Saturday, 10 January 2009

Crawford Market

[Crawford Market, Mumbai, May 2008.]

Markets are one of my favourite things to visit while travelling or at home. You can tell how much soul a city has by the character of its markets. 
I visited Crawford Market twice. The first time I was told that I had to have an official guide because I was a foreigner. Several small men pointed to the sign in English to confirm this. I walked out in frustration that day, but came back later in the week and to be honest my guide was excellent. He spoke very little English, but he made up for it with pointing calmly at details I wouldn't have noticed.

It was late afternoon when I arrived. I'd already walked aimlessly for at least three hours, and played a game of cricket on the pavement with some boys. They watched me roll a cigarette then came up to me with the entreaty "Match?" As it was nearly 40c, it wasn't long before my shirt was completely wet with sweat. In short, I was tired by the time I reached the market. 

[The main entrance. After Indian independence the market was renamed the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Market, which can made out on the arch in this photo.]

[The basket man (left) was reflected in the friezes on the archway. These were designed by Lockwood Kipling, Rudyard Kipling's father.]

[Mangoes were in season. 90% of the fruit stalls were selling them, and only them. The boy (left) is "sweeping" the straw with his feet.] 



[The poultry section of the market (left). As you can see, it was long closed for the day when I went through. A cat and a couple of crows (the latter can be seen in the photo) were the only customers.]