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However, Chaura Bazaar still remains the center of attraction for all. The reason being is obvious. If Ludhiana is the commercial capital of Punjab, Chaura Bazaar is the commercial capital of Ludhiana with daily business transactions running in hundreds of crores. Whether it is the local people or the visitors from outside, Chaura Bazaar remains everybody’s preference. Even the foreigners, who had come here to participate in seminars or other events, had learnt about it and they would ask for its location. There is a general impression that what is sold for Rs 100 at the Mall is available for Rs 50 in Chaura Bazaar.
Chaura Bazaar, believed to be over 100 years old, no longer stands by its definition. With encroachments on both the sides having narrowed it down to pass through it difficult during the daytime. And still people throng it. And on Sundays, when the shops are closed, there is a heavy rush for Sunday Bazaar here. It also remains the favourite haunt of the people from the countryside. There are some very old & famous business outlets like Lyal Book Depot and Khushi Ram’s Sweet Shop.
There is Pindi Street, one of the largest drug markets in Punjab. There is a saying in Ludhiana that if a thing is not available anywhere it can be had from Chaura Bazaar only.
The old Ludhiana city was confined to Chaura Bazaar, Daresi, Purana Bazaar and Ghas Mandi. Earlier people used to sell grass from Ghas Mandi. Today it may slightly look out of place, but the grass was an important commodity at that time since most of the transportation was done through horse driven carts and the horses were fed with grass only. Today Ludhiana’s growth is reflective of the enterprising spirit of its people; otherwise there was nothing special to Ludhiana. It was like any other town at the time of independence, with just about 70,000 people, over half of whom left for Pakistan.
Besides these there are two important markets Ludhiana is known for worldwide. There is the hosiery market in Purana Bazaar in the old city, where transactions are carried daily worth crores. Similarly there is a Cycle Market along Gill Road. This wholesale cycle market is an important business centre from where bicycles & cycle parts are supplied to different parts of the country and also abroad.
In fact the trading in Cycle Market and Hosiery Market has a direct impact on the overall business in Ludhiana as hundreds and thousands of people are involved with these two trades.
Although people have now started moving out to new markets like The Mall, Ghumar Mandi, College Road, Cemetery Road, Pakhowal Road, Model Town and Sarabha Nagar, but they have retained their original outlets in Chaura Bazaar. Chaura Bazaar offers part nostalgia and to any trader in business here. Its approaches have been clogged by heavy traffic.
This is also one of the reasons that most of the businessmen are setting up extension counters on the other side of the line along the Ferozepur Road. If Chaura Bazaar and surrounding localities represent the ancient glory of Ludhiana, Ferozepur Road reflects its modern pace.
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