Friday 24 January 2014

Another Fishy Tale (Khar Danda Market)

We recently had some guests staying and instead of taking them to see some 'normal' tourist sights, we thought that they would just love to see our local Koli fishing village on Carter Road. It was on this outing that we found a proper covered fish market - which I have to admit, I never previously knew about.

Unbelievable to see egrets hanging around inside the fishmarket, waiting for scraps

On the nearby seafront - up from Carter Road is the Koli fishing area (I am now officially the best friend of the Koli Fisher Folk having been here and here!) - where not only can you find Koli inhabitants but also a large tract of land for drying out fish. Sometimes, when the breeze is just right, a heady mixture of fishy fragrance and fresh sewerage wafts over as far as our apartment building.  I call it 'Eau-de-Mumbai'. Lovely.

A short distance away from the drying grounds and towards Chuim Village is the actual (and newly discovered) covered seafood market. Here, you will find the Koli Fishwives sat cross-legged on waist level platforms selling their produce to the locals out of brightly coloured plastic baskets.  

Of course, these types of places are always a vibrant representation of Mumbai life and a great place to take photos. Our guests seemed to enjoy the experience - and unlike the fishwives of Sassoon Docks, these ladies did not mind (too much) having their photographs taken. They even obliged us with a few smiles:

Impromptu clothes-line (Koli dwellings in the background)

Drying out fish (not sure which type?) on horizontal rods.

Sorting through shrimps and other small fry. 
This is how the small fish are dried - spread out over a dusty floor!  Peculiarly, I did not see
birds or cats trying to steal the produce.

Off to meet their makers (sorry, not a photo that will appeal to animal rights activists)
Hello pretty lady!

Surely the temptation is too much for this pussy cat!

Mega-succulent prawns

I love the colourful saris of the Koli Fishwives

Fish is skinned, boned and gutted for the buyer if so desired...

Hello, what a lovely smile!

In awe of seeing egrets indoors like this

Slippery When Wet

Opposite the fishmarket we found a man who looks after injured kites -
these guys were lined up on a wall outside his shop.

This poor Brahminy Kite has seen better days...but at least he is receiving some food and love
from this kindly gentleman (whose pic I sadly did not get)
I tried to find out some official information about the market on the internet but found very little indeed. However, I did discover that 'Khar' comes from the Marathi word 'khara' which means 'salty'.  When Bombay was nothing but a series of islands, the Khar area was in fact a marshland on salty sea water. Interesting huh!


  1. Hey.....i recently started following your blog after i read your very interesting post on Beanbagwala.....i must say i thoroughly enjoy reading each and every post of yours....makes me miss home terribly since i have moved to US :( .....well as for the fish in the third pic....its Bombay Duck (local name is bombil) if i am not mistaken :)

    1. Hello - thanks for your lovely message. I am sorry to hear your are homesick but the US must be fun too! Stay tuned for more pics from Bombay!

  2. "Drying out fish (not sure which type?)" - they're 'Bombay Duck'; also known as 'Bombil' by the locals.

  3. "Drying out fish (not sure which type?)" - they're 'Bombay Duck'; also called 'Bombil' by the locals.

  4. The fish drying on the 'racks' (the 3rd and 4th photos) are bombils or Bombay Ducks :) These are a big favourite with the meat and fish eating populace, especially the Maharashtrians and the Parsis. They're eaten fresh or dried, and the dried version has a stronger smell and taste. Both are quite delicious!

    The egrets in the fish market are truly fascinating.

  5. Thanks for the info about Bombay Duck guys - I thought they were but they looked so small in comparison to the ones I've eaten (yes - yummy, melts like butter in your mouth!). I think they must have been cut into several fillets? Anyway, watch this space as I may have to do Bombay Duck blog.

  6. You got some lovely pictures, the egrets in particular are a great capture. I'm glad to see you're putting your new camera to good use.

    1. Thank you AMASC! I am finding it a bit tricky - not as easy as the Sony Nex-5 but practice will hopefully make perfect!

  7. Bombay ducks or Bombil are half-slit in the middle and deboned. That is the reason prepared version looks bigger.
    I am regular in khar fish market for last 20 years and all those ladies have become good friends now. I showed them those photographs, and they were damn surprised.

    1. Oh wow Poonam! I hope they liked the photos. They must wonder why a foreigner would want to take photos of them at work eh? Thank you for the info.



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