first truth of the Koran dawned on me while I was busy day and night preparing for the Mathematics Tripos at Cambridge’.”
    Source:Inayat ullah Khan El-Mashriqi: God, Man And Universe: As Conceived by a Mathematician. Edited by Syed Shabbir Hussain. First Impression, November, 1980, p. 25

    • Saeed
      January 24, 2021 at 11:01 pm #

      Salam Rai, reading you comment, I assume taht you own God Man and Universe by Dr. Shabbir Hussain. I would be interested in that book.

      thank you, will appreciate any information.

  10. September 6, 2015 at 12:06 am #

    Is still taking place there on Sundays?

    • August 29, 2017 at 11:13 am #

      yes kashif it is ..I just went there a month ago


  1. Karachi Life – Buying books at Regal Chowk | Tea Break - April 27, 2011

    […] Karachi Life – Buying books at Regal Chowk […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: