If you like visiting crowded markets and subzi mandis as much as I do, you should definitely go to the Crawford Market in Mumbai. It is officially known as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market and is located opposite the Mumbai Police headquarters, near the JJ School of Art. It’s an indoor market and the building that houses it was completed in 1869. It was designed by a British architect, William Emerson. But, the frieze on the exterior was designed by Rudyard Kipling’s father, Lockwood Kipling. According to Wikipedia, this building was the first in India to be lit up by electricity in 1882. I went there on a rainy day and so, couldn’t manage to click a picture of the façade.
On my way there, I came across these fresh dates! Aren’t the colors just amazing? I had never seen fresh dates before this and was suitably excited. 🙂
Inside, the market is nothing short of a very complicated maze. There are lanes and lanes full of shops, overflowing with stuff. There’s hardly any natural light, so the place is lit up with bright tube-lights.
There are several vegetable and fruit vendors, meat and poultry stalls, utensil shops, specialty dry fruit stores etc. etc. Basically, you can find almost every kind of food and grocery item there.
All the shop keepers were very excited about me clicking their pictures. They thought I was a student from the neighboring JJ School and was working on some sort of art project..ha ha!
I didn’t buy much, other than a stainless steel idli mould. And it was so much cheaper than elsewhere! I was hoping to find an uruli as well, but no such luck.
On my way out, I couldn’t help but click another picture of the fresh dates, along with some pomegranates this time! Also notice the litchis on the top-left corner. Indian summer fruits are so yummy!
I had also heard about mirchi gali (chilli lane) being in the neighborhood, so armed with my map, I decided to look for it. Even though it was raining cats and dogs, the prospect of seeing a 100-yr old narrow alley full of shops selling all kinds of chillies was motivation enough! I did manage to find it, but sadly, there aren’t too many of those shops left anymore! May be it was the rain, but mirchi gali didn’t turn out to be as exciting as I had imagined it to be.
But before I left, I bought a very cool canvas shopping bag from one of the street vendors outside mirchi gali for Rs. 40. How cheap is that!!!