Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Great wedding Shopping Destinations in India: PART 3

In the third series of this article, I take you to the city of Joy that once served as the capital of India. Once the centre of modern education, industry, science, culture and politics in India, Kolkata remains truly rich in terms of its art, culture, literature, theatre, simplicity and spirit!

What makes this city splendid is the Spirit of the city, enthusiasm of its people, their tolerant nature, their warmth and love for all things beautiful!

Today, the skyline of Kolkata is deluged with hoardings and banners - and more hoardings and banners, and these have an indubitable influence on trade and commerce. Shops and arcades are cropping up everyday. So are the shopping malls and super-markets. In this day of glamour and glitter, the concept of the age-old 'Haat' or special market still remains in kolkata. These ‘Haats’ are very popular as they sell many essential items of everyday life as well as several amazing, interesting and spectacular things at remarkably cheap prices so that the masses can afford them. I will first take you through one such notable 'haat' or special market, of Kolkata and then take you through all great malls/ markets of Kolkata.

MANGALA HAAT : It is so named because the special market is held on 'Mangal Baar' or Tuesday. For arriving at 'Mangala Haat', you have to get down at the Bangabasi stop, near howrah maidan. The road in front of the Bangabasi Cinema Hall assumes a festive look every Tuesdays when the 'haat' is held. This weekly market is unparalleled not only in Bengal but in entire Asia for its variety, richness in quality and availability of all types of garments at incredibly low costs. People from remote areas and the suburbs of Bengal start flocking here from Sunday afternoon. They come here with their commodities mostly hand-made, and erect teeny, temporary shops on the pavements. The entire region is flooded with such shops. The merchants come to the 'haat' with all types of ready-made garments. The products range from children's wear to clothes of old men and women i.e. skirts, shirts, frocks, salwar-suits, T-shirts, sarees, casual wears and several other fancy garments. Even school uniform and sports outfits are available. What makes this market stand out is that in most cases, the sellers themselves are the manufacturers of the garments. In a nut shell, Mangala Hut is a paradise for low budget customers, where they can purchase all types of colourful and trendy dresses at reasonable rates.

Well, If you are not the ‘haat’ types and would prefer to shop the regular way, then you have loads of options.

Shopping is a great amusement in Kolkata. From street vendors to super markets the city has it all. The city contains numerous showrooms of reputed national and international brands. There are fabric stores, ready to wear stores, home appliance stores, gift stores and more. While shopping in Kolkata golden rule is to bargain. There are many fixed price shops in the city but the preferred ones include those where price negotiations are allowed. The speciality of Kolkata include Taant sarees, cotton fabric, handlooms and handicrafts.

Shopping in Kolkata is more or less like a treasure hunt. The treasure hunt in Kolkata takes down the alleys and into the popular markets, most of which are in the heart of the city. The renowned places as such include Chowringhee Road, Sudder Street, Shakespeare Sarani, Bowbazar, College Street, Salt Lake City, Kidderpore, Dharamtala, Camac Street. Most of these are general markets and sell all the amenities. At Chowringhee there is Central Cottage Industries Emporium merchandising in crafts. The Hogg Market which happens to be the oldest market in the city has several blocks. The New Market that constitutes one of these blocks has, as speciality clothes, footwear and jewellery. Bertram Street Market provides leather goods, jewellery, garments, toys, flowers, confectionery and fabric. The open air complex at Dakhinapan mainly houses state government outlets. It is the best place to buy hand looms and handicraft articles. The Fancy Market at Kidderpore is famous for smuggled electronic goods, jeans, perfumes and glass ware. The Shreeram Arcade and Treasure Island, likewise, are happening places for the shoppers. These markets are new entries and house great collections of apparels and music. One more treasure spot is the Vardaan Market. The air conditioned market provides outlets to various domestic and foreign brands.

Details of Kolkata Markets:

New Market:
Located on Lindsay Street, this is one of the oldest and most renowned Municipal Markets. A huge Complex, where a whole range of products are sold. You can buy Jewellery, silverware, leatherwear, Cutlery, Crockery, Glassware, garments, confectionery, fabrics, dry fruits, poultry products, fish, meat, vegetable, flowers etc. Don’t forget to eat the kathi rolls at Nizaam’s when visiting New market. Nizaam’s will not appeal visually to you, infact when I first visited I was very scared of eating there. But the first bite into that juicy Roll and We said, Bring it on!

Shreeram Arcade:
A market located opposite Light House Cinema in Chowringhee area near the central transport point, Esplanade. It has around 275 shops under one roof in four floors, all neatly decorated. Glass capsule elevators and sparkling fountains attract the shoppers. Shopping is a real pleasure out here due to its overall ambiance.

Treasure Island: This complex is located in Madge Lane, beside Globe Cinema. Within the New Market shopping zone, this air-conditioned market is a drop-in point for regular New Market shoppers, who are not satiated enough.

Air Conditioned Market:
This multistoried complex is on Shakespeare Sarani, previously known as Theatre Road. Starting from garments and watches to consumer durables like electronic household gadgets are on display for sale.

Vardhan Market: Located on Camac Street, this air-conditioned market comes complete with an escalator for shoppers' convenience. Novelties, watches and other consumer durables are the ones that this market specializes in.

Bagri Market: On Canning Street, is located this wholesale/ retail market for plastic toys and other products like stationery, dairy manufactures, electrical goods and appliances, glassware, moulded luggage etc.

Bowbazar Market: The Bowbazar market on B.B. Ganguly Street is known for its jewellery shops besides other shops dealing in wooden furnitures, musical instruments, shoes, seasonal fruits, fresh vegetable and flesh meat etc.

Burrabazar Market:This oldest wholesale/retail market of Kolkata on Mahatma Gandhi Road, is the place to shop for whole sale business of textiles, cereals, food grains, spices, dry fruits, edible oils, sugar, salt and other groceries. There are good number of renowned retailed shops located in this market complex where the retail buyers sometimes buy products at the whole sale price.

Chandni Market: This market located off Dharmatala Street, in Central Kolkata near Esplanade (popularly knows as Chandni Chawk), is a very old one, known for its stock of metal products and commodities, hardwares, paints, clothes, steel trunks/suitcases, electronic components, audio/videos, housing/cabinet etc.

China Bazar: Old China Bazar Street houses this market mainly dealing with paper, paper bindings, foils, envelopes, streamers, stationery, crockery, glassware, domestic goods, etc.

Dakshinapan Market:
Adjacent to the Nazrul Mancha, near the Dhakuria flyover is this sprawling multistoried marketplace. This market comprises of various State Emporiums dealing in handlooms, textiles, handicrafts, imitation jewellery and fancy goods.

Fancy Market: Located near Khidderpore, this is the market where a variety of imported goods including electrical And electronics appliances can be purchased at an affordable price.

Gariahat Market: This buzzing marketplace is located on Rash Behari Avenue and Gariahat Road Crossing. Textiles, readymade garments, electronic gadgets, and almost every other thing can be found here. Besides the regular shops, are the makeshift shops that crowd the sidewalks. These shops are the ones where one gets to purchase something at a bargain price.

Jadubabu's Market: Located on Ashutosh Mukherjee Road in Bhawanipore of South Kolkata, this old market sells vegetables, fish, meat, fruits, groceries and utencils

Koley Market: This market is located near Sealdah in Central Kolkata. Wholesale/retail vegetable, fish, meat, milk, poultry products etc.

Lansdowne Market: Located in South Kolkata on Sarat Bose Road, this market stocks mainly vegetable , groceries etc. Also a large number of motor mechanic garages are found in the vicinity. The Kolkata Motor Vehicle Authority's office is closely located to this market.

College Street Market: As evident from its name, this market is located at College Street. It is known mainly for its collection of leather goods, footwear, sarees, musical instruments, vegetable and meat etc. Most of the Book shops and Book Publishers have their place of business transaction near this market. The area is well referred to as BOI PARA (Book Market).

Lake Market: This market is located on Rashbehari Avenue between Deshopriya Park and Rashbehari Avenue. It is famous for fresh vegetable, flesh, flowers, grocery items. It is also the main market for the Indians from the southern part to have commodities from this market for their unique food preparation.

Park Centre: Located on Park Street, in Central Kolkata near Chowringhee, this market has more or less the novelty product ranges and ready made garments for sale.

Charnock City, Salt Lake City, Sec-II: This complex, with an unique architectural flamboyance, is the latest addition to Kolkata's list of markets. Under one roof one can buy any commodity in this market. The market is located at Sector III of Salt lake City near the Salt Lake Stadium.

Phew! I know, it was difficult reading this blog! It was immensely difficult writing it as well and that is when I haven’t touched the Malls and Showrooms! Let’s see, maybe in the next blog I will cover the malls and showrooms famous for wedding shopping.

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