City Shopping – Bohri Bazaar

A visit to Bohri Bazaar makes you wonder at larger potential and the possibilities that this bazaar boasts. It is perhaps Karachi’s answer to traditional grand bazaars of Isfahan and Istanbul or perhaps a more hybrid ones like Istiqlal in Istanbul or Nizami street in Baku. Or it perhaps is a unique setting. A brand in itself. Bohri Bazaar, one which should create its own league and become an example which could be emulated elsewhere. Bohri Bazaar could have been one such bazaar already.

Everyone in Karachi must have been to Bohri Bazaar at least once. Everyone knows it even if they don’t frequent it. There is a wide range of good and services on offer, from utensils to plastic flowers, from hair wigs to makeup and there are some specialty shops such as one where you can get mirrors and plant holders customized in different designs. And there is some awesome street food. From regular chaats to bohri specialties. If it does not entice you enough, add multiple heritage sites in/around it. if you are coming from Daud Pota Rd, then make a stop at Parsi Fire Temple. The nearby Jehangir hotel and Tit Book Shop has been brought down recently. Both were one of the oldest in their respective categories. There’s a lot of confusing development going on in the area. It seems that the area will have a food street soon. Does it make any sense? You can find the market from Zebunnisa street or Clarke Street. Wherever you enter from, chances are that you have to make frequent stops to appreciate stone masonry of yesteryear.

Bohri Bazaar was built by British as city grew larger and Saddar sprang as new city center. There’s a Mochi galli adjacent to the market. According to Arif hasan sb, it got its name when British swapped lease for cantonment land in Lines area with it, bringing Hindu Mochi community here. This is not known but most probably Bazaar got its name from Bohri traders who filled the vacuum left by migration of Hindu trading community after partition. A fire broke out in the area in 1952 which required reconstruction of some of the buildings otherwise most of the buildings are more than a century old.

Twin bomb blasts ripped through crowded Bohri Bazaar in 1987. Hundreds died. Thousands stepped forward to help. Life went on. The Bazaar resumed its activities. That resilience still defines residents of Karachi.

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