Chor Bazaar is located in South Mumbai, near to Bhendi Bazaar. It was originally called Shor Bazaar (noisy market), and there are various stories about how it got its current name. One of the most popular theories is that the British were unable to pronounce ‘Shor’. Over time, it became known as ‘Chor’ Bazaar.
Another legend is that Queen Victoria lost some belongings when visiting Mumbai. These later turned up at the market. This earnt it the name ‘Chor Bazaar’; which means ‘thieves market’. Either way, Chor Bazaar proved a good name, as the market became known for selling stolen goods from across the city.
Today, Chor Bazaar is a sprawling and lively vintage market, bursting with a huge array of antique and vintage items. It sells anything from lamps to car parts to Bollywood film posters. Chor Bazaar is made up of many small individual shops spread through old winding lanes.
The main shopping area is on Mutton Street, which is crammed with interesting and unusual second-hand shops. On Friday there is a street market, and many of the shops are closed. The rest of the week shops are generally open Sunday to Thursday, from 11:00 am – 7:30 pm. However, opening times can vary.
It’s worth noting that Chor Bazaar is located in a Muslim neighbourhood. Therefore, it’s advisable to dress conservatively when visiting, keeping your shoulders and legs covered.
Chor Bazaar is one of those places that pretty much sells everything, so it’s hard to pick out particular items of interest. Antique (and new) lamps and lighting are popular; Al Anwar Lamp Shop at 121, Mutton Street, has a wide selection. R World, also on Mutton Street, stocks brass items and old gramophones.
Bollywood posters and other film memorabilia are a favourite at Chor Bazaar. There are several poster shops, including Bollywood Bazaar, Mini Market and Poster Stuff.
Many of Chor Bazaar’s stores offer an eclectic selection of different items. For example, The Camera House on Mutton Street sells not only cameras, but also miniature vehicles and musical equipment.
Haggling on price is expected here, and sellers will quote an initial price much higher than they actually expect to sell for. Chor Bazaar has become quite a hotspot for tourists, and it can take some tough negotiating to get a good deal – so be prepared to bargain!