The Bazaars of India are the best way to experience this country. I was once going through an Earth 2 issue where Kid Flash runs and hides at an Indian Bazaar. The description and the art showed a busy crowded market flocking with people. To make it look more Indian the artists threw in a few turban clad men and saree draped women. In this crowd Flash was having a hard time finding a cover so he covered himself in a shawl and merged in the crowd.
What I mean to say is that if you haven’t experienced Bazaars of India then you haven’t witnessed India in its true sense. The aroma of spices, the noise, the bling of handmade jewelry and the wholesale items up for grab, is something one has to experience all over the country. Be it the crowded lanes and 100 year old markets of Chandni Chowk in Delhi or colorful Crawford Market in Mumbai, Indian Bazaars represent India at its best.
The Markets of Chandni Chowk talk about their grand history and yet somehow it gets lost in the middle of the crowded lanes, shopkeepers screaming on top of their lungs and rikshaws somehow trying to make their way through the crowd. You walk a little further and aroma of bhalle papdi and jalebi invade your nostrils. You walk randomly in a lane and come across a haveli that is probably more than 100 years old. Chandni chowk is one of the signature markets of Delhi along with a few recognizable ones like Paharganj and Karol Bagh.
Chandni Chowk is divided into a number of parts, each of them is famous for a particular kind of product. There is saree bazar, perfume market, old book shops, motor vehicle parts and a lot more. You name it and you’ll find a shop in proximity. I remember as a child my father found some old records for his record player. The old restaurants here never lose the charm. Karim’s, Giani’s, Al Jawahar are few of the names that any foodie treats with respect.
Located near CST in Mumbai Crawford Market is the central hub of Mumbai’s always in style. The colors of this market make it distinct. A part of this market still resembles the Victorian style from the British era with section of shops selling fruits, chocolates and household items of daily use.
But what makes it different is the pet market in the center. For an animal lover like me it kind of makes me feel weird and sad to see animals caged in a congested environment. This area is so crowded and dirty that people generally avoid going there.
Goa is a vacationer’s paradise. The crowded dirty beaches and ever bustling restaurants and pubs are just a part of this place. The Flea Market at Anjuna is a must visit for every backpacker who drops here for a cheap deal. I personally love this place. Last time I was here I bought a backpack for mere 800 bucks that I used for almost 6 months. One needs to be lucky or unexpecting to find something out of the blue. If you go there with a list of things to buy, you for sure will return empty handed.
There are markets of Kolkata at Balleygunge and Esplanade that stand with old classic charm. The street food at these places is to die for. One can always get cheap deals on clothes and other items but one needs to be cautious as there is a huge risk of being cheated. One cannot simply miss Jhal muri and chat along with a few surviving bakeries here.
My love for Indian bazaar is never ending. I can spend an entire day sitting in a corner of a random market sipping tea and eating pakodas. If you want to explore India then you need to get lost in one of these bazaars.