Named after Arthur Crawford, Bombay’s first Municipal Commissioner, Crawford Market is beyond doubt one of the most famous markets in the city. It is located opposite the Mumbai Police headquarters, very close to the Victoria Terminus railway station. Anything and everything, from fruits and vegetables to cosmetics and household items, is available here at a wholesale price. Up until March 1996, Crawford Market was the main wholesale market for fruits in the city; it has now been relocated to Navi Mumbai.
Completed in 1869, this architectural marvel was gifted to the city by Sir Cowasji Jehangir, a prominent member of the Parsi community in Bombay. The structure, a blend of Norman and Gothic architectural styles, covers an area of 5,515 square metres (6,000 square feet); though the market stretches over 22,471 square metres (24,000 square feet).
One of the striking features of the building is its clock tower adorned with intricate Victorian carvings. Other interesting design aspects are the friezes at the entrance that depict Indian farmers and the stone fountains inside — both designed by Lockwood Kipling, the father of famous novelist Rudyard Kipling. The Kiplings’ cottage still stands across the road, next to the JJ School of Art.
Built using coarse, buff coloured Kurla stone along with red stone from Bassein, the Crawford Market building was designed with a 15-metre high skylight to allow sunlight to light up the place. In 1882, the building became the first in India to be lit up by electricity.
Until recently the market was the hub for wholesale fruit and vegetable trade, which has now been shifted to Vashi. The structure stands opposite the Mumbai Police headquarters and just north of Victoria Terminus railway station which is at a busy intersection, but surrounded by historic and heritage buildings.