Get to know about these very strange and unusual markets of India that sell usual and unusual merchandise. In addition, some markets are run by unusual people. For example, one huge market run only by women of that particular state in India and another market run only Tibetans.
Why Shop at These 10 unusual markets of India
India is too diverse a country to describe an overall shopping experience and that includes the goods sold in a particular market.
Some of the markets such as ‘sandhai’ (it may be spelled differently across India) are a weekly market. In a particular place in a city, town, or village, the local farmers, traders, and even small scale manufacturers converge to sell their products.
They display their wares on an open marketplace. Invariably, the prices of anything that are sold in these ‘weekly sandhe’ are dead cheap.
In spite of cheap prices, the quality is definitely top class.
In some weekly sandhe markets, only a specific set of goods will be sold that includes:
- Sheep and goats
- Pet animals and birds
- Vegetables and fruits
- Spices and condiments
- Festival specific goods
- Cloth and dress materials
10 strange and unusual markets of India
Let us visit some of the unusual markets of India. I am sure this blog article will keep your interest alive till the end.
Weekly market in Pallavaram, Chennai.
The Pallavaram weekly market is an extremely popular place to buy myriad things at wholesale prices. The merchandise that is sold in this unusual market includes:
- Lentils and pulses
- Homemade candies made of sugar and jaggery
- Spices and condiments
- Cooking vessels
- Big home appliances such as new washing machines
- Computers and accessories
- Home garden materials such as saplings of fruits and vegetables
- Bedding items
- Homemade snacks
- Pet birds and animals
This strange open market in Pallavaram in Chennai thronged in hundreds of individuals and traders.
Ima Keithel, all-women market, Manipur
So, what is unusual about this market in Manipur?
This is an ‘all-women’s market’ boss! The carting of the merchandise, display, and the sales are all handled by women of all ages, but mostly by elderly women folks and peasants of Manipur.
Therefore, this strange open market is fondly called ‘Mothers’ Market’.
What is old in Mothers’ Market?
Well, the surprising element of this unusual market in Manipur, India is the 3000 odd women entrepreneurs sell even several centuries-old antiques!
Apart from that, you can buy the following in Mother’s Market:
- Vegetables and fruits
- Bright colored clothes
- Manipury jewelry
- Woolen blankets and sweaters
- Wicker baskets
Ima Keithel in Manipur is open on all days but closes early by 7 pm.
From what I saw in the video above, the locally made Manipuri jewels and beads, the woolen bedspreads and blankets attracted me a lot.
Next, we move from cheap vegetables and clothes to expensive diamonds.
Unusual Markets of India: Diamond Market, Mahidharpura, Surat
OMG! Look at the surging strong crowd of shoppers and traders of diamonds! It is clear that there are more buyers of diamond than of food grains and pulses in India.
At first sight, I thought this is an unusual market for selling and buying ‘used two-wheelers’. I was deceived obviously by the number of parked two-wheelers in this highly popular diamond open market in Surat, India.
Usually, we know the expensive and small stones are sold in posh, air-conditioned shops that are heavily guarded by the security guards.
But, this is an unusual market, folks! Here, diamonds are bought and sold in an open street and numerous lanes, by-lanes, and cul-de-sacs.
The Most Bizarre Perfume Market, Kannauj
Kannauj is a historical city in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.
Kannauj is one of the highly visited commercial cities mainly because of the thousands of fragrances encaptured in small to big attractive glass bottles.
The unusual market of organic perfume is Kannauj sees brisk national and international business throughout the year.
The heady fragrances are manufactured from:
- Tree barks
- Essential aromatic oils
When you walk through perfume streets in Kannauj, you will be amazed to see the shelves of the perfume shops filled with bottles and bottles of colorful fragrant liquids.
Let me tell you one thing, mate! It is extremely difficult to choose a perfume because every other sample of the scented liquid placed on your forearm as a sample, will make your face bright.
The perfumes of Kannauj are simply pure and the fragrance lasts more than two days!
Johari Bazaar, Jaipur
Not the majority of you are aware of the fact that India’s Rajasthan is the best place in the world to buy authentic semi-precious gems, stones, and jades.
Moreover, the highly experienced gems merchants of Rajasthan can give you valuable advice about the purity and authenticity of any precious or semi-precious stones in the world.
Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan state in India is world-famous not only for its street food and clothes but also equally famous to buy jewels made of gems and jades.
Hey, wouldn’t you call this as an unusual market of an expensive niche?
Johri Bazar is located very close to Hawa Mahal, one of the biggest tourist landmarks in Jaipur.
Barter trade at Jonbeel Market, Assam
Can you believe it? Neither your local Indian currency nor any international currency of high repute is accepted in this highly unusual market in Assam, India.
Whatever the goods that impress you to buy sold by the tribes of Assam. There are several tribal clans living in Assam and the nearby states of India such as Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram, and Meghalaya.
So, how else can you pay for the artifacts and other merchandise you buy from Jonbeel Market?
The merchant tribes that include Khasi, Tiwa, and Karbi will accept something that is equal to the value of the goods that your purchase.
The value determined only by the sellers; you cannot convince how much you bought for a certain thing that you wish to exchange.
You can buy herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, honey, and local handicrafts that include woolen and cotton fabrics. However, you can only pay in kind, not in currency.
This unusual market in Assam is open only for a maximum of three days during a festival season in Assam and in other adjoining hilly states of India.
Ah, totally and incredibly a strange market in India!
Manju ka Tilla One of the Unusual Markets of India
If you want to:
- buy anything Tibetan
- eat something from Tibetan cuisine
- wish to know the intimate Tibetan culture and festivals
without ever visiting Tibet, then, you need to go to New Delhi and then visit Majnu ka Tilla.
Majnu ka Tilla is an exclusive colony of Tibetans. They run their own restaurants for their own community (you are also allowed, mate), worship in exclusive Buddhist temples and celebrate their Tibetan festivals in the way they only know.
Majnu ka Till is a nearly 70 years old Tibetan community and situated close to the Yamuna River.
What is unusual about this Tibetan market in New Delhi?
You can buy anything and everything Tibetan, friend! It includes high quality woolen shawls and sweaters, colorful totes made of cotton and wool, bathroom slippers, and a stunning range of Tibetan fashion clothes.
Eat authentic Tibetan momos, atho, thukpa, and shosa made with real Tibetan ingredients cooked by real Tibetans in Majnu ka Till, New Delhi.
Unusual Markets of India: Ingo’s market
Ah, Goa! Goa is a sort of paradise in Western India. Goa known for unlimited fun, magnificent churches, foreign drinks, beaches, and water sports.
There is an unusual market in Goa’s Arpora. It is open only on Saturday evening.
What can you buy unusually in Ingo’s market?
I read you can buy antique jewelry. I think it is not gold ornaments but made of brass, steel, and gunmetal.
Additionally, you can buy water sports gears including used boats!
The video shows you can buy idols of various Hindu Gods and beautiful curios. The entire area becomes lively with music and dance on every Saturday evening.
Floating Market, Srinagar, Kashmir
I must confess there is nothing unusual in this market in Dal Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir except it is a floating market.
It is similar to the floating markets in Bangkok.
You can buy real organic vegetables, fresh Himalayan fruits and a range of exotic wildflowers.
Sometimes, the original Kashmiri saffron also sold.
Unusual Markets of India: Chor Bazar, Mumbai
Chor Bazar believed to be a place to buy anything that stolen. I don’t know how far it is true.
However, chor bazaar is an unusual market because you can buy anything that outdated and not in vogue currently.
For example, you can buy a key to your grandfather clock that passed on to you before three generation. Or, you will find a diode for a radio manufactured 100 years ago.
You name it and you can buy it, however old it may be.
In addition, you can also find anything modern such as iPhone at an unbelievable price or an old copper boiler used to make tea.
If you ever go to Mumbai, your first stop should be Chor Bazar in Grant Road. You will spend half a day in Chor Bazar.
Cattle Bazar, Sonepur, Bihar
This is certainly an unusual market in India’s Bihar state. Sonepur town is located about 30 km from Patna city, the capital of Bihar.
Do you know why this is an unusual market? It is because even elephants sold until 2004.
So what else sold in this open cattle market?
- Sheep and goat
- Pet birds
- Jute bags and wall hangers
The cattle bazaar is not open throughout the year. You have to check out on the web before you buy tickets to Sonepur.
From diamond to donkey-very interesting-eh?
I was inspired to write about these strange and unusual markets of India after reading some online source.