Anyone who was born and bred in walled city of Lahore can never outgrow its charms even after years of moving out from there. This is so true for my parents who had spent their childhood and early youth there. They moved from walled city in early 80’s but to this date nearly all the shopping is done from walled city. Clothes and fabric from Azam market, lentils and other food items from Akbari mandi and last but not the least all the household products from Shah Alam market or as local call it Shalmi As a kid I used to accompany my mother and my aunts when they visited Shah Alam market on monthly basis and use to be fascinated on number of products that were available there.
As I belong to a very close knitted family, I use to accompany my cousin on her wedding shopping trips. These trips were made to nearly every market of Lahore from Rang Mahal to Liberty, from Azam Cloth Market to Ichra market. However the most memorable trip was my entire day trip to Shah Alam market.
Me and my cousin accompanied by my brother started our trip fairly early in the morning, nearly 10 o’clock. The night before we had made the list of things we had to buy and the route we would be taking as this market is a maze of hundreds of shops and dozens of plazas.
In the morning we took the route from Lower Mall to Data Darbar and then Shah Alam Market. We were lucky that it was winter morning and sunshine was warming us. However we were not that lucky in terms of traffic.
If you are visiting walled city markets it is important that you have bottles of water even if it’s winter to keep you hydrated, lots of energy and capability to carry weights and while walking number of snaky streets.
As we arrived at Shah Alam market, my brother dropped us at Meezan bank and left to drop the car at D Plaza. Meanwhile we started our shopping from buying traveling bags. We got a good bargain from the third shop that we visited. We paid the shopkeeper and asked him to keep it with him till we return. One of the best things about these old markets is that they really value their customer and try to give them comfort in every way possible. We then headed to the purse & bags shop and to my surprise, the purses were half the price of what we buy at branded stores and the quality was same as theirs. We then headed to the lace & button shops and here was the same surprise for me, the difference in prices was astonishing, however you need to buy in bulk to enjoy those prices. By this time my brother had joined us in the shopping spree. Loaded with laces and other stuff we headed to buy some cosmetics. I would not recommend buying makeup from there as one is never sure if the products offered there are genuine or not, however if you want to buy generic products like lotions, hand-wash, soaps and petroleum jelly then that’s fine.
By this time it was already noon and I was starving. So we headed to have some Pathoray and to be honest Shalmi has got best some pathora spots in Lahore. After filling our tummies, our caravan headed to lamps and gift shops where we got lamps, wall clock, some decoration pieces and bunch of other household stuff. We also went to jewelry market where there were many shops of artificial jewelry, there tones of lights were lit up and glittery shop could be seen there.
While roaming in the streets of this gigantic market, I saw a small shop having the biggest gulab jaman, I had ever seen accompanied by the beautiful pearl white rus malai. I could not resist myself to ate those gorgeous gulab jamans, ohh what a treat it was. Soft, moist and perfectly cooked gulab jaman were melting in mouth while satisfying my taste buds. I have no words to explain their incredible taste.
Our first shopping spree of the wedding season ended till the 7 pm as some shops were closing by that time. We loaded our little cultus with the stuff which would had been difficult to put in even a small pickup van. Tired and exhausted we headed to my place.
My advice to all the ladies going to walled city market is to wear shalwar kameez and a big dupatta. I may sound conservative here but Shah Alam market is male dominating market one needs to be careful to avoid any issue. It is always better to go with a male member as he can help you around in carrying stuff as car parking is usually very far from shopping plazas.