Neither the swank malls nor the glittering markets have robbed it of its charm. It not only survives the onslaught of bricks-and-mortar stores but sees more footfalls week after week. That is Jumerat Bazaar for you. This open-to-sky weekly shanty provides an experience which even big shopping malls with their easy-to-access locations, pleasing ambience and clever marketing fail to offer.

The colours, sounds, smells and sights one gets here is totally earthy, something the anchor stores couldn’t match. Even those who love the convenience of online shopping don’t mind taking the trouble to visit Jumerat Bazaar which comes alive every Thursday.

You can shop here for anything and everything. And at prices which are jaw -dropping. All one requires are good bargaining skills. This is the primary reason why people come here as they can quote the lowest price without batting an eyelid. From screwdriver and spare parts to clothes, household appliances, TVs and even mobiles-everything is available here. Imagine a formal shirt for just Rs 60, a jeans for Rs 100, kids cycle for Rs 800, travel bags, antiques, music systems, hardware items-all at throwaway prices. You can’t get things anymore cheaper.

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Hyderabad’s flea market situated near Chudi Bazar in the Old City is a shopper’s Paradise. For off-the-shelf, rather off-the-kerb, shopping, there is nothing better than Jumerat Bazaar. It gets active at the crack of dawn on Thursdays and goes on upto 2 pm. Vendors arrange their merchandise in the open ground and as it gets filled, the goods spill onto both sides of the road right up to Muslimjung Pul. It is a win-win situation for both small-time vendors and customers with not-so-deep pockets.

“We pay just Rs 50 for occupying the space of a cot,” says Saleem who sells clothes here. The ground is auctioned by GHMC and the successful bidder collects rent from the traders. For small traders, who can’t afford permanent shops, this weekly market is a boon. If consumer behaviour is something to go by, people are comfortable shopping here. They don’t mind the din, dust and heat. People can be seen hanging out here for hours — haggling and exploring the bazaar.

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Suddenly, a soothing voice rises above the hustle-bustle — neem ka thanda surma. With a box containing small vials perched atop a cycle, Sanjay Kumar Gupta is selling the khol. He is a permanent fixture at Jumerat Bazzar. “Earlier, my father used to sell surma and now I have taken over,” he says offering a 10 gm vial of Lasani surma for Rs 10.

While shopping, one can also grab a quick bite here. There are piping hot samosas, jilebi, pani-puri and fruit juices to satiate your hunger. Sometime back government toyed with the idea of providing amenities like drinking water, toilets, off–street parking under the Inclusive Heritage- Based City Development programme. But, nobody knows what happened to the plan. The lack of basic facilities, however, have not deterred people from visiting this chaotic weekly bazaar.

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What is intriguing is that despite the growing mall shopping culture, Hyderabadis still prefer to make their purchases the traditional way. For many like Ramulamma, shopping at Jumerat Bazaar makes sense as bargaining prevails here. Moreover, the easy access, familiar ambience and price difference it offers makes the weekly shanty a big draw. But, the odds of going to Jumerat Bazaar for a particular thing and coming back with just that are pretty slim.

For some, shopping is the best medicine. And Thursdays are an ‘add to cart’ kinda day. #KhabarLive

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