Eid is around the corner and the Dhaka city is buzzing with shoppers preparing for the festival.
Not even the glaring sun on a Ramadan day or the intermittent storms that hit the city, keep the crowds away from the city shopping centres.
The suburbs too are teeming with Eid shoppers. At night the malls take on a festive look with twinkling lights beckoning one and all to join in the celebrations.
Here is a shoppers’ guide to help you decide where to go and what to buy.
Shoppers love Baily Road
Baily Road in Shantinagar is a hub for shopaholics. There are quite a number of shopping malls and stores in the area. Almost all local brands and fashion houses have outlets in this belt.
The leading desi fashion houses like Anjan’s, Deshi Dosh, Rong, Sada Kalo Kay-Kraft and many more are all here.
Yellow, one of the most visited clothing brands in Bangladesh, have two outlets in Baily road- one in Navana Baily Star shopping complex and another on the high street.
Another popular clothing brand Le Reve has its outlet in Capital Siraj Tower.
The biggest advantage for shopping on Baily Road the large number of sari shops. Actually, Baily Road is the complete answer to family shopping. Prominent shoe brands like Bata, Apex, Bay and many others are also here.
There are a number of costume jewellery stores at Baily Fiesta, Navana Baily Star, Capital Siraj Tower and Twin Tower in the junction of Baily road and Shantinagar.
One can even find bangle-vendors who sell glass bangles on the street.
There are hundreds of options for men too. Infinity megamall has retailer outlets of almost all brands of male clothing such as Richman, UCB and much more. Almost all outlets of local fashion houses have men’s and kids’ apparel collections as well. Tired of shopping for too long? One can have quick break and grab a snack at Shawarma Street, Baily Shawarma House, Mama Kabab and many other restaurants. This street has the tastiest iftar delicacies too.
New Market never gets old
New market area is considered a shoppers’ paradise. It offers a wide variety of goods, from clothing to crockery, food to footwear and more. The perennial traffic congestion in the area throughout the month of Ramadan is an indication of the market’s huge popularity among shoppers.
New Market, Gausia Market, Chadni Chawk, Badruduzza Super Market, Nurjahan Market, Chandrima Super Market and Eastern Mallika Shopping Complex are the main attractions of the area.
New Market, with more than 500 shops, offers the shoppers a wide array of shopping options. It has saris, inexpensive trinkets, all sorts of item at all sorts of prices. The saris and jewellery can be found on the ground floor. Menswear is mainly located on the first and second floor of the market.
Chadni Chawk and Gausia Market are famous for unstitched three-piece kameez suits for girls. The markets are already seeing a huge rush of Eid shoppers.
Shop owners of Gausia market said this year unstitched three-piece outfits with brand names like Vinay, Eliza, Muntaha and Hansa have been attracting customers.
Nurjahan Market, opposite to Dhaka College, is mainly famous for the men’s outfits. The market has a varied collection of export quality shirts, pants, polo T-shirts for the young male shoppers.
Eastern Mallika shopping complex specialises in women’s items. Jewellery and cosmetics are found on the ground floor, while saris, three-pieces and shoes are on first, second and third floor. Several tailoring shops are located on the third floor too. The tailors said they are working round the clock to meet the Eid demand.
There are lot shopping options around Elephant Road, not far from New Market. Fashion brands like Cat’s Eye, Monsoon Rain, Gentle Park, Plus Point and Menz Klub are located in the area. Outlets of Aarong, Grameen UNIQLO and punjabi brand Longla are located at the Science Lab intersection. A mega Top Ten Mart is located in Katabon.
There are plenty of shoe shops in the area including famous brands like Bata and Apex.
Shopping in the Tristate
The Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara areas of Dhaka city are often referred to, perhaps sardonically, as the Tristate. And selective shoppers from all over Dhaka flock to the area, particularly during the Eid season, to visit the big and beautiful malls, shopping centres and fashion outlets.
There is Pink City, known as a fashion hub particularly among women. It is one of the upscale shopping malls of the city, catering to the wealthier sections of society. It is replete with glamorous saris, shalwar kameez sets -- both stitched and unstitched, tailors, shoe stores, gold jewellers, costume jewellery, menswear, cosmetics and perfumes, bags and other accessories, anything a fashionista may desire.
Shelai, on the market’s top floor, is buzzing with women, all clamouring for the latest kameez designs, stylish kurtis and more. Prices are exorbitant, but the shoppers pay no heed. They are not even prone to the traditional bargaining, too anxious if someone else gets the exact suit that they want! “I know prices are steep here,” says Masuda, shopping for herself and her daughters. “But I also know I will get the best in quality and latest in style.” Almost all the outfits here are Pakistani.
Gold jewellery shops are crowded too at Pink City. Tanishq is a popular gold store and women sit there, looking through the latest kundan sets, diamond bracelets and other ‘essentials’ for Eid. Gold Gallery is another popular jewellery store there, among an entire floor almost dedicated to jewellers.
Accessory stores selling costume jewelry, bags and other baubles are the most popular. Girls are buying rings with huge fake stones, bags with fake brand logos, earrings and more.
There are men’s brands at Pink City too, Raymond’s has an outlet there. Its suits and other items of men’s clothing as costly, but have a guarantee of quality too. Smart and sharp suits are quite in demand for the millennium male.
Yellow caters to young men and women and its slim-fit punjabis are quite the rage among the young fashion conscious guys.
Yellow recently opened its flagship store on Gulshan Avenue. It is an architectural delight, with its slanting glass exterior setting it apart from any other store. It is drawing in the crowds this Eid, particularly of the younger generation.
Police Plaza in Gulshan 1, also catering to the wealthier wallets, has seen a mercurial rise in popularity over a very short span of time. From clothes to cosmetics, bags to shoes, watches to shades, you name it, they’ve got it.
Vogue is one of the most popular stores in Police Plaza. It has both men’s and women’s fashion wear, ranging from polo shirts to shoes, unstitched kameezes to clutches and scarves. The shop has cleverly used the social media as a marketing strategy and has a large following on Facebook. This draws in a regular band of loyal customers who like what they see on Facebook and come in to buy what they want. Prices are relatively reasonable.
The perfumes and cosmetic shop on the ground floor, Le Reina, is known to sell the genuine brands, unlike the fake brands in many popular shops elsewhere.
There are several children’s clothing shops on the ground floor of the market too.
Jamuna Future Park
Jamuna Future Park, the massive mall in Basundhara, is another shoppers' delight, with all the popular brands having their outlets there. It is enormous in size and perhaps this dwarfs the size of the crowds. It beautiful shops with the latest designs and décor are not all that crowded as one would expect. But as Eid nears, the crowds do increase. Perhaps the sheer size of the mall is intimidating, people preferring to go to the Cineplex there more than wandering around the maze of shops.
Then in Banani there is the not-so-glamorous but oh-so-popular Banani super market which is overflowing with customers, 99 per cent women. The men who go there mostly go to the ground floor stationery and mobile phone stores. The first floor is more or less dedicated to fabric and clothing stores and tailoring shops. During Ramadan, there is hardly room to move around this market. It also has gold jewellery, accessories and a limited number of menswear shops.
All these malls and markets have fun eateries, which perhaps are not as busy during Ramadan as other times of the year, but are popular nevertheless. Jamuna mall has a full-fledged food court on its top floor as does Police Plaza. Pink City is well-known for its spicy chotpoti and fuchka. And Banani market has the popular Candyfloss outlet which doesn’t sell candy floss, but delicious sandwiches, burgers, milkshakes and such.
Other popular shopping spots in the area are Rupayan Centre which has Dressy Dale, Priyo, Celebrations and other popular outlets as well as several men’s fashion stores, Molly shopping centre which houses Bata shoe shop, Nabila’s, the old traditional Khan Brothers sari store, New Jarwa House for the classiest jewellery in town and more, Jabbar Tower which also has Khan Brothers, Tant Ghar sari house, Shinepukur Ceramics, the popular accessory shop Celebrations and so on. The crowds thronging to these market places during Ramadan indicate both the festivity of the coming Eid as well as the inevitable commercialisation of festivals which has become an inescapable global reality.
There are some shoppers who do not love to run from one place to another and want to avoid traditional haggling to get all the things they need for a perfect Eid.
For those ‘lazy’ shoppers, Bashundhara City in the capital's Panthapath can act as a one-stop platform. From jewellery to footwear, what is not sold here?
And Eid shoppers crowd into the mall much before the fasting month of Ramadan. "Sometimes, the crowd is too severe that we can't even stand comfortably," said Sajal Islam, a salesman of Aarong.
A pedestrian outside the shopping centre said that they face traffic congestion during the month of Ramadan near the shopping centre as people in huge numbers come here to shop.
Shopaholics love to shop from Bashundhara City as it showcases an assortment of clothes, eyewear, accessories, home-ware and a miscellaneous collection of objects all under the same roof, said Iqbal Ahmed who came to Yellow for purchasing his Eid punjabi.
Salwar suits for women mostly come from India and this year's top suit is Padmavati (named after an Indian film), said Jamilur Rahman, who has a store in Bashundhara City.
This mall has become very popular as it houses almost all top brands, said Shamim Ashraf.
The brands at Bashundhara City include Yellow, Ecstasy, Freeland, Artisti, Men'z Club, Westecs, Smartex, Gentle Park, Infinity, Bata, Apex, Deshi Dosh, Mustafa Mart, Time Zone, and so on.
Markets in Mirpur
There are a number of outlets of brand clothing for men and women in the Mirpur area. At the Section-1 roundabout, there are outlets of Milan, Grameen Check, Grameen Mela, Pollir Mela, Rong Joie, Chandrabindu, Le Reve, Smartex, Colors, Amber Lifestyle, Dorjibari and Sailor Lifestyle.
One can buy clothing and have a snack at Bull’s Eye Fashion and Coffee House and at a big outlet of Aarong in Mirpur Section-1. Aarong opened another branch at Section-12 this month.
There are a number of not-so-well-known but good fashion houses in Section-6, 11 ½ and 12 of Mirpur like Ruposheebd, Daffodil Fashion, Tasmiah Fashion House, Tasmiah Fashion House, Fashion Star Boutiques, Aboron Fashion Studio, Amrin-Mahi Fashion House. Popular Kids and Moms has a branch at Rokeya Sarani in Section-11.
Popular fashion houses Ecstasy and Artisan have branches at Section-10 and Section-11. The popular stylish men’s store Cat’s Eye has an outlet in Section-10t.
And, don’t forget about the Benarasi Palli at Section-10, famous for its saris.
Recently, Saaj and a few other fashion houses opened their outlets at Mirpur Super Market in Section-1.
Then there are the wholesale and retail clothing markets in Section-1 and 11. Prices are reasonable here, but are not fixed. So driving a good bargain is key to a fair deal. Nannu Market in Section-11 is one such place and is popular too.
Muktijoddha Market at Section-1 is for all types of shopping. Everything from clothing to utensils is available here.
All the well-known shoe shops including Bay Emporium and Apex have opened outlets in Mirpur area.
Archies Gallery, Hallmark Gift Shop, Mapleart Bd, Mudron.com and a few other gift shops have opened their branches in Mirpur so people can buy something to say Eid Mubarak to their dear ones in a special way.
Shopping in the suburbs
There are two types of shoppers in the suburbs around capital Dhaka. Some want to travel to the city shopping zones while others prefer to stay in their own localities for Eid shopping.
Saki Farhana, a housewife of Sanarpar area, told Prothom Alo, "We live in such an area which falls neither under Dhaka city nor Narayanganj. So we have to travel either to Narayanganj or Dhaka to go shopping.''
But, she does visit to her local shopping centres to buy particular things.
''We buy Eid outfits from Dhaka or Narayanganj city. But, there are some shopping centres in our neighbourhood from where we do our last-minute Eid shopping like mehendi (henna), beauty products and such," she said.
People of Sanarpar, Chittagong Road, Signboard, Rayerbag, Shonir Akhra and Dania, crowd the local shopping centres including Ayesha-Mosharraf Shopping Complex, Tejarat Super Market, and RS Tower -- all located in Shonir Akhra.
Ahmed Rumman, a master's student of National University who lives in Rayerbagh, said, "People of the working class prefer these shopping centres as they offer Eid clothes at cheaper prices. People who love to walk around and who hate crowded shopping centres, also come to these places.''
Jurain is a popular place for suburban shoppers living in and around Bashundhara Riverview project areas. Alam Super Market is the oldest shopping centre here, said Sohel Mamun.
"Besides this centre, Bikrampur Plaza and Rejia Alam Shopping Complex are also doing well in the area," he added.
Abu Saleh, a student of Dhaka University's Faculty of Business Studies, lives in Demra. He told Prothom Alo, "We don't have quality shopping centres in our neighbourhood."
"Hossain Plaza, located in Staff Quarter, and Matuail New Market are two places where people of Demra normally shop for Eid in the area," he added.
According to Prothom Alo Keraniganj correspondent, Eid shopping has been going on in full swing in Keraniganj as this place is a hub for wholesale traders.
Around 12,000 shops or factories are located in South Keraniganj's Aganagar, Nagarmahal, Ispahani, Charkaliganj, Khejurbag, and Chunkutia.
Abdul Quader of Shakib Bostraloy in Aganagar's Asha Complex told Prothom Alo that the demand of readymade garments remains high throughout the year in Keraniganj. "But, it doubles during Eid festivals. People come here to buy outfits as Keraniganj offers quality attire at cheaper prices."
Sirajuddin of Bismillah Pant House said that Keraniganj is famous for selling pants. "We sell quality pants at a very low price ranging from Tk 550 to 3500."
Mouchak Market is also thronged by shoppers ahead of Eid.
One of the oldest in Dhaka, the market is famous for jewellery items. The jewellery shops are located on the 1st floor, three-piece kameez sets and sari shops are located on the 3rd floor. Business was slow for the market in previous years due to the dilapidated state of the road and construction of Mowchak-Maghbazar flyover. But the shopping has gained full momentum this year with the buzzing of shopaholics.
Polwel Super Market
Polwel market at Naya Paltan area is one of the biggest suppliers of wholesalers in the country. Business peaked at the market immediately after Shab-e-Barat with apparel retailers from all around the country buying their Eid items from there.
Not only wholesalers, the market caters to retail shoppers too. Trendy fashion wear and export quality shoes for young men are the most sold items of the market.
Other markets buzzing and busy this Eid are Mouchak Market, Eastern Plaza, Mascot Plaza, Metro, Rapa Plaza and more.
* This report was written jointly by Farjana Liakat, Galib Asharaf, Imam Hossain, Shameem Reza and Ayesha Kabir