Chhagalpatti City’s Goat Market

Ankita Chakraborty

As you queue up every Sunday in front of the butcher’s shop have you ever wondered where he gets the mutton from? Or from where your favourite Biryani outlet sources its meat? Even those who often take that scarcely-lit, near empty road along the canal between Rajabazar and Narkeldanga Road, negotiating through the herds of goats tethered together as a shortcut to Ultadanga are hardly aware of Chagalpatti, the largest market for goats in the city.

The Bazaar – USP

Scattered over a large stretch, the goat market or ‘chhagal patti’ is known to be one of the largest goat markets in the city. The market supplies goats for slaughter to the butcheries and shops selling mutton across the city.

“Apart from chhagal patti here, there is another one in the city located under the Kidderpore Bridge. The Kidderpore market is smaller both in size & scale and is hardly as busy as ours because this is the oldest and the biggest market in the city”, says Muhammad Armaan who runs the goat market. “We source quality goats from all over the country and hence this market is superior compared to the Kidderpore market” added Armaan.

The market supplies goats for slaughter to retailers as well as to whole sellers. Trucks are the major mode of transportation. A truck can carry 300-310 goats at the most. A number of trucks arrive daily; the number normally varies between 7- 10 and may go up to 60-70 during the peak festive seasons.


The current lot of traders in the business is unaware regarding the accurate history of the market, though some of them guesstimate that the bazaar could be as old as 250 year. According to Muhammad Rabbani, “The market was probably started by our ancestors. It is the demand for quality mutton that has sustained market till date. We would be proud if we can continue the market in the future.”

The Market

The goat market is located in the interiors of Rajabazaar. Once you are on that particular stretch of Canal Road you would find herds of goats tied under numerous sheds. Don’t be baffled if you do not catch sight of a single buyer or seller. This improvised market otherwise remains empty except when sales are at a peak. Needless to say the overbearing stench would make it difficult for you to walk through the bazaar.

On either side of the lane are shanties and sheds, stretching all along the canal. There are a total of 17 sheds and about 100 goats are tied under each shed. You would also notice huge, well-fed goats sitting on cots, reared by the sellers so that they can be sold later for a much higher amount.

The market is open on all the days except Wednesdays, while Thursdays to Saturdays are the peak days of business. The market is generally deserted during the day while nights are dark and crowded. The lane isn’t well lit with the street lights; hence some sheds lie in absolute darkness while few are better lit.

Market Economics

The goats are sold in estimated weights varying mostly between 8 – 10 kilos per goat. The risk factor for buyers is the weight factor which the sellers claim would be generally more than the estimated weights they are bought. For example, a goat estimating at 10 kilo meat would be a minimum of 11 – 12 kilo when actually cut and measured while selling.

A 10 kg khasi is usually sold between Rs 7200 and 7600. At present retail price at local meat stops is around Rs 800 per kg, and we were told that the extra 1 or 2 kg make up for the profit. Over all, profitability varies between Rs 40 and 80 per kilo for a retailer and varies between 700 -900 per goat. Every part of the goat is sold apart from the meat such as hide, head and so on; these are sold at Rs 100-200 which adds to the profit.

Off-take by retailers from this market generally depends on their daily requirements. For example a retailer who runs a local meat shop may buy five to six goats every day. Whereas a supplier may buy 200-300 goats daily depending on the requirement of the restaurants or hotels he supplies to.

The buyers generally stand at fixed positions with the sellers moving around and displaying their goats. Business is best during festivals or marriage seasons. The wholesalers send the payments to their suppliers to different parts of the country through couriers.

Types of Goats

The goat market deals with five major types of goats which include:

Tahi – These goats are smaller in size but the meat is of special quality being softest and tastiest. Its price is the highest.

Khasi – These are ranked second in terms of quality and the goats slightly bigger in size.  These are easy to cook and quite tasty and hence sold most commonly by retailers.

Bakhri and Patha – These are a bit stiff in terms of quality and are priced lower. Their meat is mostly used in Biriyani since the pieces don’t get overcooked and also for budget meals and parties.

The patha and the khasi are usually bought by individual buyers. Patha and khasi are available in both big and small sizes. Khasi are much flabbier where as a patha lacks flab. “We generally have khasi as they taste much better as compared to that of patha”, said a seller.

“There is hardly any difference between the goats we sell. Quality is the main factor that differentiates them from each other and hence the prices are fixed according to the quality. Those of superior quality and in demand cost more than others”, claimed MD Sayeed Khan, a seller in the market. Bakhri are generally smaller in size and similar to that of a patha but low in quality and cost less.

The suppliers feed the tethered goats with leaves & grass and also give them bath regularly to keep them clean.

People who buy patha for ‘bali’ (sacrifice) are generally charged Rs 100 or Rs 200 more as they do not buy in bulk. “Patha however cost more and a patha chosen for bali is usually quite large in size, thus we charge accordingly”, claimed Md Mehfooz Alam Ansari.

The bazaar starts at dawn but the main market is setup after dusk and is at its peak between 9 PM and 11 PM. All meat shop owners visit during this period to buy their stock.

The striking feature during bargaining is that no transactions are done verbally – the prospective buyer and seller communicate through signals with fingers in clasped hands.

The goats are brought from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Patna, Murshidabad and Alambazaar. The best quality goats usually come from Rajasthan’s Ajmer and UP’s Jashvant Nagar. Other varieties are brought from villages of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh which are later bought by the meat shop owners. The goats are led away on foot at night to the butcheries to be slaughtered later on.

Famous goat meat shops like the Rahamania Meat Shop at Kidderpore, Aminia Meat Shop, Haji Meat Shop, Munna Meat Shop and many more buy goats in bulk from here. These shops generally buy khasi and sometimes patha too.


The business booms during the festive season. “Goats are brought to the market according to the demand. The sale is quite high during this time and often a buyer buys in bulk”, added Rabbani.

“The prices also vary with time. When we earn enough we reduce the price but when our business is stagnant, we charge a lot more for a goat to compensate our loss,” said Armaan.


There are approximately 300 sellers but the market is mainly dominated by five or six sellers called “araatdaar”.  Restaurants, retailers and caterers primarily buy in bulk. Meat owners from all around the city come to this market and haggle with the sellers. Majority of the suppliers have been here from 25 to 30 years, while Armaan and Rabbani are among the oldest players running the market from the past 30 years.

According to Sayeed Khan, “It is not that a particular supplier is able to sell as much as he would like to. If lucky, each supplier sells about 10 goats daily. It is his rapport with the meat shop owners that helps him to sustain profit throughout the year.”

So next time you get a chance to savour those chunky pieces of mutton cooked either traditionally as panther jhol or biryani you should be certain that the meat has been sourced from Chagalpatti.