Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A walk through historical Qissa Khawani Bazaar of Peshawar

Sometime back, I wrote a post about Raja Bazaar of Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Now I take you to yet another famous bazaars of Pakistan: The Qissa Khawani Bazaar of Peshawar city of Khyber Pakhtun Khwa province of Pakistan. 

Qissa Khawani Bazaar is a historic market place dating back to many centuries. No one really knows how old this part of Peshawar city is, but according to accounts by the locals, it was once the junction point of trade caravans coming to India from the northern Asian countries, resting and drinking the famous green tea of Peshawar.
The name Qissa (stories) Khawani (narration / telling) or simply the bazaar of story tellers originates from the fact that the people would listen to the stories and news from the incoming traders about other countries and lands beyond the mountain barriers or even the local stories by the professional stories. 

As per Wikipedia, Indian film actor Dilip Kumar was born in Qissa Khawani Bazaar on or about 11 December 1922, while actor Shah Rukh Khan's family still lives in the area. It was the site of the Qissa Khwani Bazaar massacre in 1930, when a large crowd of unarmed local protesters was crushed and fired upon by British armoured cars and soldiers. Four hundred locals were murdered in cold blood.

People or the story listeners would gather around the story tellers and sip famous aromatic green tea or 'qahwa' as it is called in the local language, taking small sips and listening to the stories. I wonder if the story tellers are still around, but the green tea is still served from the traditional brass brewers even today.

A few days back I was in Peshawar and decided to walk through the this historical bazaar of Peshawar and I was amazed to see the variety of commodities available in the main bazaar and countless small alleys inside. The bazaar is full of shoppers and buyers to buy anything from small household items to even spare parts of used cars.
Remains of old wooded balconies can still be seen from behind the newly made buildings 
Bank of Australasia was once a thriving bank which had its brancehs in many cities. Now only the plaque remains.
Gossiping while waiting for the customers or perhaps telling a story!!
Mobile SIMs for sale
Besides the traditional qahwa or the green tea, the bazaar is hub of all types of traditional foods of Peshawar. Since it was almost the lunch time, beef tikkas were being fried and fresh naans collected from the nearby tandoor or the bakery as can be seen in picture above and two below.
Freshly baked naans for the lunch
The long and narrow alleys where business thrives throughout the day
Donkey driven carts are still in use to carry goods
Traditional colourfull dresses for the woen and girls
The old building have taken a modern look - the front is all new but at the back the old buildings still hold on

It is not difficult to find the Qissa Khawani Bazaar as it is very close to many land marks of Peshawar like the famous Bala Hisar Fort, Mahabat Khan`s Mosque, Qasim Khan Mosque, Chritali Bazaar, Chowk Yadgar, Khyber Bazaar and Cunningham Clock Tower. Next time you visit Peshawar, do not miss to include Qissa Khawani Bazaar from your site sighting list - for it is the actual Peshawar!!

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Hassan Khan said...


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