Shopping in flea markets, haggling, enjoying street food and the jostling crowds is part of life in India. Here are 10 of the street bazaars or flea markets across the country that are worth a visit.
- Sarojini Nagar Market, Delhi
Welcome to one of the biggest and most colourful markets of Delhi, the capital city of India! If latest trends, reasonable budget and mind-boggling variety dictate your shopping habits, then Sarojini Nagar Market, or simply ‘Sarojini’, is the place to be. Be it chic clutches and totes or funky hair accessories, earrings, modern outfits, shoes or cushions and soft toys, Sarojini Nagar market is your one-stop destination to shop with the least pinch to your wallet. And don’t miss out on all the tangy chats and samosas, lassi and masala shikanji and all the street foods Delhi is famous for.
- Janpath Market, Delhi
Another flea market that Delhi is famous for is the Janpath Market. While ‘Sarojini’ is more popular with the college-going crowd, Janpath is more popular with the tourists who throng Delhi. The outer market is full of curios, antiques, traditional stoles and scarves, shawls and carpets. A little further in are a number of street vendors and small shops selling clothes and leather products, including handbags and shoes etc. Come winter, these shops sell an assortment of denim and faux leather jackets and indigenously manufactured sports shoes. As is in Sarojini Nagar market, haggling is an integral part of shopping in Janpath.
- Colaba Causeway Market, Mumbai
“Yahan sab kuch milta hai” (You can find everything here). This is what Mumbaikars have to say about the grand and glamorous Colaba Causeway flea market. And expect to find everything – from clothes to fashion accessories, bags and purses to shoes and footwear, carpets to silver trinkets, lanterns to curios, cosmetics to junk jewellery. And a mind-blowing variety of everything. Bargain despite the “Fixed Rate” sign. And indulge yourself in the numerous eateries, cafes and restaurants that dot the Causeway. Despite being a street market, do not expect Colaba Causeway to be very inexpensive. The presence of many foreign tourists, who are willing to pay a premium, has hiked prices in recent years.
- Gariahat Market, Kolkata
Gariahat Market is the Mecca of street side shopping in the eastern part of our nation. From bedsheets, curtains, everyday wear, sarees, shoes, bags, junk jewellery, kurtas, jute products, crockery and glassware, household items to kitchenware – you name it and it is available at Gariahat Market. Again, expect to haggle. Gariahat is usually closed on Sundays (except the month leading up to Durga Puja). The rest of the week, this market is usually full of shoppers, window shoppers and the younger lot trying to get mehendi art on their hands or try some of the delicious puchkas and kathi rolls from the street side shops.
- Pondy Bazaar, Chennai
Pondy Bazaar is located in T Nagar, one of the busiest parts of Chennai. And it is certainly one strange mix of international brands and malls and an amazing flea market. From fashionable clothes to trendy footwear, from utensils and kitchen necessities, cushions, curtains and soft toys, you’re likely to encounter a variety of street stalls. Do bargain if you are buying from a street vendor. There are a number of jewellery shops in Pondy Bazaar that sell dance accessories and south Indian “kemp” jewellery. What is more is that this street is home to some of the best South Indian restaurants in town.
- Kitsch Mandi, Bengaluru
This one is a rather recent addition to the list of famous flea markets in India. As with everything else in Bengaluru, the market is jazzy and complemented with music and dance performances. New artists display their ware and though an organized flea market, Kitsch Mandi retains its quintessentially ethnic feel. It is the best place to buy home decor items, kids’ toys and ethnic accessories.
- Laad Bazaar, Hyderabad
The one place everyone will recommend on your visit to Hyderabad is Laad Market. This street market is best known for its bangle stalls. From glass to lac, metal to wood, expect to find every variety and colour of bangles here. Apart from bangles, there are a number of stalls selling pearls – real and artificial, jewellery, traditional clothing, shoes and satchels. Bargaining is part of the shopping culture here but great deals are waiting to be found. Apart from the numerous street food stalls, there are local Biryani shops that sell Hyderabad’s signature rice dish.
- Hong Kong Lane, Pune
Hong Kong Lane in Pune is a favourite with the college-going crowd that prefers to shop for inexpensive but trendy stuff. Clothings, metal jewellery, shoes and mobile accessories galore, the market is one of the busiest parts of the city. It is a great place to buy souvenirs, bric-a-brac and stylish accessories and indulge in some quick meals.
- Johari Bazar, Jaipur
The Johri Bazar is a centuries-old market dating back to the time when the royals of Amer ruled Jaipur city. As the name suggests, this is the right place to shop for traditional Rajasthani Kundan and Meenakari jewellery apart from precious and semi-precious stones. But this is not all. Look out for bandej sarees and clothing, ghaghra choli, lightweight quilts, sequined bags and purses, juttis (traditional footwear), carpets and rugs, chandeliers, puppets and ethnic home decors. This is also the place to indulge in some scrumptious Rajasthani kachauris, lassi, sweets and other street food.
- Anjuna Flea Market, Goa
Those who love Goa know that shopping for breezy beach apparel, flip flops, backpacks and such bric-a-brac is as much part of the quintessential Goan experience as partying on the beaches. The best place to pick up your choicest stuff is the Wednesday flea market on Anjuna beach. Like any Goan market worth its name, the Anjuna Beach flea market is full of western wear, chunky beady jewellery, spices, guitars, tea and coffee, street food stalls and noisy vendors. With music playing and waves crashing against the shores, the best time to visit this bazaar is during sunset.