Explore the colourful and chaotic markets in India, selling world-class products since its inception. Most of the heritage streets of pre-independent India are functioning with the same vigour and character. It is not always monuments and famous attractions that maketh an interesting journey. Sometimes, the essence of a journey is felt just being there. From intoxicating scents and flowers to fiercely stimulating spices and highly haunting antiques, the traditional markets of India are must-visit destinations for the world of explorers. Happy street shopping!
The 500-year-old Ima Keithel market is full of feminine energy. All 5000 plus tradeswomen make Imphal, the capital city of Manipur, a unique place on earth. WOMEN-ONLY MARKET of Manipur sells spices, fresh fruits and vegetables, textiles, and household items. “Ima Keithel” means Mother’s Market, and it has been an important trading hub of Manipur. Manipur women of pre-independent India had even opposed the injustice of the Colonial Era of Britishers. It is still remembered as the battle of Nupi Lan (Women’s War), and even today, the legacy is held high in Ima Keithel. As part of the cultural traits, only married women work in the market. Manipuris will tell Ima Keithel is more than a market; it is their second home. They affectionately call this market as the “Queen of Markets.”
Address: Bir Tikendrajit Rd, Thangal Bazar, Imphal, Manipur, India. Time: Monday to Sunday | 3:00 am to 7:00 pm
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The ancient salty stepwell of Delhi Sultanate is now a treasure trove of sizzling hot spices. Fatehpuri Begum, one of the wives of Shah Jahan, had built Khari Baoli, which is now the largest wholesale spice market in Asia. An organized and orderly trading destination thronged by hundreds of merchants every day. Every shop will open the real pages of Indian history, and the families that sell here even include 9th and 10th generation sellers. The vintage charm of Old Delhi, Fatehpuri Mosque, and lanes leading to the Red Fort is visible in the nearest vicinity. One of the most popular Instagram-able spots in Delhi.
Address: Khari Baoli Road, Chandni Chowk, Delhi, 110006. Time: 11.00 am to 7.00 pm
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One more glittering spectacle near the intricately-coiled Charminar is Bangle Street or Laad Bazaar. The best tourist destination to stroll throughout an entire evening. Notably, women travellers would love this heritage shopping site. From Nizams, Qutub Shahis, to Lord Rippon, Laad Bazaar had stood the test of time. It shoulders the dreams of shopaholics through its zari, embroidery, junk jewellery, sequinned skirts, and chudi. “Laad” means lacquer, which is a vital ingredient when it comes to making bangles. Being a living heritage, Laad Bazaar is the best place to sharpen your bargaining skills. Take some time to explore the bangle street as you are already near another wonder. Chowmahalla Palace is just 2 km away from the scintillating streetways of the bangle paradise.
Address: Char Kaman, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad, 500002, India. Time: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm
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The poetic and cultural capital of India, Kolkata is home to the largest wholesale flower market in Asia. In the southernmost edge of the Howrah Bridge in the scenic backdrop of Hugli River, Mullik Ghat runs the fragrance kingdom, selling flowers like “Togor Phool,” a highly sought after local flower much like jasmine. The calmness of the Howrah bridge opens up to the colourful chaos of the flower vendors. From orange marigolds, romantic roses, and lotuses, to sunflowers, the farrago of flowers admonishes one’s heart to stay there for some more time. Around 7 am, local wrestlers would practice in the small cages set beside the Hugli River. Purchase garlands, long chains, bamboo baskets, and bouquets from Mullik Ghat. A vibrant place to work on your street photography skills.
Address: 68/3, Strand Bank Rd, Fairley Place, B.B.D. Bagh, Kolkata, West Bengal 700001. Time: 3:00 am to 2:00 pm
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The narrow street between Mattancherry Palace and Jewish Synagogue is the one to go if there is a small street that is as enchanting as Diagon Alley. Jew Town of Fort Kochi is one of the best places in India to go for antique hunting. The erstwhile Israeli population had left a gem of a remnant for the world in the multi-ethnic capital of Kerala, Kochi. A traveller who loves walking can find healthy spices carrying wooden boxes, souvenirs of several nationalities, colourful masks, vintage furniture, aromatic perfumes, and large redwood chess boards. Tharavadu, the ancestral homes of Kerala, and remaining Jew families living in harmony are symbols of a tremendous cultural tolerance in India.
Address: Anavathil, Kappalandimukku, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala 682002 Time: 5:00 am to 9:00 pm
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Enhance all your five senses experiencing the different dimensions of life with passion. Get into a narrow pathway flocked by merchants and haggle as hard as possible not just to shop smart but for the sake of collecting worthwhile moments. Don’t confine the idea of travel with buildings, highways, and mountains. Get deep into the concept of travelling and experience the happiness in chaos in the happening streets of India.
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