Over the years, Srinagar's Sunday market has evolved into a paradise for shopaholics, particularly for those who prefer budget shopping. It offers a plethora of choices and diverse options available at genuine and affordable prices, all conveniently located in one place.
Elegantly decorated stalls, colorful merchandise, and the availability of all kinds of shopping items have not only captivated the locals but also become a must-visit attraction for tourists exploring the beautiful city of Srinagar. Visitors can be seen indulging in shopping sprees along the vast stretch of the Sunday market, nestled in the heart of the city at Lal Chowk.
Every Sunday, thousands of shopkeepers set up their stalls along the roads, attracting massive crowds. The market caters to every need of an enthusiastic shopper, from branded clothing to furnishings, bedding, kitchen utensils, craft items, and more, all available in one continuous stretch from TRC Srinagar to Jahangir Chowk.
As the market meets all shopper requirements, it has developed into a prominent shopping hub, attracting people from all walks of life.
In recent times, the market has gained popularity among people from all parts of Kashmir, who flock to the market every Sunday to find their favorite goods.
Although established as a business hub, the market provides a source of livelihood for thousands of locals who sell their products here on Sundays.
Mohammad Aadil, the president of the Srinagar Sunday Market Union, explained, “Sunday market was started in the 90s. Initially, our clothing stock came only from Canada, the US, and Korea. A branded jacket that can cost ten to fifteen thousand bucks elsewhere is sold here for a few hundred rupees. Gradually, people became aware of the good product quality available at much lower prices. For individuals from lower-income families, it's advantageous to buy branded clothing at such affordable rates.”
While there were initial concerns about the product quality in the market, perceptions have gradually changed. Mohammad Aadil added, “The market isn't just for those with lower incomes; higher-income groups and tourists also shop here because the clothing available here is not found anywhere else in Kashmir or India, as it comes from abroad.”
The introduction of Kashmiri art and craft has further boosted the market's popularity, attracting non-local visitors. Mohammad Aadil emphasized, “Business finds ways to flourish. We gradually introduced Kashmiri art and craft, which has also drawn a considerable footfall.”
The primary objective behind establishing this market is to address the issue of unemployment to some extent. Currently, over 3000 local youths set up stalls and earn their livelihood from the Sunday market. The president of the union mentioned, “Our goal is to generate income from the market. Currently, over 6000 families derive their livelihood from the Sunday market.”
Those associated with the market revealed that people come from far-flung areas of the valley, such as Kupwara, Anantnag, and Baramulla, to enjoy shopping here. On Sundays, the entire city center comes alive as it buzzes with shopping sprees.
The market remains vibrant with the hustle and bustle of shopping enthusiasts. Large crowds can be seen flocking to the market to purchase their favourite items.
Margee Shah, a visitor from Ahmedabad, shared her experience, “I have been shopping here whenever I visit Kashmir. I love all the crafts sold here, especially the wooden items. The clothing is also excellent, especially the dress material with Kashmiri embroidery work.”
Abdul Gani, who has been selling garments at the market for the past seven years, noted that it has transformed into a business hub where people from all economic backgrounds shop at reasonable rates.
Each Sunday, the city centre dons a festive look, with people swarming in to shop at the Sunday market. Abdul Hamid, a local, commented, “You can find all kinds of goods, clothing, and homeware here in the market. Though there is second-hand stuff available, the stalls sell fresh and all goods at reasonable rates. Gone are the days when we would say that only the lower middle class or lower-class people shop from Sunday markets. You see the long queues of cars and vehicles, indicating that it's the market for everyone.”