Hyderabad Lad Bazaar – A Quaint Marketplace
If you are visiting Hyderabad, you are sure to see the Charminar, Salarjung Museum, Hussain Sagar Lake and Golconda Fort. And what is Hyderabad without pearl? Of course, you will see them all, but, wait, there’s something you could be missing. A quaint little street located close to Charminar is definitely worth a visit. Lad Bazaar (street of love) is full of surprises. This quintessential bazaar was the main shopping area when Hyderabad was ruled by the Nizams. It is said that Ladli Begum, wife of Mir Mehboob Ali, the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad founded Lad Bazaar. Another version has it that it was called Lord’s Bazaar. And Lad Bazaar is an evolution of the same name.
One of the oldest streets in Hyderabad, Lad Bazaar is home to some of the best local traditions. Many people visiting the Charminar invariably wander into this bazaar. It occupies a small area, but is crammed with hundreds of shops where time seems to have come to a standstill. Then there are workshops and cafes – some as small as a hole in a wall – sandwiched between Charminar and Chowk Masjid. Considered unique by virtue of its location, charm and the kind of merchandise that is sold here, Lad Bazaar is truly one of Hyderabad’s most exclusive streets.
Today, Lad Bazaar has no remnants of its noble lineage. According to historical records, the Nizam’s concubines lived in the many symmetrical tiny apartments that still flank both sides of the narrow street. Many tales of illicit romance hide behind the wooden shutters. These apartments are now being used by shop keepers as workshops for manufacturing the famous Hyderabadi lac bangles.
A throbbing marketplace, Lad Bazaar buzzes with activity round the year. And, during the wedding season and also during festivals, especially during the month of Ramzan, the bazaar is crowded with shoppers looking for the best deals in traditional bangles, beads, clothes, antique furniture, perfumes, decorative metal craft, bridal trousseaus and other bric-a-bric. However, it is the lac bangles that have women milling through the labyrinthine lanes. Bangle sellers and wayside vendors call out to them with the promise of good bargains. New designs are introduced every day and some of the bangles come with fancy names. So there could be a Shabnam or Henna vying with a Nargis or Sultana to adorn your wrists! Lad Bazaar is truly a haven for those who want to buy fancy items at a bargain. But you won’t find any fashionable women or stylish men frequenting the shops.
In one place, there’s a cage of cawing common crows. No, they don’t end up in frying pans. Instead, they are bought by patients only to be set free again, in the belief that they will get cured of their illness. Interestingly, the street has a number of names such as Joda Bazaar, Chudi Bazaar, Judwa Bazaar, Meena Bazaar and Murga Bazaar, each owing allegiance to the section in which the items are sold.
Lad Bazaar may not be a major tourist spot like Charminar, but it is definitely worth a visit, more so for its antiquity and oriental charm.