India's rich history and culture are best highlighted in its oldest small markets. Though today most buyers have routed to online shopping, the vibes of the older era that one can experience at these markets and bazaars are incomparable.
If you want that authentic experience of shopping typical "Made in India" things, then you should head to one of these markets. Here is a list of the top ancient markets of the country where you will find history in its living form.
1. Ima Keithel, Imphal, Manipur
Located in one of the central places of Manipur, Imphal's Ima Keithel is popular by the name 'Mother's Market.' It is one of a kind market in entire Asia as it is run and managed only by women. Nearly 5,000 female traders sell a wide range of goods here. You can find almost everything here, from authentic food items to groceries, clothes, local produce, handicrafts, utensils, and bamboo products. The market originated in the 16th-century, and only women who are married can run the stalls here. The women traders here could have countless tips for small businesses.
2. Johari Bazaar, Jaipur
The Johari Bazaar of Jaipur is counted among the best markets in India with historical significance. This famed market is known for its diverse jewellery collection. You can find all kinds of jewellery here, including semi-precious and precious gemstones. It is also ideal for buying traditional jewellery such as Kundan, Thewa, Meenakari, and Polki. Located close to Hawa Mahal, this historical market is unique. Buyers can find intricate jewellery items crafted by craftsmen with skills descended from their forefathers and fathers.
3. Zaveri Bazaar, Mumbai
Mumbai's Zaveri bazaar is home to some 7000 shops, and most of them are over 200 years old. This historical market is an ideal place if you are looking for gold lovers. It can be considered as one of the oldest and biggest gold markets in India.
The popular jewellery giants located here include Dwarkadas Chandumal, UTZ, Dhirajlal Bhimji Zaveri, and Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri. You can find all kinds of gems and Jewels here. The best part of this market is that it still has the old-world charm as most of the shops here have a rustic vibe and antique furniture. If you are looking for some small business tips and advice, you should visit this place at least once.
4. New Market, Kolkata
With more than 2000 Shops, the Newmarket in Kolkata stands with pride as a historic shopping destination. Earlier, this market was called Sir Stuart Hogg Market. Established in 1874, the New Market came into existence to meet the needs of the British residents of Calcutta. Counted among the most prominent trading hubs of the country, the stores of this place sell all kinds of items, including electronics, clothing, utensils, flowers, leather bags, food, etc. The shopkeepers here could help individuals establish their own businesses with countless tips for small businesses.
5. Chandni Chowk, Delhi
Chandni Chowk was established in the 17th Century. It was the brainchild of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and Jahanara - his daughter. Considered as one of the best markets in India, the innumerable shops here sell various kinds of goods, such as perfumes, jewellery, wedding paraphernalia, traditional clothes, electronics, leather goods, antiques, spices, knick-knacks, and souvenirs. Whether you are looking for some shopping or not, you may come here to get some small business tips and advice from the amiable traders located here. The market is also home to Khari Baoli, which is Asia's biggest wholesale spice market.
6. Devaraja Market, Mysore
Located at the prime location in Mysore's central Sayyaji Rao Road, the Devaraja Market stands from the times of Tipu Sultan. Chamaraja Wodeyar IX expanded it further in the 1800s. It's a lively market where you can shop various items, including flower garlands, household articles, spices, mounds of vermilion and turmeric, fruits, vegetables, and more. It is a perfectly organised market with a specific section for each type of goods.
7. Meena Bazar, Delhi
Delhi's Meena Bazaar is not only one of the best markets in India, but it is also significant from a historical point of view. Its roots date back to the 17th Century – the Mughal Era. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan and happened to be the country's first covered market.
The market is also popular as the 'Chhatta Chowk Bazaar.' The market is located towards Jama Masjid's eastern end. One can surely get some exclusive small business tips and advice from the shop owners situated here.
This bazaar was counted among the most luxurious markets in the Mughal era and was exclusively built for the royals. Silks, exquisite jewellery, Carpets, velvets, embroidered clothes, precious stones, rugs, and similar things were sold here. Those looking for some unique tips for small businesses should visit here to learn while gaining some one-of-a-kind shopping experience.
8. Attar Bazaar, Kannauj
Kannauj is famously known as the 'Perfume city.' It tops the list of largest perfumeries in India. The Attar Bazaar is a great place not only for people seeking exclusive small business tips and advice, but it is also a haven for individuals who are fond of perfumes.
The market is home to some good, old perfume houses that produce perfumes using traditional techniques. Wholesalers and traders from all around the world come and shop for products from this place. Most of their attars can stay for as long as 3-4 days when applied, making them an economical option compared to modern perfumes and deodorants.
9. Khan Market, Delhi
Counted among the world's costliest markets, Delhi's Khan Market came into existence in 1951. A unique thing about this market is that most of its shops were allotted to immigrants from North-West Frontier Province post-India-Pakistan partition. The allotment was in the form of seed land, though.
The market has its name from Abdul Gaffar Khan, who was one of the freedom fighters. Khan Market is home to top cafes and restaurants such as Market Cafe, Big Chill café, Albake, Cafe Turtle, etc. You have a great opportunity to get some tips for small businesses at this place.
10. Aminabad, Lucknow
Animaniacs market is the pride of the city and dates back to the times of Nawabs of Awadh. This world popular market is famous for its 'chikan' embroidered clothes. You will find some of the finest works of 'chikankari' here. It is indeed one of the best markets in India, which houses some of the oldest shops such as Om Prakash Seth, Garha bhandar, Dupatta Mahal, Madan Sarees, Thok Bazaar, and Sargodha Cloth House.
Online shopping and malls may have dominated the shopping behaviour of buyers, but there is no match to these beautiful, old Indian markets. From spices to jewellery and clothes, these traditional markets offer amazing products at fair prices.
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Q. Which are the top traditional wholesale markets in India?
Ans. The prominent wholesale Indian markets are Wholesale flower market, Mumbai, Sadar Bazaar, Delhi, Johri Bazaar, Jaipur, Chandni Chowk, Delhi, Begum Bazaar, Hyderabad, Leather market, Mumbai, Surat Textile Market, Surat, Kolkata Bara Bazar, West Bengal, and Kanchipuram wholesale saree market, Tamil Nadu.
Q. Which city houses a popular old market for clothes?
Ans. The best traditional markets in India for shopping clothes can be found in Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Mysore, Nainital, Ahmedabad, Goa, Lucknow, Jaipur, Kerala, Mumbai, Delhi, Srinagar, and Jodhpur.
Q. Why is Johri Bazaar of Jaipur so famous?
Ans. Jaipur is home to some of the oldest markets in India, which also counts in the Johri Bazaar. The market is home to unique, ancient architecture, which reflects the city's sublime culture and tradition. The bazaar is world popular for its goods, including a variety of handicrafts, authentic jewellery, handicraft items, and more.
Q. Does Goa have any old Flea Markets?
Ans. Yes, Goa has numerous old flea markets, and some of them were established in the 1980s. The unique thing is that you will find both foreigners and locals selling accessories and clothes in these flea markets.