Souq al-Ghuwair: An Eid shopping destination for all
SUNITA MENON firstname.lastname@example.orgSharjah: Eid al-Fitr is around the corner, and people from all walks of life have already come calling to this market place, tucked away in the heart of Rolla in the emirate of Sharjah. Known as the Souq al-Ghuwair, the place has been a bargain hunter’s paradise for more than three decades.
From textile to electronics, from traditional herbal products to modern-day cosmetics, from fake to original watches and from sweets to spices, from kitchenware to toys – you name it and the place has it all. Its popularity is also well-versed among tourists, who make it a point to take a stroll in its narrow lanes and alleys and look for a good bargain.
The shop owners are a mixed bunch of nationalities – Iranians, Pakistanis, Indians, Sudanese and Egyptians, to name a few – who have been quite busy stocking up goods to cater to the Eid shoppers. Speaking to Khaleejtimes.com, the shopkeepers as well as customers were all praise for the market and spoke highly of the importance the place holds in the traditional scene of the area.
“Customers have already started pouring into this market. [Just ahead of] Eid, it’s going to be hectic for us. It’s the festive season and we are here to do business,” said Jamil Abdul Mohammad Khan, a Pakistani shopkeeper who is in the business of textiles. “I am the fourth generation in my family to man this shop. We sell textiles from India, Pakistan and Arab countries. Business is looking up these days.
We have regular customers who have been visiting out shop for years. They come here for good bargain. Everything has become costly now, so shoppers come to this market because they are sure to get a good bargain,” he said.
Overseeing the Eid decorations going up in front of his shop is Ishtaq Mohammad Rehman, who is also from Pakistan. He runs a spice shop and has been doing business in the market for over 20 years, and for him there is no other place to do business like the al-Ghuwair market.
According to him, the market still manages to charm the customers who come here. He said: “This market is unique and during the festive season, especially in Eid and Ramadan, the place oozes a rustic charm of a traditional bazaar. I stand outside my shop and in five minutes I see so many nationalities of customers passing by.”
Rakeshbhai, an Indian who sells kitchenware that is popular with the local community, shared the sentiments, noting that he had ample opportunity to take his business to other emirates but did not have the heart to move out of al-Ghuwair.
“Until few months back the business was not going well. I am 55 years old, and this shop that you see here was established by my late father. The Eid shoppers have already started trickling in and most of my customers are Arabs who like to buy the large aluminum pots and trays that I sell. Almost all of them come looking for a good bargain. This market is known for the bargains. I have a customer who drives all the way from Abu Dhabi,” said Rakeshbhai before turning to attend a customer who has been looking for large glass water jugs and trays.
“I come here all the time,” said Mumtaz Banu, a shopper who travelled all the way from the emirate of Ajman. “I love it here. The goods they sell here are durable and the bargains we get here is the best from anywhere in the UAE,” she added.
Rasha A. Ali, a Jordanian, has been a regular visitor to the market. According to her the variety of textiles that the market features are of good quality. She said: “This place has all sorts of people coming to shop. The rich and the not so rich. I am here to shop for clothes, and the varieties that one gets to buy here is not available anywhere in the emirate. Also the shopkeepers are quite kind and do not believe in draining our pockets. The place has so far lived up to my expectations,” she added.