No matter what our financial status is, we always love a deal when a few extra bucks are saved. Don’t we?
Maybe that is why the word ‘SALE’ is enough to attract humongous attention.
However, when it comes to slashes in prices and the satisfaction of cracking a deal to your heart’s content, nothing can come close to Bagri (Bagree) market- the king of sale
Here, the din and bustle is a never ending saga with an infinite stream of visitors moving from one shop to the other in a ceaseless labyrinth.
Bagri (Bagree) market is a wholesale market that renders a variety of goods at discounted rates, throughout the year. The crammed alleyways and clustered by-lanes that are packed with shops in every nook and corner, witness an unending buzz of activity all year round.
Although this market is far from the typical mall-like scenes of fashionable clothes and accessories on display, if you happen to visit this place, you will be lost in the ocean of people while having to swim your way to the nearest store that caters to your wants.
This 150year old market, is a typical bazaar with busy, noisy streets and innumerable people bargaining, selling, buying, while being pushed around by fellow shoppers for want of space.
Here, vehicles and people are on a constant move and you can hardly stand straight, but therein lies the charm of Bagri (Bagree) market.
Why should you go there?
For the concession of course!
If you are starting off a new venture in the form of a shop, office, event, household purchases, medicinal needs, gold items, party decorations, plastic items, gifts, toys, etc. You can save on your expenditure if ‘bulk purchase’ is the order of the day.
What is special about this place?
Every market has its own charm and speciality but Bagri market surpasses all levels of SWAG. Where else in Kolkata would you find stand-alone shops for cellotapes, rubber bands, bag accessories, etc?
Since you will be so tired after that exhausting shopping spree, and your delicate hands will succumb to the pressure of your laden purchases, you need not worry about carrying your tons of items because Bagri market has a solution to that too!
Here, you can hire your very own porter, also called ‘Mutia’ for a minimal price of Rs.150 (depending on the distance). These people earn approximately Rs.500-600 in a day.
Decoding the market
Bagri market is a straight road in Colootola Street that is studded with plenty of small shops.
Here, there are certain lanes that cater to specific items only, for example – decoration items (also known as balloon gully), where you literally walk under a sky of balloons, where your need for party decorations are fulfilled. It is your one-stop destination for party-planning.
Jokers and magicians can also be hired from here.
Streamers, fancy balloons, party hats, Colourful plastics to give away along with return gifts, thermocol decorations, cartoon cut-outs, sachets, banners, tiaras, etc you name it hey have it.
They can actually vouch for “isse sasta kahi nahi”. They charge Rs.180 for a dozen of cartoon cut outs, in which you get mixed Disney characters. Essentially, they do not sell single pieces but if you insist they might.
Other lanes specifically cater to spectacles and sunglasses. From the most outdated spectacles to the most recent in fad, every need of spectacles and sunglasses is catered to in this lane. You need not look any further.
Yet another lane caters to suit cases and travel bags, school bags, handbags, etc.
Here, you can get branded suitcases, at a discounted rate. And mind you, they are all original pieces.
Adding to this, you will also find masons, plumbers, and painters sitting on the road with their tool bags that clearly shout out their sign of trade.
These are shops that are exclusively only for one or two items that you would otherwise get as a stand-by item in any other stationery shop. Here, you would get an entire stall/shop selling only those items.
An entire segment of the market houses shops catering to the sale of bag accessories.
Now you know where your bag’s raw materials come from!
From bag fittings such as embellishments, spare parts, trolleys for suitcases and bags, handle, wheels, cloth materials, rubber fittings, buttons, soft materials, linen, to the vibrant colourful cloth materials that are also used to make shoes and seat covers (because of their fancy look) everything is available here. Pay a close look at your hand bag or your travel bag and you are sure to find each of those spare parts here, in Bagri market. The cloth for the bag can be purchased at Rs.140 a metre. Not bad eh!
Md. Arkam, a bag accessory shop owner, said “We have been into this business since 12yrs now. My shop is exclusively for ladies bag materials, fittings, adjuster, chains, runner, slider, dock hook, zipper, handle chains, linin, threads, bag logo etc”
Aamir Hussain, whose family is into the business since 30yrs, sells all the raw materials which are used in the production of ladies handbags as well as travelling bags like the cloth, thread, puller, zipper, beet used for support to the bag, feetha used to attach the buckle and zipper, etc.
Don’t be surprised if you see a logo fitting of M.K, Jimmy Choo and the likes here.
Broaches & buckles
There are a few shops that sell only broaches and buckles of various kinds ranging from simple ones to fancy, intricately designed ones, these items are attached to the belt, bags or clothes, depending on what suits your need. These items are sure to take the glamour quotient several notches higher.
How often do we purchase rubber bands? Most of us get it free with food parcels. Don’t we? But now we know where the shopkeepers get them from. Here, wholesale shops selling colourful rubber bands of all sizes in packets of varying heights, are available on the roadside.
An array of colourful fibres of various kinds, used for stitching clothes, bags, etc are available here, along with some ribbons to beautify your attire or accessory.
Plastic and cloth bags
Perfumed liquids, also known as attar are sold in a shop that is essentially only for food essence and attar.
Plastic wires known as ‘patti’ that are used in packaging of any cargo or cartoon packaging which needs to be tied up. This shop provides all kinds of patti from small to big ones along with some other accessories.
Various kinds of cellotapes for various purposes are available in these stand-alone shops. Fancy ones for gift wraps, dull ones for packaging, colourful, brown, transparent, design, glossy, trendy, you name your purpose, you get a cellotape to suit the occasion.
This is made from Yak’s tail, also known as chamara or better known as fly-whisk. In India, it is used in gurudwaras and temples to swat away flies. German silver handles are inserted into these tails that act as a support to hold while using for puja purposes. There are lines of shops in Bagri market that sell only chamaras.
These are not your regular plastic bags. These shops only sell packaging plastics that are ideally used to pack any new clothing items and the like.
Confetti, Naphthalene balls and Bindi
These too have separate shops that sell them individually.
- Cosmetics (including brands like Avon, Amway, Oriflame)
- Medicines (18-20% discount)
- Kitchen appliances (25% off approx.)
- Paan masala
- Party elements, etc are available at a decent discounted rate
Word of caution
Parking for your vehicle is a major problem here.
The best way is to take the nearest metro and walk your way through the hullabaloo.
Pictures: Rumaan Rashid