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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

From Mullick Ghat to Ghazipur: The iconic flower markets of India

The flower markets of India, in a way, can be called an encapsulation of the sensory explosion one experiences when travelling the country.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
November 23, 2021 8:50:02 pm
flower markets of IndiaHave you visited any of these markets? (Source: Express Archives)

The significance and role of flowers in Indian culture and traditions is inherent and deep-rooted, and as such, the market for flowers is of a mammoth scale, too.

Flowers are needed in ritualistic traditions, auspicious occasions, and also widely used for medicinal purposes going way beyond just being aesthetically pleasing. Similarly, the flower markets of India, in a way, can be called an encapsulation of the sensory explosion one experiences when travelling the country. They’re a heady mix of kaleidoscopic colours in all its warmth and vibrancy, bustling with life before the city even wakes up, and a true reflection of the native essence and the rhythm of the daily life of a place.

Here are some of the most exciting, chaotic, colourful, stunningly picturesque, and vivacious phool mandis (flower markets) of India that come alive during the early hours of the day.

Ghazipur Flower Market, Delhi

One of India’s biggest flower markets, Ghazipur is one of the few that sells exotic, international varieties at unbelievably cheap rates. Among the approximate 50,000 kg of flowers sold here every day are protea, banksia, and ilex and other varieties from countries like New Zealand, Thailand, Netherlands, and South Africa.

Devaraja Market, Mysuru

 

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Synonymous with the local variety of the jasmine that rules the cultural landscape of South India, the ‘Mysore Mallige’ holds a special place in the Devaraja market. The market is a microcosm of the traditions in this heritage city wherein mounds of unstrung jasmine (both the local and the common variety) fill the air with its sweet aroma along with aster and chrysanthemum.

Mullick Ghat Flower Market, Kolkata

 

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It is the oldest flower market in Asia — 130 years old — and unfolds every day starting 3 am along the Hooghly river, towards the southern end of the city’s defining Howrah Bridge. Thousands of wholesalers arrive here with flowers cut freshly from the farmlands, with a variety that includes roses, marigolds, jasmine, lilies, hibiscus, orchids, sunflowers ad the native version of jasmine, togor phool. The market, once open, is a site of chaos, hustle and bustle as thousands of vendors and sellers compete in this homogenous market. It’s every photographer’s delight. 

Floating Market, Dal Lake, Srinagar

The Dal Lake in Srinagar is a city on water, with a life and economy of its own. Besides the morning vegetable market which sees vegetable sellers selling fresh produce on their boats, the lake also hosts flower sellers along the ghats of the Mughal Gardens. Their fresh produce reflects the native floral abundance of lilies, roses and daisies. During summer, the lake itself comes alive as it surface turns a delightful pink and green with lotus blooms.

Dadar Flower Market, Mumbai

Situated right outside the station under the Dadar flyover, the Dadar phool gali comes alive with the heady smell of marigold, roses, orchids, lotus, crimsons, chrysanthemum, gerberas, hydrangeas, rajnigandhas, daisies, lilies, peonies. Over 600 stalls, kiosks and even just wooden planks start their business as early as 4 am in Mumbai’s largest flower market, promising as much vigour as chaos.

K.R. and Russell Market, Bangaluru

 

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Owing to the scale and the varying needs of the metropolitan population of the city, Bengaluru has two flower markets. The Russell market in Shivajinagar is one of few example of the British colonial era in the city as it is situated within a building built way back in 1927 in the British architectural style. While Russell market has contemporary offerings like long stemmed roses, gladioli, exotic lilies, and carnations, K.R. market, located on Avenue Road, caters to the buyers who prefer traditional flowers like jasmine, rose, marigold, among others.

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