Tag Archives: markets

New Series on Markets: Focus 12


 As we begin a new year 2016, I’ve thought up new ideas, new perspectives of learning about the markets. Here is a new series.  


For each month this year, I will present a closer look at certain objects  around markets. Be it fruits or flower arrangements, weather or stall set ups. Something’s has to be unique isn’t it?  Otherwise all markets would generally be the same: tables, stands, fruits and vegetables, baskets, vendors, chaos and noise.

No, no…there’s much more. Focus!


 1.  Historic Buildings around Market Places

Markets are just a common meeting place for trade and business. Through the centuries, every town or city has evolved and matured socially, culturally and historically by placing the market at its centre. A place to feel the buzz and hear the pulse of the town as people gather together to buy and sell, be it daily or weekly.

Europe is famous for its piazza and its historic market squares. Some are literally hundreds of years old and cherished till date. Though mostly selling fruit and vegetables, often they double up as festive Christmas markets.

Piazza Del Erbe, Verona.

Historic building backdrop for open air market in Verona, Italy

Historic building backdrop for open air market in Verona, Italy

This open air market in the square in Verona is elegantly surrounded by colourful residential buildings as well as historic ones too! One side are the lemon, red, orange and pale yellow hued wall to wall buildings. In contrast, stands out the large brick coloured Casa dei Mercanti (house of rich merchant). This is on the south side, gets more sun. Beautifully crenallated with majestic arches on the floor level and a double window arch on the upper floor, marks a significant architectural design.

Northern side is the high bell tower, a characteristic of most European towns to keep a constant mark of the day and time of the year. The most charming monument here is the Madonna Verona, Fountain of Madonna (1368) in the centre where tourists and locals can relax their tired legs or a place for the children to play and frolic.

The variety of colours, architectural plans and a market full of colourful and artistic face masks, scarves, fruits and candy stalls were an melange of contrasts!

Bangle Bazaar near Charminar, Hyderabad.

Street shops near Charminar

Right next to the historic and majestic Charminar, is the ever popular chudi or bangle bazaar. To date, the over crowded street and tight row of shops presents a claustrophobic and buzzing atmosphere. It’s English name is a translation of two words: char means 4, minar means minaret. This imposing mosque, predominantly in Islamic architecture was built in 1591 by erstwhile Nizam rulers of Qutb Shahi dynasty. Dare to climb up…its more than 150 steps!

The surrounding predominantly Muslim area caters mainly to bridal accessories like shimmering textiles, embroidered sarees, and fancy jewellery and lac bangles.

Barenplatz in Berne, Switzerland.

Federal Legislative Building, Berne. Switzeraland

Federal Legislative Building, Berne. Switzerland

Summer or winter, sun or snow. The weekly market fill the streets from Barenplatz  to the opposite side, Bundeshaus square. The entire area spreads from the Berne Bahnhoff station to the majestic Federal Assembly building. The market has stalls of fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers and assorted bread, well situated to feed the hungry commuters alighting from the nearby train station.

The backdrop of the stately building with the towering green domes, sprinkled with lines of golden paint and a decorated frontal façade of pillars presents an aura! The west wing was started in 1852, and the east wing was added in 1884. A total of 38 Swiss artists /architects are responsible for its creation, chief architect being Hans Willem Auer.

Blois, France.

Ville de Jacobins, near weekly market,Blois France

Ville de Jacobins, near weekly market,Blois France

The medieval town of Blois, that was once the playground for archery, relaxation and sporting events for the aristocrats, was much destroyed in WW2 . With much restoration of its classic stone buildings the town has sprung back onto the tourist itinerary and cycling event track.

The weekly market shifts from one area to another thus covering the entire town and supporting its residents. The vendors move their stalls and produce each day. Bread, cheese, and coffee tables are plenty.

Ville de Blois Les Jacobins stands at the other quieter end of the town market. A solid square building in soft toned stone and characteristic sloping, dark coloured roof marks a statement. Recently the place has been converted to a museum.

What did you think about this new series? Any suggestions?


All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2015) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer



Palampur Tea Gardens: Journal Notes

Palampur Tea Gardens: Journal Notes

Quick Facts:

Where: Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, India

Elevation: 4,829 ft.

Visited: November 2014

How to reach : Nearest railway station is Pathankot (Punjab border). Nearest airport is Ghaggal, Himachal Pradesh. A number of private and HRTC buses have a good road network.

Best time of the year: March to June as a summer retreat. November to February as winter resort and activities.

Accomodation: Number of home stays, Government Tourism guest houses, Tea Bud, Bundla Estate stay, budget hotels and for a classic residence – Norwood Green.

Things to see /do: Visit tea gardens of HP Tourism and Bundla Estate, scenic Botanic garden, temples of Chamunda Devi and Baijnath, Andretta town, Rhododendron flower forests on nearby routes. Check out winter sport activities in nearby areas.

If you wish to escape into the lap of Mother Nature, stroll through tea gardens, view the Dhauladhar snow capped peaks and savour Kangra cuisine: Palampur beckons you.’

Prompted by this advertisment, we enjoyed a relaxed holiday here. As usual, visited the markets. Sharing my journal notes with you.

Show stoppers:

1. Bundla Tea Estate / Himachal Tourism Board Tea Estates

Palampur is known as the ‘Tea capital of North India’.

Misty mornings, dew drops hanging on fresh green leaves, undergrowth of thick woody stems and a canopy of lush green tea bushes. Mesmerizing, relaxing, surreal. No wonder Palampur is known as ‘Tea capital of North India’. A quiet getaway from the city noises and pollution.

The Bundla tea estate is managed by three generations of the Butail family. They own vast plantations. Living on their estate in a beautiful English built villa, the family owns extensive tea gardens. However, their humble and and friendly nature is widely known in Palampur. Check out their home stay at Bundla estate.

Nearby are the HP Tourism Board tea gardens – equally sprawling, picturesque and perfect for a refreshing morning walk. Feel the cold mountain air touching your face in winter, or during April and May stop by to capture photos of plantation workers with traditional baskets on their back, busy plucking fresh leaves.

Gifted with clear fresh water streams crisscrossing everywhere and a high altitude, the British found a perfect spot to grow tea bushes and enjoy the hill station atmosphere. Planted here by Dr. Jameson, a botanist in the region, this Orthodox Chinese variety of tea makes a unique gold brew. And so it gets its name: Kangra Gold Tea ( from Kangra valley). This is a green tea and is noted for its bountiful health benefits.

For more information check this :


2. Tea Co-operative Society

Visitors are welcome for a viewing at the  co-operative society, on the outskirts of the town. Architecturally, the building stand out. A brick and stone building in buff colour and red border, a slanting roof to withstand winter snowfall, it is a good place to begin understanding all about Tea.

Inside there are large and small rooms for sorting, drying and withering of fresh tea leaves. Wooden crates and gunny sacks can be seen around, used for packing. Machinery is relatively new. Tea owners bring their crop here for sale.The process of collection, sorting, withering, grading and packaging of the tea leaves takes place after June. Finally, tea is ready sent to and auctioned in Calcutta – the largest auction site!

Palampur Tea Co-operative Society

Palampur Tea Co-operative Society

3. Buttico Emporium and Kullu shawls

If you have forgotten to bring your winter wear ( like I did, on purpose) snuggle up in the traditional Kullu shawls. These are hand-woven. Typical Kullu shawls have geometric patterns on both ends of the shawl, using bright colours like red, yellow, majenta, green and orange. These are made by dyeing the yarn. Himachali men have their own fashion statement – the Kullu Topi or cap. It is round on the sides and flat on the top. Designs with bright colours adorn the cap border.

Kulu caps and shawls

Kulu caps and shawls

Made of Angora, Pashmina or light wool Kullu shawls are world reputed and much desired. Stop and shop!

4. Farm stay, farming and vegetable markets

Most of the rural locals own small land and live in mud /cement houses. Life is simple – fresh air, water and home-grown vegetables. Education is considered top priority. Exercise is cleaning home, tilling the land or walking to the nearest town or community centres for markets and events.

On one such bus journey, we alighted at a town to interact with the women folk tending their home gardens. Stories of tilling soil, a failed harvest, taking loans to buy new seeds, winter weather woes and so on….But, finally, with experience and little community help they won the battle.

Tilling the land in rural Palampur

Tilling the land in rural Palampur

A lesson learned – experimenting and patience gives a good harvest.

Harvesting potatoes

Harvesting potatoes

5. Andretta town: Pottery Magic

Searching for glazed pottery? Unique shapes? Blissful, remote holiday? Head outwards to Andretta town. See the famous Pottery and craft centre.

Norah Richards, a British lady first lived here with her husband and built an English style cottage. Later painter /sculptor Shobah Singh moved here from Lahore. His family, till date, continue to make variety of pottery ( sold at retail outlets and Fab India stores) and teach and manage the centre, thus providing employment to the region and promoting the artistic talents.

Why not sign up for a 3 month intensive pottery workshop?

Glazed Pottery -Andretta, Palampur

Glazed Pottery -Andretta, Palampur Courtesy: Internet Photo

But there’s more than just the market for Tea, shawls and pottery.

Head to the main bus stand. Buy your souvenir Kangra Gold Tea packs from the corner shops. Visit the adjacent crowded street market. From a sewing needle to bundles of colourful wool, winter clothes, kitchen utensils and ladies fashion garment, plus tucked into their midst are Punjabi style Dhabbas ( street food places). Sit on wooden stools or plastic chairs, feel the aromas of fresh cooked food and see the over sized aluminium vessels filled with potato curry or mixed vegetable curry. Enjoy stove hot ghee dripping cauliflower parathas or  Kangra Kadhi -Chawal . Or drink tea like the locals do.

Local brew tea

Local brew tea

Palampur has it all – picturesque scenery, quiet pace of life, fresh food and water (and Tea packets!), art and craft and friendly locals.

Aren’t you ready to book your train journey? Don’t forget to bring back a packet of Kangra Gold Tea and plenty of stories to share. 

 All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2015) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer.