The Northeast of India is known for doing things differently, and its markets are no exception. Amidst its diverse cultures and traditions, it has some of the most outstanding markets that have sustained through the years. Here are some of those markets – each representing a different culture and tradition.
Ima Market: Called the mother’s market in Manipuri, Ima market – the only market in the world that is entirely run by women. This age-old institution practices equality and provides a niche for women to support themselves. Bustling with people, the market is spread over several buildings and houses. More than 5000 women sell almost everything ranging from spices to local food, textiles to household wares. This market has stood through years, supporting women and providing them with opportunities at minimal costs. One must witness one of the most incredible and liberating markets that exist in Imphal.
Darangiri Market: The largest banana market in Asia! Darangari market is located in Goalpara, Assam, and is known throughout the country for its produce that is exported to Bhutan, Bangladesh and several other countries. With over 15,000 sellers, producers and the likes, no less than 50 truckloads are sold in a day! A whopping monthly turnover of 4 crore is what this market experiences for months on end. While most of the bananas are sought over throughout the country, some varieties such as the ‘Chenichampa’ is favoured by the eastern states while the ‘malbhog’ variety is a favourite in Assam itself.
Nghah Lou Dawr: Literally translating to ‘shops without shopkeepers’, Mizoram maintains this tradition of little shops in Aizawl, dotting the highway of Seling. Predominantly vegetable and fruit stalls, they’re filled to the brim with the freshest produce and bear small boards mentioning the prices of each. Surprisingly, they do not have anybody manning the stalls. The customers pick their purchases and drop the money inside a deposit box. This system goes to show the simplicity and the deep trust of the Mizos, and thus has remained as an institution that isn’t present anywhere else.
Jonbeel Mela: This three-day festival is the only event that still celebrates and commemorates the barter system. The Jonbeel Mela in Assam was first organised centuries ago and still remains as a true reflection of the past juxtaposed with the present. Teeming with more than 10,000 sellers who display their wares, this market pulsates with the rhythm of music and the cacophony of voices haggling over their goods. Vibrant and diverse, different communities come together to celebrate and uphold traditions.
Wednesday Market: Known throughout the country, the Wednesday Market in Dimapur is a paradise for meat lovers due to its abundance of meat in different forms and varieties. If you’ve had enough of chicken, this market will provide you with ones that go beyond your usual fare. Be it snails, snakes, crabs, frogs, pork, beef or worms, everything is treated as a delicacy and sold. Intriguing to most people, this market preserves the tradition of selling meat and thus, does not stop at one variety of it. Don’t be surprised if you find vendors selling silkworms, grasshoppers or flies. The Nagas believe in the beauty of all things big and small, and the tiniest morsels make the most delicious and interesting ones.
Cover image courtesy: Bml Thong
Edited by T3 team