Dubai: Blaring horns, shops jazzed up with loud, decorative lights and people haggling at shops is a common scene that greets one and all at Meena Bazaar in Bur Dubai.
The market is not easy to get to though, with the roads making many twists and turns. Getting a parking space in this busy bazaar area is like hitting the jackpot. Then the best way to get immersed in the cacophony of sound is to stroll around aimlessly.
One piece of advice to those who are going for the first time, be prepared to be swindled.
Meena Bazaar is located close to Khalid Bin Waleed Street in Bur Dubai.
The market bustles with hundreds of textile, jewellery (and imitation jewellery) and Indian clothing shops, as well as eateries and watch repair shops. If you are visiting for the first time, don't be surprised if you find yourself going round and round not being able to get to the main road.
But despite all the hassle one keeps coming back.
"The bazaar lives up to its name and it reminds me of a typical bazaar in Mumbai. I just love it here. No matter how much trouble I have to endure to get a parking space for my car, I still love this bazaar," said Hassa, a UAE national who does most of her textile shopping at the bazaar.
Gulf News caught up with one of the old time shop owners who has been trading at the bazaar for some 30 years.
Meena Bazaar was originally known as Cosmos Lane. How it came to be known as Meena Bazaar is an interesting story, told well by senior Indian businessman Ram Buxani, executive vice chairman of Cosmos.
According to him the area where the bazaar stands today was originally known as Cosmos Lane, but gradually residents began calling it Meena Bazaar because of the many decorated mannequins in shops.
"Ages ago the Mogul kings never allowed their wives to shop outside. Inside the Delhi fort there used to be a bazaar for royal wives where they could shop. This was known as the Meena Bazaar, because of the many decorated mannequins," said Buxani.
According to him taxi drivers still call the area Cosmos Lane though, because it was the first building there. He said in 1974 there was a Cosmos building that included a shop and office space.
It was located behind Dubai Museum. "During the early 1970s rent was going up and we had a piece land which we had bought in the mid-1950s because then it was not difficult to get land there. Our building was the tallest one. Other people who opened up shops in the area mainly had textile shops. The textile shops came mostly in the 1980s."
A resident in the area said what makes the bazaar different is its ability to bring the rich and the poor together.
"I can afford to live in a less congested residential area in Deira or Bur Dubai but I will never get the same energy and synergy that exists in this place called Meena Bazaar," said one resident.