Bohri bazaar: Stepping back in time

Published January 30, 2011
Some of the shop-owners have been working in the market for decades. Take for instance, Abdul Rehman who is a luggage expert working in the bazaar for about 40 years now. From the damaged locks to broken handles of luggage, Abdul Rehman provides a one-stop shop for all problems related to luggage.
Some of the shop-owners have been working in the market for decades. Take for instance, Abdul Rehman who is a luggage expert working in the bazaar for about 40 years now. From the damaged locks to broken handles of luggage, Abdul Rehman provides a one-stop shop for all problems related to luggage.
Bohri bazaar is also very famous for party favours and decorations. Here you can find an array of artificial flowers, mehndi decorations and balloons.
Bohri bazaar is also very famous for party favours and decorations. Here you can find an array of artificial flowers, mehndi decorations and balloons.
Looking for artificial flowers to decorate your home or to use as a prop in your next school play? Look no further, Bohri bazaar has it all ? mostly imported from China, of course. According to shop owners, rose and lily flowers are among the all time top-sellers.
Looking for artificial flowers to decorate your home or to use as a prop in your next school play? Look no further, Bohri bazaar has it all ? mostly imported from China, of course. According to shop owners, rose and lily flowers are among the all time top-sellers.
High quality Ajraks are also sold at various shops. Many designs of Ajrak from Hala and Hyderabad are on display. In the past, Ajrak was only printed in few basic colours.
High quality Ajraks are also sold at various shops. Many designs of Ajrak from Hala and Hyderabad are on display. In the past, Ajrak was only printed in few basic colours.
Along with other shops, you will also find those related to beauty such as shops selling toupees, wigs and artificial hair. Wigs made out of original hair are available for men, while artificial wigs for women are imported from Korea, China and India. The most expensive are the ones from Korea.
Along with other shops, you will also find those related to beauty such as shops selling toupees, wigs and artificial hair. Wigs made out of original hair are available for men, while artificial wigs for women are imported from Korea, China and India. The most expensive are the ones from Korea.
Walking through Bohri Bazaar early in the day is like being transported back into time, witnessing a community-like feel among the shop keepers. Many of them have known each others family through generations.
Walking through Bohri Bazaar early in the day is like being transported back into time, witnessing a community-like feel among the shop keepers. Many of them have known each others family through generations.
Bohri Bazaar is also a home to one of the oldest Nimko shops in Karachi, which is still very popular in Karachi.
Bohri Bazaar is also a home to one of the oldest Nimko shops in Karachi, which is still very popular in Karachi.
Watching a tea vendor deliver chai to all shop keepers in the bazaar can make anyone dizzy, except for the person himself. Almost an art in itself, the chai wallah expertly weaves in and out of the bustling streets, handing out teacups that are slightly bigger than a shot glass.
Watching a tea vendor deliver chai to all shop keepers in the bazaar can make anyone dizzy, except for the person himself. Almost an art in itself, the chai wallah expertly weaves in and out of the bustling streets, handing out teacups that are slightly bigger than a shot glass.
Here you can find items ranging from kitchen utensils, clothes, shoes and decoration items to silver and gold jewelry, and stationary.
Here you can find items ranging from kitchen utensils, clothes, shoes and decoration items to silver and gold jewelry, and stationary.
One of the most popular items sold by the street hawkers is sunglasses. According to a couple of them, the trend in sunglasses these days are ones that are big and bold. However, it is mostly the men and children who buy sunglasses from the hawkers.
One of the most popular items sold by the street hawkers is sunglasses. According to a couple of them, the trend in sunglasses these days are ones that are big and bold. However, it is mostly the men and children who buy sunglasses from the hawkers.
Just like the other parts of Karachi, shoe shops selling saleem shahi, chappal and sandals are very common. One shop that sells naagra shoes was established in 1949. Saleem shahi and naagra shoes or sandals originated in Jaipur, India but become equally popular in Pakistan over time.
Just like the other parts of Karachi, shoe shops selling saleem shahi, chappal and sandals are very common. One shop that sells naagra shoes was established in 1949. Saleem shahi and naagra shoes or sandals originated in Jaipur, India but become equally popular in Pakistan over time.
Other than kulfi from Chaudry Farzand Ali, the bazaar is famous for its numerous chaat houses and ice-cream shops selling faluda.
Other than kulfi from Chaudry Farzand Ali, the bazaar is famous for its numerous chaat houses and ice-cream shops selling faluda.
Snack on a samosa from Nimko while you shop, followed by spicy chaat and end it with a delicious faluda. A trip to Bohri bazaar would be incomplete without this.
Snack on a samosa from Nimko while you shop, followed by spicy chaat and end it with a delicious faluda. A trip to Bohri bazaar would be incomplete without this.
Historically, the bazaar was also once a busy station for trams; those going towards Cantt Station from Tower would stop here.
Historically, the bazaar was also once a busy station for trams; those going towards Cantt Station from Tower would stop here.
As night approaches, the small streets inside the bazaar are surprisingly well-lit, mostly due to the bright lights set up inside and outside the shops by the owners. Shops remain open well after sunset, sometimes even busier than it is during the day.
As night approaches, the small streets inside the bazaar are surprisingly well-lit, mostly due to the bright lights set up inside and outside the shops by the owners. Shops remain open well after sunset, sometimes even busier than it is during the day.

Bohri bazaar is the one of the oldest marketplaces of Karachi, located in the heart of the city. It was established before independence, which makes some of these shops more than a 100 years old.

The bazaar has witnessed two horrific disasters, one of which was in 1958 when a huge fire broke out in a fireworks shop. The building, which was mainly made of wood, and another one nearby were burnt beyond recognition. The second incident took place in the 1980s when two bomb blast claimed dozens of innocent lives. The Bohri community also played an important role in reconstructing the market. (Photos by Eefa Khalid/ Hussain Afzal and Text by Suhail Yusuf)

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