It may be the less glitzy cousin of the brand-heavy Brigade Road, but Commercial Street is easily the sworn shopaholics’ most preferred destination.
‘Com Street’ is easily Bangalore’s answer to New Delhi’s legendary Sarojininagar Market, offering everything from dupattas to doorknobs. And though it falls under the radius of the central business district, which includes Brigade Road and M.G. Road, it offers visitors the delightful option of bargaining.
Old timers remember the “quiet elegance” of the place some 40 years ago. “We did not have the bumper-to-bumper parking that we see today. While Brigade Road was for the young, brash shopper, Commercial Street was for the middle-aged,” says N. Krishnakumar.
The heady aroma wafting out of Bhagatram Sweets and lilting music from music shops may have been replaced by the whirr of traffic and the blasts of horns, but that is no deterrent to the loyalist who keeps going back, braving the notoriously potholed and often waterlogged street.
The branded comfortably coexists with the unbranded, with the latter dominating the platter. The same goes for food avenues, as mid-range restaurants offer the regular ‘north Indian, south Indian’ fare, while smaller chaat-cum-fast food joints draw true swarms.
An interesting aspect of this bustling area is the accidental, or perhaps intentional, organisation of shops. Take for instance the ‘chappal street’. Perpendicular to the main street, row upon row of shops specialise in footwear from the functional kholapuris and flip-flops, to peep-toes and stilettos in lush satin.
Similarly, ‘duppatta street’, again perpendicular to Commercial Street, promises to be a one-stop solution for all your duppatta needs: tie-dye, printed, plain, cotton, silk, synthetic… take your pick.
The unbelievably cheap ‘China bazaar’ offering inexpensive handbags that may not last you a lifetime but could give its posh, branded competitors a run for their money; street vendors selling imported fruits on the roadside, a stone’s throw away from sanitary fittings — it is all right here.
In fact, it is here that the real commerce happens.