Srinagar, June 03: Even as trendy showrooms and bakery outlets continue to attract shoppers in large numbers ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, the iconic and historic markets of the Downtown Srinagar are also abuzz with shopping activity.
Regular shoppers at these markets have lived up to the expectations of the traders who provide them discounts and offers on Eid shopping. Nazir Ahmad Shah, president of Shehar-e-Khaas Coordination Committee says there are shoppers who have been regular at MR Gunj, Bohri Kadal and Fateh Kadal markets for decades.
“Even though departmental stores have mushroomed across the city but these traditional markets continue to attract loyal shoppers. The rates here are also quite reasonable,” said Shah. Known for its specialty products such as spices and dry fruits, Maharaj Gunj, a major business hub for decades has retained the old world charm, say shoppers, as per KNO Correspondent.
The market established by Dogra rulers in mid-19th century has seen many family businesses being revived by younger generations. Farooq Ahmad, who runs his family business of dressing material says even though expansion of retail sector and mushrooming of new showrooms has somewhat impacted their business but their regular shoppers make it a point to visit them regularly.
“Especially on Eid these shoppers come to us and but clothes and accessories for themselves and their families. It has been a tradition of sorts for these families to make purchases from the Downtown markets such as Maharaj Gunj,” said Ahmad according to KNO Correspondent.
However, some businesses could not withstand the test of time and were closed down by their owners. “I think congestion of this area and failure of authorities to provide a facelift to Maharaj Gunj has deteriorated condition of this market. But despite the loopholes people continue to come here for shopping. I purchased some dress material for myself and my children from a shop where even my grandfather used to visit for shopping,” said Shakeel Ahmad a shopper.
Nonetheless, both traders and shoppers said authorities have failed to provide civic facilities to the historical markets especially ones such as Maharaj Gunj and Bohri Kadal. “There is so much more district administration can do to revive Shehar-e-Khaas markets. They must focus on sanitation, transport and traffic jams so that more people are attracted for shopping here. This will also help to increase shopping footfalls at our shops,” said Nazir Shah of the Downtown coordination committee.
But despite lack of facilities and frequent traffic jams ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, rush in markets across Kashmir especially city centre Srinagar and downtown started picking up Monday as shoppers in large numbers were seen making purchases even as they complained about overpricing of food items.