This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Ashni Dhaor. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

8 Popular Traditional Markets Of India That Have Survived The Test Of Times

More from Ashni Dhaor

By Ashni Dhaor:

In an age of online shopping and supermarkets, the culture of traditional markets in India strives to survive. India, being a land of different cultures and ethnicity, can always impress you with its rich heritage through the wide array of traditional markets it hosts. These traditional markets reflect the culture of the place where it is located. These are not simple street markets, but ones which specialize as the traditional market of that place.

Here are some of the famous traditional markets in India:

1. Johari Bazaar, Jaipur:

Jaipur diwali

As the name suggests, this ancient market in the pink city of Jaipur is comprised of hundreds of ancestral shops specializing in Rajasthani jewelry. You will not only find traditional jewelries like Kundan, Meenakari , Thewa and Polki here, but intricate works of precious and semi- precious stones as well. The list doesn’t end at jewelries as the market also has textile shops. From bandhej and leheria sarees, suits to block printed bed sheets and jaipuri rajais, you will get it all here. The origin of Johari Bazaar can be dated back to 1727 when the city of Jaipur came into being. The bazaar was proclaimed as the main shopping market of the town and has since retained its primacy.

2. Dilli Haat, New Delhi:

Dilli Haat

Located in south Delhi right opposite the INA market, Dilli Haat is a handicraft market which offers traditional handicrafts from not only Delhi, but all over India. The place also has food joints from various states of India which have lip smacking dishes to offer. Delhi has another such market which is situated in Pitampura, Delhi. The handicrafts’ hub has sellers and artisans coming from all parts of India to sell their products which are a reflection of the tradition and culture of the place they come from. Dilli haat was established in 1994 by the Government of India to encourage tourism in the area and promote our country’s varied heritage.

3. Ima market, Imphal:

Ima market, Imphal

Ima kentheil, as it is locally known, is the only market in the world wherein you’ll find over 3500 women shopkeepers running their business and signifying the economic participation of Manipuri women. Also known as Mother’s Market (in Manipuri, Ima means mother and kentheil means market), it is a huge marketplace where you can find almost everything. In one section of the market you can get their authentic food items like dried fish to local herbs to clothes and woolens, and traditional costumes, while the other section of the market offers handloom products of the state. There is no clear record of the origin of the market, though researchers have found that the Gazetteer of Manipur in 1786 indicated that all the marketing of the area was conducted by women in open air and markets were mostly held in morning time.

4. Lakkar Bazaar, Shimla:

Lakkar Bazaar, Shimla

For ages, wood has been used in Himachal Pradesh for construction of temples, homes, idols etc. Lakkar bazaar situated near the ridge in Shimla captures the very essence of the abundance of different types of wood found in the state. The marketplace offers all kinds of locally made wooden products like toys, souvenirs, utility items and wooden jewelry. Don’t get mislead by the name, since the variety of items offered by the bazaar does not limit to wooden items only. The market has a majority of shops which sell woolens and handicrafts. The kullu shawls available here are especially famous. The market was established when a group of Sikh carpenters came and settled here from Hoshiarpur and set up their own shops and wooden businesses.

5. Floating vegetable market, Srinagar:

Floating vegetable market, Srinagar

The only one of its kind in India, the floating vegetable market at Srinagar’s Dal Lake is a major tourist attraction in Jammu and Kashmir. The serene lake, also home to numerous lotus plants, lightens up when the vegetable vendors set out for business from 5 AM to 7 AM on their traditional kashmiri boats, called shikaras. The vendors themselves are the farmers who grow the vegetables and fruits in their farms and then bring them to the floating market to sell. The market now also has a plethora of shikaras selling saffron, wood carvings and various items of tourist interests.

6. New market, Kolkata:

New market, Kolkata

Unlike its name, this marketplace was established in 1874, under the British Raj. Situated on the Lindsey Street in Kolkata, the place is a reminiscence of the British architecture in the city. The place is a shopper’s heaven since there is a wide variety of shops selling everything under one roof. The market is divided into various sections where in one section you may see delicious fruit cake shops while on the other hand, a majority of shops sell sarees, many of them being the traditional ones. The market also sells household items like marble flooring, crockery and crystals. New market’s florist shops are famous as well.

7. Kannauj Market, Uttar Pradesh:

Kannauj Market, Uttar Pradesh

Also known as the perfume capital of India, Kannauj Market is situated in the Kannauj district of Uttar Pradesh, on the banks of the river Ganga. In this age of technology, the perfume industry at Kannauj has retained its culture. It uses the traditional method of manufacturing ‘attar’, as it is locally called. The process is traditionally known as ‘Degs & Bhapka system’, which is a hydro distillation process. The system has been going on since the Mughal period and people have been involved in the business ancestrally. Historically, the attars were used as perfume by the kings and queens but now its use is mainly for tobacco and gutka industry. Though there still remains a class of people, particularly muslims, who like to use attars as perfumes.

8. Laad Bazaar, Hyderabad:

Laad Bazaar, Hyderabad

Laad bazaar, also known as Choodi bazaar is a heaven for jewelry shoppers, particularly bangles. Laad, meaning lacquer, is used to make bangles on which artificial diamonds are studded. The whole market is bustling with more than 100 shops selling all kinds of bangles. The place is a traditional hub of culture in Hyderabad where you can find khara dupattas as well as the famous naturally scented attars. Situated on one of the four lanes branching out from Chaar Minaar, the market is ancient, considering that it has been in operation since the Nizams in 1724.

India is a beautiful country entwined between the traditions of the past and the advancements of technology. These traditional markets are souvenirs of the economic boom in which India was functioning centuries ago because of the skilled craftsmanship in our country. Though no part of the country has been untouched from the modern inventions taking place in the world, these traditional markets have successfully proven that it is possible to move forward without losing your origins.

You must be to comment.
  1. Ashish

    Very well written article, if you are interested in retail and history you could write a book on shops in India are over 100 years old!!

  2. Uma Korla

    Well researched article n informative too. It is a different charm to shop in these traditional n authentic market places.

  3. nanaji

    congratulations……………….well done………………..keep it up………………….

    1. ashni

      Thank you nana ji and uma nani 🙂

  4. Best of Bazaar

    Online shopping or hyper market or any things realtes to digital or super shopping malls might not give a tough competition for local market in India. The scope, consistency, more over the social relations between the nearby stores and the customers, it’s a kind of emotional bonding between them !!

More from Ashni Dhaor

Similar Posts

By Purni Singh

By Abhishek Kumar Makhariya

By Dinesh Kumar

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below