Tuesday, September 06, 2005


A Local Market Preps for the Ganesha Festival

The Ganesha festival is right around the corner and markets in Bangalore are resplendent with color. The Jayanagar 4th Block market is no exception.

The Jayanagar market is a haven for old-style stores (no Fabmalls, Coffee Days or Big Bazaars in the good ol' complex). It is the mecca of old-style shopping, the kind in which you haggle shamelessly. No bar codes or scanners here.

The complex itself is sprawling and has many entrances. In addition to book stores, luggage stores, clothes and shoe shops, and a supermarket, the shopping complex is home to an indoor market with a maze of shops selling everything from vegetables, fruits, and stationery to all the items you need for a puja.

While plantain shoots and mango leaves arrive at the market only during festivals...

....flowers are a daily feature

The indoor market has four entrances. All the pathways leading upto the four entrances are prime real estate and on any given day, these pathways are permanently lined with fruit, vegetable and flower stalls. On days preceding a major festival, the pathways themselves become the destination. More stalls manage to appear in already cramped spaces. You could get away with not bothering to enter the enclosed market.

Which would be a pity.

The enclosed market is an ode to stimulus overload. For the first time visitor, it is nothing short of an assault on the senses.

The scent of agarbathis and camphor clashes in mid-air with the mild stench of the just-beginning-to-rot fruits and vegetables. The flower stalls try to out-do them all, but in vain.

The makeshift shop on the right specializes in Ganesha and Gowri idols.

A tiny shop within the complex holds everything you might need for the puja.

There are stores that sell only coconuts, all the same brown color, and there is a whole lane of stores devoted to decorating items in every shade, even some that nature never intended. There are stores that make and sell photographs of gods right next to a store selling pets. There are stores selling crimson kumkum and sunny yellow haldi and then there are stores that sell decorations made in plain white cotton. There are stores that sell carpets, clocks, steel utensils, sheets, towels, plastic papers and cups, napkins, decorations for birthday parties, and stores that sell hooks to hang your mosquito nets.

Mounds of kumkum and haldi...

...mimicked by mounds of fruit.

Shoppers crowd around the tiny shops, all vying for the attention of the shopkeeper at the same time. No lines here. Lung power trumps chronology. Shopkeepers with no shoppers at their stalls call out hopefully, "En beku madam? Banni nodi" ("Madam, what do you want? Come, see").

One circumnavigation of the market is enough to make you want to see the light of day.

An entire row of shops dedicated to decorations.

Crossposted on Blogpourri.

hmmmm...you've got the flair I see..to shop I mean. So did you buy anything or just the photos? ;)
Just taking photos. The pujas will be at my mom's and my in-laws'. So just need to show up there!
Ah, the beauty of browsing in the old markets..... **sigh**

We should preserve these so that our kids, in the future, manage to grow up knowing them the way we do!
a very nice post. befitting the name and intentions of this blog. :)
Taz snow: amen to that. I took my five year old with me as I was taking the photos. I'm so glad I was able to do that. In fact, we try to hit the market in every city we visit. It's an education in itself.

Mandar: Thank you.
so finally...did u celebrate ganesh chaturthi...
Arvind: I am totally assuming that the comment was directed at me.:)) On that assumption, yes, we did celebrate. We went to my in-laws' house for the puja and lunch and to my mom's house for the visarjane. What about you?
u captured the scene in words and pics really well :)
Thanks Jayashri.
Great post. I too love Jayanager 4th block market :)
Thanks Prithi.
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