What is the easiest way to shop everything from the place you are sitting right now? No need to swing your brains for thinking of the answer. As everyone knows it is –ONLINE. With digital marketing platforms booming up like never before, we always find ourselves hard to decide which of the things to buy that look so appealing in the photos and are spoilt for choice. However, ultimately we do end up buying the highly selected thing in our list anywhere and anytime as per our comforts and situations. Many of the youngsters have also resorted to start up online shopping site of every avenue as a means of self-employment.
Let us rewind some years back. When digital marketing was about to spread its wings further , the malls were the lifesavers of the Indian population. With almost every kind of essentials available under one roof in the huge mall, people in the late 1990s or early 2000s felt a thrill to find the facility of being able to shop their necessities in one place . Most of all, the people found roaming around the number of shops that constitute a mall as the ultimate pleasure. Even if there was nothing to buy, Indian people found happiness in just taking a stroll around the malls and feasting their eyes on the stock that lined up the shops in a mall . When shopping malls became the buzzword in the shopping world from the late 1990s, many business tycoons decided to take up the plunge of establishing the shopping giants of the 90s era and today almost every city and town of the country has a number of shopping malls. The first shopping mall of India is Spencer Plaza located on Anna Salai in Chennai. It was established by Mangal Tirth Estate Limited in January 1993.
Now , let us further travel back in time when traditional markets ruled the streets. These were once the only hip and happening markets of the country. With clothes, shoes, accessories, groceries, eateries and many kinds of shops located at different areas of a traditional market, the sights and sounds of the marketplaces were a great way of knowing and studying the culture of the country.
In the 90s era when most of the metropolitan cities in the country were yet to witness the boom of shopping malls, every person irrespective of his/her age found much pleasure in strolling around the traditional markets of the city that were once the only commercial trading hubs. However, some traditional markets of India are still a great favourite among youngsters and are the popular jaunts even in the modern times.
Some of the thriving traditional markets of the country are-
Lakkar Bazaar, Shimla
The market located in the quaint hill station of Shimla, Lakkar Bazaar can literally be called a ‘Wooden Wonderland’. You can call it so once you experience the different patterns of brown hues that filled this market . Every kind of decorative and useful items made of wood are found here. You will find it easier to pack some of the choicest wooden souvenirs as ideal gifts for your dear ones back home. The talented craftsmen who are the creators of the woody masterpieces are descendants of Sikh families who had migrated from the rural areas of Punjab to the city in search of business opportunities. Now, being a hill station, you are sure to find woolen clothes in the market. You need to pick one Kullu Shawl while visiting Shimla. The Kullu Shawl is an indigenous shawl of Himachal Pradesh made in the Kullu district of the state featuring intricate geometric patterns in various colours and is made from sheep wool or yak wool. Besides Kullu shawls, other type of woolen clothes are also available in the market. You can also find various kinds of dry fruits in Lakkar Bazaar.
New Market, Kolkata
The market which was designed in Victorian Gothic form of architecture , an ancient form of European architecture by Richard Roskell Bayne in 1873 , New Market is the pride of every Bong of Kolkata. Situated in Lindsay Street, you will find yourself being spoilt for choice as the place houses a number of different stalls lined neatly along the roadside. You cannot leave empty-handed from the street as the stalls selling garments, accessories, jewellery etc will surely beckon you to empty your purse on some worthwhile purchases before you head back home. Moreover, the special type of cheeses such as Kalimpong Cheese and Bandel Cheese available only in the New Market is bound to cast the ‘cheesy magic’ and your senses will arouse you to pack home these rare savouries . Among the several confectioneries that are located in Lindsay Street, the one that truly stands out is the historic Nahoum & Sons established in 1902. The pastries of Nahoum’s are surely to die for. A visit to Kolkata will remain incomplete if you do not visit this pastry heaven of eastern India.
Chandni Chowk, Delhi
The oldest and the busiest shopping destination of Delhi , Chandni Chowk is also the famous traditional market of India. Can you tell me the name of any Delhiite who isn’t fond of Chandni Chowk? The answer is obviously a big None! Most of the Delhi brides goes for shopping in Chandni Chowk for their wedding trousseau. You will find lehengas of every price range in the lehenga shops in Chandni Chowk. Ladies, if you wish to buy a good quality lehenga at an affordable range, you will find it in Chadni Chowk after shop hopping for some time. Speaking of an area which has an abundant variety of junk food, nothing can beat Chandni Chowk. Royal sweetmeats and the all time favourite Indian snacks like samosa and chaats are the star attractions of Chandni Chowk which attracts and pulls people to the area. You can gorge on to your choicest parathas in the Paranthewali Gali of Chandni Chowk. Besides food and wedding trousseau, you will also find that each section which caters to a particular item carries an interesting name. Nai Sarak section is dedicated to books, Khari Baoli to herbs and spices, Lal Kuan to hardware and hotel kitchen equipment and so on. The much loved Delhi market was designed by Emperor Shah Jahan’s daughter Jahanara Begum in 1651. The name ‘Chandni’ was derived from the fact that the moon used to majestically shimmer in the centre of the pool that was present in the market square in the ancient times.
Fancy Bazar, Guwahati
The ancient bustling market located in Guwahati city of Assam , Fancy Bazar is still the ‘Shopping Paradise’ of the northeastern region of India. You will find many people of the ‘Astalakshmi’ states flock to this busy market area with much enthusiasm and greediness writ large on their faces and urging to splurge their money in buying clothes and accessories in huge numbers . The ancient name of ‘Fancy Bazar’ was ‘Phasi Bazar’. It was so named as the British used to hang people in the premises of the Guwahati Central Jail which was once located there. The location of the jail had been shifted to Sarusajai area of the city in 2012. The historic jail was established in the year 1881. Later , when many ancient traders of Rajasthan began to set up shops in the area, it became a commercial trading hub of the city and the name has been changed to Fancy Bazar. Today this market area is choc a bloc with stores selling traditional Assamese clothes, ethnic and western garments, groceries, sweets, accessories , flowers etc. You can buy different varieties of the traditional ‘Mekhela Chador’, the indigenous traditional Assamese dress in the silk shops that line the streets of Fancy Bazar. If you feel hungry , you can satiate your taste buds with delectable fares of the northeastern region that surround the streets. ‘Lakhi Cabin’ , one of the oldest tea shops of Fancy Bazar is the place of the hottest gossip of yesteryears. You must visit this crowded shop which is still the best hangout area of the city where people discuss entertaining stories over steaming mugs of hot tea and samosa.
Johari Bazar, Jaipur
If you are a lover of jewellery, then Johari Bazar of Jaipur is the ideal place for you. As the name Johaari signifies Jewellery, you can surely guess that the place is certainly a precious place filled with glittering stones . Apart from finding modern pieces of jewellery filled with precious and semi-precious stones, you should look out for Kundan , Meenakari and Thewa jewellery. Kundan jewllery is a traditional form of Rajasthani jewellery where precious and semi precious stones are engraved in gold and silver. Meenakari designing basically refers to the process of coating grooves or engravings in ornaments with colored enamels. Thewa designing involves fusing of intricately worked out sheet gold on a molten glass. Rajasthan being the abode of long ago kings and queens and with their regal splendour described accurately in our history books, we can increase our level of curiousness only when we come across such kinds of finest craftmanships. Apart from jewellery, traditional Rajasthani sarees like Bandhani and Leheriya sarees are also available in Johaari Bazar and you should also own one of these beautiful sarees.
Chor Bazar, Mumbai
The name of “Chor Bazar” sounds like it is a “Thieves’ Market” but it is not so. The original name of the marketplace was “Shor” meaning “Noisy” but since the British pronounced Shor as Chor, it came to be known as Chor Bazar. If you are the ones who seek to prize ancient items, then Chor Bazar is the perfect place for you. The good fact about this marketplace is that if you have excellent bargaining skills, you will be rewarded with a high amount of satisfaction as you can get the item at your quoted price. Vintage cameras, old handicrafts, trinkets, old Bollywood posters, old lamps, old clocks-mostly everything old can be found here. So if you are a collector of old items , you should really visit this place. It is also a good place to shop for spare parts.
These traditional markets, due to their charms and attractions are still a hit with the crowd even in the digital age and reveals to us the vibes of ancient world of our glorious country in so many ways.