By Suhail Ahmed
Srinagar, Mar 27 : Maharaja Bazar, one of the oldest markets in Jammu and Kashmir, dating back to 19th century is still a major attraction among the residents as well as the tourists.
According to the residents, Dogra ruler of the state Maharaja Ranbir Singh had set up the 'Maharaja Bazaar' to develop it as a platform for dispensing items of daily use to the pubic in general.
Located in the heart of Srinagar, once considered to be a legendary trade hub has not lost its sheen and allure even today.
"There was a time when this market was famous across the nation. Not only in India, but people in Pakistan also used to throng this market place. It was from here that things and items of daily use were transported to every nook and corner of Kashmir," said Gulam Qadir, a shopkeeper.
The historic market has been a witness to history, to reigns, to power and much more.
Today, the market houses more than a thousand shops including around one hundred fifty wholesale shops.
The market houses a variety of goods but it is famous for tea, clothes and spices.
The market remained the most sought after place in undivided India.
According to historians, it used to house a stock exchange-cum-business center for the traders from Amritsar, Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and even Central Asia.
Historians say that the place derives its importance from the fact that there was a very famous Buddhist tomb located next to the market that had a six hundred years old graveyard of the popular Kashmiri ruler, Zain-ul Abideen.