Mumbai has many old local gems, but some of them are not explored by many poeple. Kalidas Vishram, Bandra’s oldest grocery store, on Bazaar Road is one of those places that has been a favourite of many people in and even outside Bandra.
Started in 1898 by Mr.Kalidas Vishram, this grocery store has seen the transformation of Bandra from a tiny locality to a bustling suburb. “My great grandfather Kalidas had started this shop. After him, my grandfather took over, and later on, my father, and now it’s been passed on to me.”, says Jitesh Thakkar, who is the current owner of the shop and is running it for the last 40 years. “I was in college at that time and then finished my graduation. I was 17, and now I am 56.”, he adds.
Kalidas Vishram is known for selling dry fruits, cereals, sweets, spices, and other such products. This 123-year-old structure has stood tall for over a century. It initially used to sell grandmother-recommended remedies and now even houses an ayurvedic shop and dispensary on one side. The other section offers Masala and different types of dry fruits. “My grandfather used to deliver food through a Buller cart from Bandra to Juhu. I think they have worked really hard and now their hard work is paying off.”, he says.
With time, the owners Jitesh and Jayesh Thakkar renovated the shop, and now it has all the modern touches like every other new shop. “We had a ration shop in the beginning, but then it discontinued and then we continued with grains and dry fruits. We have a clientele which is 60 to 70 years old. Their grandchildren come to shop, and even the people who have left Bandra, come and buy sweets from us during the festivals.”, says Mr.Thakkar.
The number of products at Kalidas Vishram has now increased, and they are also changing the product line day by day. Though it was started with grocery products, now it only sells dry fruits and masala. 6 years ago, they also opened the Ayurvedic shop and a dispensary. “We have our ayurvedic section in the shop itself. My brother handles that and we have consulting doctors coming during the week. It’s a complete Ayurvedic pharmacy you can say.”, Mr.Thakkar adds.
Kalidas Vishram sees around 300 to 400 customers every day. They have customers who have shopped from them for decades. “When they tell us that they are buying from us for years, we feel great. Our elders had walked on it and brought us up. So, we feel great when our customers say that we still have the same standard. There are people who have moved out of Bandra, and they still come and visit us. Some come and buy ingredients for the Christmas sweets in bulk, even if they don’t know how to make it.”, says Mr. Thakkar.
Next time, if you are at Bazaar Road, don’t forget to drop in at this heritage shop. Also, feel free to have a chat with the owners. They will tell you about the history of Kalidas Vishram and the olden days of Bandra.
P.S: Mr.Jitesh Thakkar told us how his father once had to carry his bicycle on his shoulders as it was raining heavily. During that time, people used to call Linking Road as Dhobi Ghat.
Where: Shop no 87, D Monte St, Ranwar, Bandra West, Mumbai.
Contact: 098203 86747