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The iconic Radio Pakistan building near Urdu Bazaar

The iconic Radio Pakistan building near Urdu Bazaar

Urdu Bazaar Located near the iconic Radio Pakistan building and accessible via MA Jinnah Road, Urdu Bazaar began life as a cluster of bookstalls in the early 1950s. Over the decades it has morphed into the largest wholesale market for books in Karachi.Every kind of imaginable book is available at Urdu Bazaar

– Every kind of imaginable book is available at Urdu Bazaar

Books, glorious books… Every kind of imaginable book is available at Urdu Bazaar, and despite its name, English language books can be found in equal number. Ranging from school and college textbooks to Robert Galbraith’s latest bestseller, books, both old and new, can be found crammed into shelves, piled on floors, packed in cartons and stacked high on carts. And despite the lack of organisation, shopkeepers are still able to instantly pull out whatever is needed – much like the proverbial rabbit out of a hat.


Stickers and stationary

Of study aids and stationery… Urdu Bazaar is famous for study aids and apparatus such as calculators, lab coats, planimeters, skeletons, sketch boards, surgical instruments and T-squares, and like the books on offer, they are available at wholesale rates. Stationery, made in Pakistan and China, is readily available, be it erasers shaped like dolls or animals, fluorescent pencil sharpeners, colourful pencil boxes as well as other school essentials including bags, lunch boxes and water bottles.

More than just books… And if this were not enough, a growing number of shops now sell an assortment of goods other than school essentials – from hair clips and artificial jewellery to religious texts, prayer mats and colourful rosaries – which are especially popular during Ramazan and the run-up to Haj.

The real estate take… Commercial property options in Urdu Bazaar are primarily limited to standalone shops. Their value and rentals have increased by nearly 10 to 12% over the last three years and remain in high demand. A substantial number of shops in the nearby New Urdu Bazaar have been constructed recently, and their prices and rentals are five to 10% higher than Urdu Bazaar.

In a nutshell… Located in proximity to some of Karachi’s most popular markets such as Jamia Cloth Market and Kaghazi Bazaar (Paper Market), Urdu Bazaar is a must-visit venue for anyone living in Karachi, especially during the back to school season.

– Uzma Nawaz

First published in the Real Estate Section of the Dawn National Weekend Advertiser on August 17, 2014