Traditional marketplaces have held a significant space in shaping India’s culture. Not only were these markets converging points for trade and commerce, but they also served as spaces that nourished community living and wove themselves into the social fabric of both rural and urban India.
From keeping traditional barter systems alive to sourcing some of the most bizarre objects for sale, here are five unique marketplaces in India that you should know about.
I. Jonbeel Mela, Assam
Run by a confluence of tribal clans across Assam, Nagaland, Tripura and Mizoram, the Jonbeel Mela is the only traditional market in India that keeps the age-old barter system alive. You can choose from an extensive range of herbs, fruits, spices, honey, and local handicrafts and the mode of payment is only in kind and not in cash.
The market, which is open for just three days during the festive season in Assam, is maintained and run by local tribal groups and is truly is one of the most unique marketplace experiences in the world.
II. The Floating Triveni Super Store, Kerala
True to its name, the Floating Triveni Super Store is one of the most scenic floating markets located in the backwaters of Kerala. This government run boat is a floating mall/shopping complex that streams through the tranquil waters of the mighty Vembanad lake and has gathered plenty of tourist attention in the recent past.
III. The Kannauj Perfume Market, Uttar Pradesh
Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh is home to a one-of-its-kind perfume marketplace where the sheer variety of delightful fragrances can waft you back in time. This marketplace sells a wide range of organic perfumes made from flowers, tree bark, and leaves. The long-lasting fragrances are preserved in glass bottles and are placed on display all throughout.
IV. Khari Baoli, Delhi
The glory of India’s history with the spice and herb trade is kept alive in this large market located in Delhi. Also known as Asia’s largest spices market, the Khari Baoli is said to have been functional as far back as the late 17th century.
The chilli lane within the market is one of the ‘hottest’ tourist attractions in Delhi, where glasses, handkerchiefs, and bottles of water can certainly come in handy.
V. Jew Town, Kochi
This aesthetically pleasing marketplace located in the old avenues of Fort Kochi holds collectables and vintage items that are sourced from across the world. From paintings to sculptures to antique furniture, to rare instruments; this part of Kochi holds secrets from around the world within the wares of its marketplace.
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