The presence of Indian Bazaars is inextricably linked with the cultural fabric of India. Most of these bazaars have been present since Mughal and British times. Infact the concept of Bazars was imported to India by the Turkish influence. Some of these bazaars such as the Meena Bazar in Delhi are replicated after the famous Turkish ones. Today, with the advent of modern mall culture that offers you the best of brands, these bazaars still shine resplendently with their artefacts, local clothes and that exotic air that makes you fall in them. Let us see atleast 14 of these olden bazaars of India that have successfully trampled upon the ravages of time.
1. Johari Bazaar, Jaipur
Anyone who has visited the city of Jaipur would know this mystical Bazar that entices locals and tourists alike with its tinkling and glittery jewellery. Located near Hawa Mahal, this jewelry market has hundreds of shops that offer you several varieties of jewels and gems. From Kundan and Meenakari to Thewa and Polki and other authentic traditional gold jewelry, you will get it all here. Apart from jewellery you can also get hold of clothes and utensils in the nearby annexe markets.
Check Out : Best Resorts in Jaipur
2. Kannauj Markets, Uttar Pradesh
Kannauj market is considered to be the center for various perfumes and scents along with tobacco and rose water. Located on the banks of Ganges,this traditional bazaar is one place where attar(the perfume) remains in the air, catching your fancy. The scents will be found in every household here and have been prepared by the ancestors of this place.
3. Ima Market, Imphal
This one is special, not only because it is ancient but also because it is run by women. Established during 16th century, this is world’s only all-women marketplace and one of Imphal’s main tourist attractions. Here, 4000 odd shopkeepers are women representing the greater mobility and economic participation of Manipuri women.
4. Laad Bazaar, Hyderabad
'Laad' literally means to pamper, and Laad Bazaar lives up to its name even today! The bangle industry involves women painstakingly encrusting colourful stones and crystals into the mixture of resins- non toxic and non allergic. It is said that women create these beautiful bangles in between their household chores.
5. Meena Bazaar, Delhi
Present ever since Mughal times, this traditional market in India was opened by Noor Jahan for the ladies. Today, though the look and the products sold here have changed with the time, yet the past is still resonated here. Perfumes, Artificial Jewellery, Leather Products, Souvenirs and Traditional Dresses are the main attractions of Meena Bazar.
Also read on Markets in Delhi for Budget Shopping
6. Floating vegetable market, Srinagar
One of its own kinds, floating vegetable market is perhaps the most picturesque markets in the world. Those fresh vegetables floating on Dal Lake in Srinagar in the morning make Kashmir bustling with both nature and human civilization. Shop on those pristine water and see those shikaras laden with colourful vegetables and fruits.
7. Anjuna Flea Market, Goa
This market was initiated as a form of Hippie exchange and is today held every Wednesday. This market is very popular among the tourists who visit Goa and sells everything under the sun. From exotic junk jewellery to even second hand bikes, this street market has enamoured those visiting it with its local charm and vivaciousness.
8. Jew Street, Kochi
Replete with shops that sell antiques, curios, antique pieces of crockery, carved wooden furniture, bronze and brass sculptures, remnants of traditional houses and jewellery. History has its own slice here. The sellers here are descendants of Jews who settled here in AD52.
The true flavour of Kolkata comes alive with Burra bazaar. This spot is the city’s most nostalgic landmark shopping destinations. The market was originally set up as a yarn and textile market and has today morphed into a sprawling expanse of shops. The katras(sections of market) here have existed ever since medieval times.
10. Flower Market, Mumbai
PC: debarpirta mohapatra
Photography enthusiasts will get to click a lot here. With an array of flowers, this market beams with beauty and splendour. From this wholesale market, these flowers then make their way to local street stalls, to be fashioned into garlands or venis (garlands of flowers worn by Indian women, especially Maharashtrian.
11. Mahidharpura Diamond Market, Surat
Around the world, 8 out of 10 diamonds on the market were cut and polished in Surat. This industry earns India about 10 billion USD in annual exports. A legacy of old Dutch trade links, it began after a Surti entrepreneur returned from East Africa bringing diamond cutters.
12. Devraaja market, Mysore
The Devaraja market in Mysore was built during the reign of Chamaraja Wodeyar IX (1868 1894). It is said that there was at this place a small weekly market which may have been as old as the origin of the city itself.
13. Chandni chowk, Delhi
How can we forget this market? This is perhaps the oldest of the markets in India. Enveloped with Mughal air that suffuses it with charm, this market offers you exotic Indian stuff at cheap prices. According to legend, Chandni Chowk market was established during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan. The legend also says that Chandni Chowk market was designed by Jahanara-Emperor Shahjahan's favorite daughter. A large 'chowk' or square with a centrally located pool was incorporated in the initial design. The market of Chandni Chowk prospered and grew through the ages. The present Chandni Chowk market symbolizes the development through three centuries.
14. Chor Bazaar, Mumbai
Mumbai 's Chor Bazaar, which literally means "thieves market", has a fascinating history that spans more than 150 years. Apparently, it was originally called Shor Bazaar, meaning "noisy market", but "shor" became "chor" because of how the British mispronounced the word. Eventually stolen goods started finding their way into the market, resulting in it living up to its new name! These days it's famous for antique and vintage items.
So next time when you visit these cities in India, don't forget to experince the essential Indian market culture here. Listen to those market cries and see those colours of India unfurling before you.
You may also like to read: