Crawford Market at Mumbai

Sale! Discount! Unbeatable deals!  When it comes to unbeatable deals at wholesale prices, it’s gotta be the wholesale market itself! For the uninitiated, Mumbai’s biggest wholesale market is the Crawford market that draws eyeballs, pockets and mindboggling quantities for plenty of shopping.

I stood outside the Crawford market taking the scene in. Cars screech, Bikers honk, people get on and off buses in a cacophony.   A tourist bus screeches to a halt as sunburnt tourists stand in a file gaping at the chaos. People walk around with large sacks. Some like me frenetically click pictures in black and white, sepia and color standing at weird positions across the road trying to keep the chaos out and the market in!

Crawford Market – the main building

I entered the Crawford market expecting more madness. Instead of chaos I found and insane number of shops and goods selling their wares perfectly peacefully!

Aisle inside the Crawford Market building

Why you should visit Mumbai’s Crawford Market

  • Go there particularly if you are shopping for a party of any kind. Go beserk on buying Party decorations, Diwali decorations, Christmas decorations for a fraction of what you’ld pay in your neighborhood
  • You think your neighborhood mall has a lot of ‘imported’ and exotic foods? Check out Crawford market for the sheer variety of things you can buy – types of pastas, sauces, exotic dry fruits including pink cashewnuts and green cashewnuts, chocolates, cheeses, oils of all kinds and cookies from around the world.
  • For a long time, elite south bombayites visited this market for imported perfumes, toys, accessories, luxury soaps, detergents, gifts and cosmetics. It is interesting to still see Persil detergent boxes, the array of perfume shops and the beauty products.
  • Go there just for the heck of seeing how big a market can get!
  • Go there just to check out one of Mumbai’s popular landmarks
  • Go there to check out a piece of history
  • Go there to see another example of architecture after seeing the jhuggis and jhopdis in Mumbai.
  • If you think, the building is not enough market, venture outside into the maze of lanes and by lanes for an even bigger market. Tiny alleys with ramshackle buildings might have the most interesting of things you want to buy. We even came to a shop of magic tricks and one where they sold ammunition! (See pictures below)
  • Visit it to go to another piece of history – the Badshah Juice center which stands there since 1905. You cannot miss out on their famed ‘Falooda’, the rose/saffron flavored drink with vermicelli and jelly and ‘sabja seeds’ at the bottom and laced with icecream  and nuts at the top.oooo. yum!

Fast Facts

  • Crawford Market earlier named after the first Municipal Commissioner of the country, in the spirit of renaming all that sounds ‘British’ is now officially named as the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule market after the social reformer.  However, the powers that ordain these things have not been successful in getting anyone to call it anything but the Crawford market!
  • The Crawford market building was the first to be lit by electricity in India
  • The Crawford Market used to be the primary wholesale market for fruits and vegetables. However, in 1996, the fruits and vegetables market shifted to Navi Mumbai
  • A Grade 1 heritage structure, the Crawford market was designed by Lockwood Kipling, father of the famous novelist Rudyard Kipling.
  • This building is a blend of ‘Norman’ and ‘Flemish’ architectural signs designed beautifully to allow plenty of natural sunlight, air and shoppers!
  • Don’t miss the impressive frieze on the main entrance that delineates peasants in fields or the charming clock tower.
  • The Crawford market occupies a prime piece of land that is much eyed and sought after by builders, developers and politicians. Fortunately, citizen groups and some sane people in Mumbai have managed to keep these roving eyes away atleast for a while from here, while plans of renovating it are underway

At the Dryfruit store. Check out the pink cashews!

There are chocolates and there are paan chocolates

An Oil shop at Crawford

Blazing guns!

The famous Badshah Cold Drink restaurant

The Yummy Kesar Special Falooda (Yellow) and ‘Royal’ Falooda (Pink) from Badshah

The roadside Magician in an alley

 

How to get to Crawford Market

  • The market is located in South Mumbai near the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)  opposite the office of Commissioner of Police of Mumbai
  • Take a local train or Bus to CST) and cab it after that.
  • If you insist on taking your car, try and park far away and then cab it since parking can get expensive (Rs 80 per hour!) in peak hours.

Tips

  • Carry lots of cash, since paying by credit card might not be an option.
  • Carry cash for yourself not others. Be wary of pickpockets in the milling crowd
  • Buy in bulk for better deals
  • Haggle. Haggle. Haggle. Even if you think you are getting a good deal. It can get sweeter.
  • Try to go earlier in the day around 10 a.m. after they are done with the loading and get away before it gets chaotic in the evening

 Happy Seeing, Shopping and Saving!

Going back in time with a Sepia look for the main Crawford market building

P.S. – This post was published in DNA in its column ‘Around the Blog’.

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Categories: Mumbai | Tags: , , | 36 Comments

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36 thoughts on “Crawford Market at Mumbai

  1. A bright post on a delightful market! The last I set foot in that market was was 2008. Your description assures me it has carried ahead its verve and spirit. I loved the photographs: all of them. As usual, you are bang on with your tips

    • Thanks. It certainly does feel like an old part of Mumbai that has retained its essence and spirit like you rightly said. I do hope hungry developers and builders don’t get a chance to tear this beautiful landmark down!

  2. I had last gone there in the late 60s! It was awesome even then. London has these markets too. I can think of Covent Garden which looks a lot like Crawford Market. London aficionado Sudha will be able to throw more light on it 🙂

    • Wow. That is a long while ago! I guess, at that time fruits and vegetables were a major part of the market too. Since now that market has shifted to Navi Mumbai, it is clean, non-chaotic and much nicer!

    • Did I hear London being discussed here? 😛 Aap ne pukara aur hum chale aaye

      • Ma’m, you are the London expert! Zephyr aunty says you can draw an awesome parallel between the markets there and our very own Crawford!

  3. A great post Richa! Thank you for refreshing my memories when I used to courier boxes of Alphonso from Crawford Market to my boss in Delhi in early 90’s…

    • :). I believe my folks used to also buy the Alphonsos from there back then too! Now convenience of the neighborhood shops takes precedence over the price and the thrill of shopping there.

  4. I have to recover from the sight of the pink cashewnuts ! Richa, do you want to come for a self-guided tour through Crawford Market, Mumbaevi Temple and finally to Kalbadevi?

    • I ‘ld love to come and explore with you. Can we do it in the next month if you aren’t in a rush? This month is kinda busy.

  5. Gaurav Shah

    Indeed, crawford market is a nice place for host of things. My wife and I were there few months back and we bought many spices and related stuff for USA. Heard Badshah guys (falooda) lost its midas touch these days ( much like kailash chaat house) – was it good .?

    One of these days you should try the sardar pav bhaji if you haven’t already ( near tardeo bridge, mumbai central)

    • Yeah, its quite a wonderful spice market I should say. I haven’t really been to Badshah earlier, so I was very happy with the faloodas I tasted there this time! They had just the right amount of sugar, icecream, jelly, and everything in it! I have had the Sardar Pav bhaji, but then, that yummy buttery stuff is worth another blog in itself!

  6. I have been a frequent visitor to Mumbai but never had so much of information about Crawford Market. Thank you very much for a nice post.

    • I hope you get a chance to visit sometime! Thanks for visiting and commenting here. 🙂

    • ketan

      since you have good information about Crawford market…. I like to ask one question…..do they sale original cosmetic products? or just upper cover is real?

  7. jaishvats

    Good pics and description. Have not been to Bombay much

  8. Brilliant post, Richa! Crawford market was the first to be lit y electricity! Wow! That was very interesting to know. The next time I am there I will try out that Royal kesar Falooda, isn’t that divine!

    • Thanks Arti. A few facts here and there certainly manage to change the feel of a place! Enjoy your visit the next time!

  9. Tushar Salgia

    What a nice coverage of Crawford Market. Richa you rock!

  10. I absolutely love Badshah’s falooda – which reminds me that I haven’t been there for a long while now. The deals on dry fruit too are fantastic, aren’t they, Richa?

    • You should go soon to revisit the ambiance and to enjoy the falooda! I hadn’t gone with the intention of buying anything but the pink cashews tempted me to the store and I ended up buying a bagful of many dryfruits!

  11. Kamlesh

    Good Coverage, just an FYI, most of the stuff in CM comes from Musafir khana generally half the price, which is on the other side of the road.

    • Good to see you here! Looks like there is a wholesale market for a wholesale market that I was not aware of! Next time, I ll head over to Musafir khana for sweeter deals! Thanks for the info.

  12. Nisha

    A very detailed post on one of the oldest markets of Mumbai. 🙂

    Last I went there was in 2009. So, lots must have changed. Time to visit again.
    Sudha, if you plan it in October sometime then I can also come. If you go before that then I am going to pull you again. Choice is yours. 🙂

    And please don’t show those yummy faloodas, I am drooling here. 😛

  13. shweta

    It was so nice to read abt Crawford Market. I loved ur article Richa. Made me bit nostalgic though. I would love to read more your articles….keep discovering and writing. Keep the Spirit of Mumbai. Bon Courage!!!!

  14. Anonymous

    Hi …cud u pls suggest sum shops ovr thet wher I cn buy chocolate n bday decoration.items caps n sum return gifts…I hav my little girl’s 1st bday

  15. hellothere@gmail.com

    hey please tell me are cosmetics of crawford market genuine or only outer cover is original….

  16. Elina Henriksen

    Thank you for perhaps the most level headed thing I have read today. I need help with this too! I mostly use http://goo.gl/c6LDyy to edit my PDFs. I think it also allows you to to create fillable pdfs and esign them.

  17. luftmensch

    Hi Richa,
    A very insightful and gripping post!
    I am currently working on a college project and I have decided to work on Crawford market. That is how I landed up on this page. I was hoping if you could help me out a little by answering a few questions about the market. Thanks 🙂

    Keep writing 🙂 Love the blog

    – Elianna Mayer

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