The walled city of Lahore is not just about the buildings, architecture, monuments, and traditional lifestyles. It is also the biggest wholesale and retail marketplace in Asia. In the total area of 2.6 sq km, imagine how much diversity you have to see. The thirteen gates hold within themselves the world-class monuments and Asia’s biggest wholesale markets. Each gate has a market of its own kind and if you wish to roam around all the markets you cannot make it in a day. Another interesting feature of the markets of old Lahore is the network with which they are linked together. If you reach Kashmiri Bazaar it will take you to Kasera Bazaar from where you can go to Sarafa Bazar and then the Rang Mehal and finally the Shah Almi. It is an interesting maze and surely one can be easily lost if visiting these markets for the first time.
Azam Cloth Market
Azam Cloth Market exists inside Dehli Gate and is considered among the largest cloth whole sale markets of Asia. From here cloth is supplied to Afghanistan, Iran, India and China. Approximately 12000 shops are here.
The market is a collage of many small interlinked bazaars where the daylight doesn’t always seep in and the damp musty odor of history prevails. The Azam cloth market is the hub that has been handling wholesale distribution of cloth and ready-to-wear for the last six decades. From khaddar to silk, ready-to-wear to clothing fabrics, casual wear to bridal wear, the market has something for every apparel retailer. There was a small market near Wazir Khan Mosque in 1953 when a road had to be widened the market was shifted to its current location by General Azam who gave his own name to the market.
In mori Gate and Dehli Gate there are two whole sale fish markets. The market of Mori gate was established in 1969. There are 21 shops or carts. While the fish market of Dehli gate is some 25 years old and nearly 40 shops are here. Supply of fish is made to the renowned restaurants of city and also to other cities.
Akbari Mandi is the Whole Sale Market of Grains, Spices, Herbs and chemicals. It is claimed as one of the largest spice & grain markets in Asia. There are two traditions regarding the name of this market firstly, this market was named at the name of Mughal Emperor Akbar, The great. It is also said that this market is of Akbar’s period and so holds historical importance. Secondly, the market is working at large scale because of which the market called Akbari Mandi.
Pakistan Cloth Market
Pakistan cloth market exists inside Delhi gate near Azam Cloth Market and working parallel to the Azam Cloth Market but it deals in retail and so much famous for retail clothing among the citizens of Lahore and other cities. This market is quite new then Azam Cloth market and was established nearly 40 years before nearly 1500 shops are here.
Kasera bazaar is near Rang Mehal chowk. Kasera Bazaar was established nearly 135 years back. About 100 shops are present here. This bazaar is famous for household utensils and crockery. One can think of a kitchen item and it is there. From tableware to all types of cooking utensils, a huge variety of crockery can be found here. The items are mostly made of iron, steel, brass and copper.
Inside Kasera Bazaar there are antique crockery and decoration pieces as well. There is a huge variety of chandeliers, lamps, wall hangings and vases. These pieces are nowhere seen in other markets outside the Walled City of Lahore. The uniqueness of this bazaar is its antique utensils and decorative items. It also provides the items on wholesale. The place is also an attraction for the foreign tourists. Many souvenirs are exported from this bazaar.
The old traditional crockery polishers (kalayee wala) were once found here in every nook and corner of the bazaar. Unfortunately, as the copper and brass crockery got replaced by stainless steel, those people also vanished and at present only one polisher shop is seen in this bazaar. This shows how the culture has changed.
Waan Market also situated near Rang Mahal chowk and adjacent to Kasera Bazaar. This market exists since 120 years as before partition it was called WAAN WATTAN while now it’s named as Waan market. This market deals in Baan, Seba, plastic baan and all kind of stuff used in making traditional beds. Also traditional Peerhay, chokies and other stuff like chabian are also available here. Artisans can be seen here knitting up furniture with the Waan which is an interesting sight. To see artisans at work, Waan Market is the best example.
Moti bazaar is the name of shoe market of walled city. It’s a famous bazaar of walled city for whole sale shoe market. From here shoes are supplied to whole the country. Moreover shoes are exported to other countries also. The name of this bazaar is said to be famous since Mughal period. Nearly 1200 shops are here.
Its gold market and also called Sooha bazaar. It is an old gold market of Lahore city. Nearly 500 shops are here. Sarafa bazaar was established nearly in 1960’s. Before here were shops of cobblers and tailors.
Wacho wali bazaar
Wacho wali bazaar is situated near Rang Mahal chowk. This bazaar exists since 1952. It’s a silver market where silver jewelry is sold and purchased. It’s one of the largest markets of silver in Pakistan.
Langha Mandi Bazaar
Lahnga Mandi Bazaar is the market of musical instruments. This market situated alongside Shahi Mohalla , Taxali gate. Before partition most of the shops belonged to Hindu community. Approximately 100 shops are here.
This market was established by Government in 1950. It’s a whole sale market of bangles. Where different varieties of bangles new and old and in different materials can be found. Nearly 50 shops are here.
This market is located outside Shah Alam gate. This market exists here since 1970. There are 120 shops in this market. Moreover in surrounding area there are optical factories and warehouses.
Sheikhupurian bazaar exits in Taxali gate. It’s a Mughal period Bazaar and was named at the name of Shehzada Saleem whose nick name was Sheikhu. This market is renowned for leather Khussa’s and kola puri chappals. This market works in both manners whole sale and retail. Khussa’s and kola puri chappals are being export to other neighboring countries also and to other parts of our country. In this bazaar there are 120 shops.
Shisha Moti Bazaar
Shisha Moti Bazaar exists near Gumti bazaar, Rang Mehal. Since a long time it was the area of Milkmen’s and buffalos were kept here. In 1980’s Shisha moti market established here. In shisha Moti bazaar the material of shoes manufacturing (Regzine, artificial stones) is sold out. Nearly 40 shops are here.
Shah Alam Market
The market stands in the place of the Shah Alam Gate, named after Emperor Shah Alam (who died in Lahore in 1712), the third son of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The gate, like many other gates of the walled city, no longer exists. The entire area was burnt down during a fire at the time of partition (1947) and the subsequent riots. It was rebuilt and modernised after the fire but the gate was never restored. Shah Alam has been a thriving centre of commerce for over a century and it is still going strong day by day. Before partition Shahalmi was mostly a Hindu populated area with businesses owned by Hindus. During the 1947 partition most of the Hindus fled to India.
Accessories, cosmetics, electronic goods, handicrafts, antiques, stationery, crockery, genuine items and counterfeits, brand new, reconditioned or spare parts – anything one can think of is available there. There are nearly 10,000 shops in this market.
Gumti Bazaar is located next to Kinaari Bazaar inside Shah Alam Gate. This market is nearly 25 to 30 years old. This market also has embroidered cloths but only difference with Kinaari bazaar is, in Gumti bazaar cloths are cheaper in prices and also one can get a little bit defective pieces of wears at cheap prices here. A renowned Indian actor Om Parkash was the resident of this bazaar before partition.
Kinaari bazaar is situated near Rang Mehal chowk inside Shah Alam Gate. This Bazaar exists here more than 100 years. Before partition most of the shops here belonged to Hindu’s and Sikh’s but after partition they migrated to India. Presently here are 150 shops. Kinaari bazaar is famous for all kind of embroidered cloths for weddings and festivals. Embroidery cloths are supplied to all the large markets of the city and also to other cities.
Birds market is situated outside Bhati gate. This market is not so old. It was established nearly 20 years ago and there are 38 shops.
Gem Stone Market
This market exists between shah Alam gate and Lohari gate. Before partition there were some traders of gem stones but after partition they all migrated to India. The present gem stone market here was established some 30 years ago and there are almost 55 shops here.
Papper Mandi Bazar
Pappar Mandi Bazaar exists in between shah Alam gate and Lohari Gate. It’s a market of Herbs, Perfumes, Murabajaat and plastic bottles. Nearly 250 shops are here. It’s also said that this market existed here before partition.
Rim Market exists in Masti gate, opposite to the Akbari gate of Lahore Fort. This market was established here 35 years ago. This is the market of Car Rims. Nearly 50 to 60 shops are here.