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.

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.

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.

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

As dawn sets in, the streets and pavements of the area, which come under the jurisdiction of the South Zone of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), are packed with hawkers and vendors.

The area is called Jummerat Bazaar (Jummerat translates to Thursday), a place where crowds throng for their shopping needs once a week, while keeping alive a tradition that has continued for at least 80 years.

Thursday may seem like a routine day for many, but for some locals in Hyderabad, it is time to go shopping. Once a week, the stretch between the Muslim Jung Pul and Purana Pul in the old city of Hyderabad witnesses a complete makeover.=

Whether it’s an old TV set or an antique watch, there is nothing that one can’t find at Jummerat bazaar. That includes everything from tiny safety pins to crockery, clothes to shoes, furniture to steel utensils, blankets to old cycles. There are also electronic parts and accessories available.

Although the times have changed since the market’s inception, its popularity has remained intact. People travel from every nook and corner of the city to make their purchases. The vendors hail from different parts of Hyderabad and other states as well, as do some customers.

One such customer, who came to visit from Maharashtra, tells #KhabarLive, “I am a regular visitor of the Jummerat Bazaar as it is famous for items at a throwaway price. I bought many items for my home. Everything is handy here for everyone.”

Most of the items are second-hand and do not come with a warranty or guarantee, but that doesn’t deter customers.

Another buyer says, “I’m an electrician by profession. Electrical accessories, starters, a variety of switchboards, ceiling fans, wires and even parts of old TV sets are easily accessible here. I have never found any cheating and negligence on the part of the sellers here. This bazaar is manageable for me as the products are low cost.” he adds.

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Antique items are also accessible here. People who want to decorate their homes with antique pieces often lineup at the market on Thursdays. The market also attracts several coin collectors and history buffs looking for interesting finds.

So where do these items come from?

When contacted, the owner of a shop Anwar Hussain, who hails from Musheerabad, says, “These items have been taken from various marketplaces and collated here.”

Another vendor says, “We are selling the items after getting them from an auction held in different places, such as Mumbai and Surat. This place is special for me and I have been coming here for many years.”

One of the older women, who sells different accessories and utensils, remembers the olden days and tells #KhabarLive, “I hail from Mangalhat, which is close to the market. I sell steel utensils daily in different areas of the city to make a living, but every Thursday, I sell my products here. I have been doing so from a young age.”

“I was young when my grandmother used to come to this market to sell different items. I once accompanied her, and now I am more than 60 years old. Nothing has changed in all this time, except that the market has gotten slightly bigger,” another old woman says.

The market opens around 6 am and is open till dusk, as traders begin packing up by 6 pm. #KhabarLive