Tag Archives: Travel

Fresh market tales

Post Cards from Tonga: Life on an Island

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If you’ve heard the name Tonga, you will immediately think of  deepest blue seas, soft sandy beaches, and swaying coconut fronds! Are’nt most islands like that? Well, yes and no. Each place is unique and Tonga in the Pacific Ocean is where you can swim with the enormous, yet gentle migrating whales! So informs P.

Well, after a BIG swim P decided to head to the local Nuku’Alofa market to find some fresh local vegetables. Maybe a walk in the sunshine would dull the bobbing in her head due to boat rides.

Underwater Mother Whale and calf, Tonga.

Here are some photos for a slice of Polynesian life.

From hand-made woven Pandanus leaf baskets, to Tapa mats, bunches of ripe bananas, tuber vegetables to whale-bone artistry, sea shell artifacts the Nukuálofa Tongan market has it all. Crowded and buzzing like all other markets, there seems to be a carefree calm spirit. Maybe the Sea (Moana) watch’eth and protect them all.

Bunches of yellow – green bananas are major produce, being tropical wholesome fruit. Hmmm.. do they use the oblong leaves of the plant ? In India, eating on the banana/plantain leaf is a traditional feature, in Malaysia fish and rice are cooked in small leaf pockets called ketupat. 

The long, brown tuber roots are Taro -the only local grown vegetable. Taro is much revered in Polynesian culture. Nothing else grew here. Washed and cleaned the root is hammered into a loose reddish white paste and has a mild flavour.

With the coming of colonials and recent migrants exotic vegetables like cabbage, tomatoes and lettuce, Chinese leafy vegetables find their place alongside local produce.

 

Coconut trees grow in sandy soil and need plenty of water, thus commonly found on most islands. Almost every part of the the tree finds use. There are many stories woven around the coconut tree, though each culture has its own version.

The coconut tree legend

Being an island, life in Tonga revolves around the Sea. The Moana is deeply revered. Ancient Polynesians were great navigators who traveled the high swells to hunt for whales and other fish, that was staple diet. They used the night sky and stars as their compass.

Effectively then, womenfolk busied themselves in making artifacts from whalebone, wood and sea treasures. Fancy a big sea shell carving? Or a musical clinking chime of seas shell to  hang in your home garden? Polynesian wood mask carving and bowls would make a treasured souvenir too! Besides promoting local Art.

You can’t miss these stalls at the market. THAT is what attracts the global visitor ensuring a peek into local culture. Special fine woven mats Ta’óvala worn by men and womenfolk are tied at the waist for ceremonies or funerals. Made with strips of thick coarse Pandanus leaves and patterned with a distinct red border it can take up to 2-3 months of preparation and weaving. They are generally passed from one generation to another.

See the starched paper or beaten leaves with Aboriginal drawings? Mostly sea creatures like turtles, fish, mermaids, Sea God and waves are sketched and inked.

What then is life on an island? Away from buzz of city pressure. In reverence with Nature, listening to the sound of the Sea, of sunrise and moon rise making poetry in the sky, of soft steps on the sand making temporary foot marks in time, of scanning the coast for the swish of fish tails, of communal celebrations of Life.

Yes! Don’t you , the city dweller dream of it?

Have you come across any cultural story in the Polynesian islands? Do share with us readers.

 

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Beachfront Weekend Market at Manly, Sydney

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Blue skies, warm weather, a long weekend in April were the perfect conditions to enjoy a day out at Manly beach, north Sydney. ( Yes, Sydney ‘Time Out’ listed its weekend markets, which was a bonus). Excitement and anticipation swelled as we waited in the long snaking queues at Circular Quay Ferry Wharf along with other tourists and Sydney siders for a ferry ride across the harbour.

At Manly wharf, eager holiday crowds descended on to the main street, heading towards the blue sea and surf. This quaint suburb had its very own distinct architecture. Art deco buildings of 1800 -1900’s had been given a fresh paint, buildings at street corners were shaped angular and balconies were round shaped. The main promenade or ‘The Corso’ has had multiple redevelopments. The local Council takes pride and interest in promoting local culture and heritage, which in turn stimulates business and tourism. The weekend market is one such project.

We passed many shops selling ice creams, sun hats, sunglasses and Billabong surf and beach wear. There were  travel agents selling flight brochures, a Cole’s supermart well stocked with groceries, and some other sundry items.

In the 1860’s there were just two or three hotels here and few cafes along the sea front. Today, Manly is a rich and bustling tourist suburb with many more charming beachfront bars and restaurants. White shade giving parasols and outdoor chairs made for a picture perfect scenic seafront.

Away from this frenzy quietly tucked away on Sydney street, was the colourful weekend market. With so many people there…it sure was a buyer’s and browser’s haven!

Care for a Hawaiian shirt or hand-made beaded jewellery? Soft smelling soaps or Art deco posters? The market had something for everyone! Else…head out to the azure blue waters and soft sands just across.

I took a carefree slow walk, peering almost at each stall. The open air market had a mixed smell – sea breeze mingling with aroma of roasted coffee beans wafting from the nearby cafes. How intoxicating! Stalls displayed a variety of loose printed shirts, beachwear in white, blue and coral colours, sunglasses, books and exclusive beeswax paper used to cover food items . There was handmade bead jewellery, bracelets of shells and raffia strings. Catering to the hungry crowds – the makeshift mobile vans at the far end of the street turned into fast selling food stalls. Caramel, boysnberry and pistacchio Gelato, Turkish Gozleme that are spinach and cheese wraps, burgers and sandwiches, hot fries, ham strips and Mexican nachos. “No one goes hungry. Come on, tuck in” called the vendors.

I settled in for a cappuccino and some handmade hazelnut chocolates. Hmmm…aromatic and the crunch complemented each other.

Want a Hawaiian print shirt? A soothing scented hand-made soap? Or souvenirs and paintings from locals ? Or just have a chat with one of the stall holders and hear about their way of life. Aren’t markets a great place to walk and talk?

Visit: http://www.timeout.com/sydney/shopping/manly-markets to know more and plan your trip.

Smelling the fresh seaside air, listening to live music in the background, smiling at children licking their ice creams while frolicking around water fountains, around this vibrant market was just so relaxing. I carried no bag, no intentions to buy.

But what is a place if you do not interact with its people? So…I introduced myself to the man behind the crafted books. “My name’s Bob, I’m a retired engineer” he said in thick Australian accent extending a friendly handshake. “Look, I have something special for you, Indian lady” he said as we exchanged more notes. ” Here is a lovely Indian dictionary for you, can you read it to me?” …..And as we re read…he turned pages to the discrete carved out hollow within! ” This is where you can hide your cash and put the book on the library shelf! ” he smiled and insisted he gifts me the book safe.

 

The lady at next stall was selling sweet-scented hand-made soaps and candles. “Making these is therapy for me, on weekdays I work as a Prison Manager” she said. “‘ The job is tough and compelling.” She has been a regular seller here for past two years and enjoys the market’s ambience and summer sea breeze. She is getting queries from customers for more product range and is planning to set up an online business. “Happy Easter” we wished each other.

I soon mingled into the ”other” seaside crowd. The soft sands, thundering waves and frothy foam seemed so magical. At one end were professional surfers and paddlers, at the other children and non swimmers gleefully wet their feet with froth and cool waters.

Manly – a slice of life for each holiday maker. Shopping street and cafes, the market and the seaside. What’s your interest?Come, live it up!

For another Sydney market, at the scenic Sydney harbour see here

Have you been to a beachfront market place? What curios caught your eye there? Do leave your comments below.

Post Cards from Pune: Historic Tulsi Baug Market

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History, tradition, crowds! That sums up this market in Pune, India. From being a barter trade market, to a temple area adjoined with shops, to becoming a bustling economic zone and a tourist spot …Tulsi Baug market has evolved generously over the years.

Apart from the crowded streets lined with everything households need, the area evokes old charm and rings bells of the Peshwai buildings and wadas. Carved with timber ceilings and lattice railings, low arches and high airy balconies they dot the surrounding areas that were once home to the ministers and officials. Peshwas ruled and designed Pune territories under the rule of majestic warrior Sivaji Maharaj.

Bajirao road, Laxmi road and Shanipur road are the trio of entry points to this centrally located market area. Today each road caters to specific sale of items – vegetables and fruits, kitchen needs, puja items and traditional clothes.

At the heart of the area stands the Ram-Sita temple, built around 1756 by the then ruling Peshwa. Its 150 m golden conical shikhar or spire can be prominently seen from the adjacent streets. History and architecture students stand in awe to admire the simple grandeur of wooden pillar work and lime stucco work  ( the temple is now under renovation and re structure).The surrounding temple area or wada, tucked interior and away from the bustling street market exudes a calm, soothing atmosphere. Once abundant with Tulsi (Basil) plants in the gardens, it is now home to shops selling traditional items. Two smaller temples and a Nagarkhana (music store room) are part of the temple complex. Brass lamps, artefacts, antique door bells and knobs, traditional kitchen utensils and brass, iron woks and spoons as well as fancy toran or door decorations made of plastic flowers or wool fill every inch of the tiny shops around the temple complex.

Old meets new, nostalgia meets novelty, Art meets History!

Out through the low wooden darwaza, onto the buzzing streets outside one is greeted with congestion, traffic and chaos (especially during the festive days!) The delightful, historic place suddenly becomes a nightmare! Beware of pickpockets and curt behaviour of people!

Bajirao road street market caters to clothing – cheap woollen shawls and socks ( yes, Pune did get cold to 12- 15 degrees.), eco-friendly cloth bags or pishwi in different sizes, traditional parkar- polka or girl’s long skirt/blouse, dhoti, jhabba, topi or traditional men’s attire worn by local rural population from Satara, Sangli regions.

Many shops in adjoining streets cater to puja lamps, cotton wicks, decorated seating stools, wedding clothes, fancy gift bags or potli and festival jewellery.

Sankranti, is a harvest festival celebrated in January, heralding the Sun’s northern movement. Traditionally it is celebrated with exchange of til -gul   

and married women dress in quintessential black saree and young girls in black and gold parkar polka, adorning themselves with unique tilache dagine (sesame and sugar jewellery). Young girls and boys under 5 years of age are showered with til halwa and sugar beads. Making of this festive jewellery is a dying art ( tiny poppy or sesame seed is covered in white or green coloured sugar coating).

Tulsi Baug market is THE place for such traditional items.

In a quick turn around to the crossing I spotted the famous Chitale Bandhu store, famous for its Baaker Wadi, Pedha and Srikhand. For the Puneri non-resident Indians living in far away USA and Australia – THIS is the store! They must stop by for the delicacies or pack and carry home.

Long live Pune traditions and culture, the seat of Marathas and Peshwas is held up high with every new young generation that aims to hold on to its past, in this era of modernism.

Tulsi Baug holds a special place in the heart of every Puneri, and we hope the municipal corporation sets adequate funds for treasure and unique history.

 

 

 

 

 

Summer in Canada:Maple Syrup,Summer Fruit and Outdoor Kiosks

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It’s summer time in the Northern hemisphere. On our recent visit to far away Canada we filled our stomach with lush summer fruit: golden peaches with hints of red blush, tangy sweet strawberries and juice dripping plums. Slurp! slurp. Snow covered streets was a thing of the past season.

London, Ontario

An easy walk down Talbot street, at corner of King street, London Ontario, was the iconic Covent market. Established in 1845,the brown stone building is a popular landmark. It’s large clock dial at the entrance, high ceiling and noveau glass panes make the architecture of this two storey building. The ground floor is home to local vendors, some who are here for more than 20 years, everyday! From gourmet cheese from south Ontario, fresh seasonal groceries, award-winning meat cuts to locally prepared breads and pastries, the market hall caters to all. Come summer, there’s even a special weekend outdoor market in addition to indoor stalls. ‘Want a special Maple syrup, Canadás very own?’ inquired a vendor, noticing my touristy attire and inquisitiveness. The early Aboriginal settlers taught the arriving Europeans (Canadians) to harvest maple sap from the trees, boil it in clay pots and use syrup to lace sweet treats.

‘Coffee and raisin bread?’ asked my friend. we quickly opted for the outdoor wooden benches at the street level, rather than the quietude of the first floor indoor coffee shop. ‘Just like other Canadians…soak up the sun, while it lasts, listen to the summer time live music bands playing in the background’ I chirped with a smile.

Courtesy: Coventmarket.com/outdoors

Montreal: Marche BonSecours

The old city cobbled walk was picturesque and informative, magnificent stone buildings dotting both sides of the street. On Rue St. Paul Est (yes, official language is French, in this Provence) the Marche BonSecours stood majestically. We stood in awe at this architectural grandeur!

The building almost occupied the entire street, perfectly symmetrical on each side of its imaginative central line.The six Roman columns make an imposing front central facade above which a triangular plaque bears the name of the market. We soon learned about the Palladian style architecture (perfect building symmetry, perspective in all round view and values) brought here by British architect William Footner. He copied from Roman and Greek styles so true to the time period. The central dome and rotunda was so high…almost touching the clear blue sky!

A very popular market in the 1800’s, it served local and regional population with produce coming from far away. After being shut down as a market in 1964, it served as Government office. In recent times, the large central hall and majestic first floor rooms and corridor are often rented out for community projects, marriage functions and exhibitions. It’s no longer functions as a produce market.

To cater to the summer tourists and locals (schools close for summer holidays) nearby streets stretched out with a variety of stalls. Souvenirs, exotic sugarcane juice, rows of Maple syrup, locally painted canvas Art, handcrafted jewellery, candy floss and ice cream treats, straw bags, handcrafted dolls…the street market was brimming had a very vibrant mood!

Ottawa

Very near the Parliament buildings and historical buildings in Ottawa is popular, bustling ByWard marketplace. With over 400 unique shops that fill this area, there is something for everyone! There is NEVER a dull moment here, come winter or summer. If not to shop, at least we can capture a memento photo at the iconic signpost, I thought.

The red stone buildings here have much history. In the yesteryear they were private residences of many officials and merchants. Today they have become business houses: shops, cafes, restaurants, bakeries and garden equipment markets. By the day the place attracts many a home maker, casual tourist, office goer looking for quick bite.

But as the sun sets …the sidewalk cafe, restaurants and beer shops attract another set of consumers! At times though…. sadly the street is strewn by glass bottles thrown by drunk people, it’s a place for small time robbery and fights too.

 

‘Don’t forget the maple syrup bottles,there is a special kiosk here’ called out a vendor. I noticed the ‘fleur’ blue and white flag, indicating the flag of the region.

My friend pointed out to some fresh strawberries and Rhubarb. Those reddish-purple stalks were unique, I thought. We picked up a bunch to make rhubarb compote. Then move on to sweet treat and cross cultural friendship hugs. The Óbama cookies reminded us of cross border friendship:) For the sugar treat  the big French Bakery was a perfect place.

It was time to head home, taking back memories and photographs of the city markets. It was time to ponder about  culture, food and seasons in lands far beyond. It was time to value what we have in hand and what we get…beyond.

Au revoir…till we meet again.

A Flower Colour Burst at Monda Market

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”Flowers always make people happier, cheerful and add

         colour to life. They are Nature’s medicine for the soul.”

Marigold flower – Orange blooms

There’s no other market in Hyderabad that stocks truckloads of flowers for sale, except Monda market. (I don’t mean the Lilies, Roses and cut stem flowers). This market caters to the very Indian at heart – flowers for garlands, hair decoration and puja offerings.

Opening at 6 am everyday of the year (no holidays!) it’s the premier, overflowing marketplace adjacent to the fruit and vegetable market. Every festive season flower stalls swell to meet the enormous demand. Prices soar almost double and so do the people’s voices.

We went shopping early at 7:00 am. Mounds of loose marigold flowers, rose petals, paan( betel leaf), toran(door decorations), hardy brown coconuts were all being organized onto the makeshift pedestal stalls. Shopkeepers were in a frenzy ahead of the busy Friday morning, unfolding the moist red cloth tied around baskets to keep everything fresh.

There I began taking photos as usual, or striking a quick chat in the midst of this shopping maze. THAT distraction was enough to misplace my bag full of mango leaves and other puja necessities! Phew!

Today, being a puja day during the month of Shravan, loose flowers  were selling at Rs. 80 -Rs. 100 per kilo prices, higher than usual of Rs.50 – 60. Marigold, Aster, Zinnia and rose petals are in high demand during this time used for making door decorations and elaborate wedding pandals as well as puja offering.

Here is our hero for the day- A  young and smart shopkeeper with experience from his childhood days made a has been beautiful toran for us from fresh palm leaves in a jiffy. Just snip the palm leaf with a sharp blade, a twist here – a turn there – and behold!

 

 

How about some flower garlands for your hair, Madam? said this shopkeeper and wanted me to take his photo as he held up the jasmine and rose malai. The contrast of colours of the tightly hand knotted flowers and the perfume of  jasmine…..ahhh! was a beautiful invitation whether to the Lord or to a young Romeo 🙂

Heading to the adjacent fruit market, we bought 5 types of fruit for the puja and some paan.

Till then, hoping you will visit a crowded flower market to brighten your day and mood. Share your mood with us as you smell the flowers, wherever.

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2017) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scorching Summer, Date Palms, Al Ain market.

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                    Sunshine all the time,

                    Makes a desert. ( Arab Proverb).

Driving past the sand dunes from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain city, last month when temperature soared above 40 degrees, was certainly not the best time. With a visit to the date farms and Al Ain market on the list… we had to meet the harsh weather, just like the Bedouins!

The drive took less than two hours, past the sand dunes in differing hues. Near the Al Nahyan Jahili museum, is the lush green curated (UNESCO site) palm plantation. With over 1000 palms and 50 varieties grown here, it was a blessing to stand under the shade of the fronds. Braving the sun, we explored the different plantations on either side of the central passageway. The traditional falaj irrigation system provides the required amount of water released as needed.

Expressway fro, Abu Dhabi to Al Ain

What a treat and unique experience it was as we plucked fresh crunchy, semi-ripe dates! Hanging in clusters of 10-20 fruit, the sugary fruit quickly saturated us. There were plenty fallen on the soft sandy soil. Crunch, crunch, crunch……and finally a burp!

Crunchy, fresh dates – best eaten raw.

The local grocer market at nearby Mina centre, is just a drive round the corner. The low-rise building was almost hidden from view. Don’t expect an open air souk, with goats or camel standing there. For that, visit the Camel Souk.

The airy covered and ventilated market area is quite large with shops on either side and a large central corridor for easy flow of customers and goods. The vendors are locals, immigrants settled here from coastal India, Philippine, neighbouring Oman and Sudan, but no Emirati shopkeepers. A friendly Emirati, clad in his traditional long white Kandoura, helped me choose the most succulent dates and nudged me into buying 5 kilo! ‘They are good, good…season fresh now’ he said.

There were plenty of stalls selling dry fish and sea food like cuttlefish, fish ball cakes, dry sea weed, fish crackers… produce brought in from coastal Oman and Kerala in India. These are a sought after delicacy among the Emirati population, who otherwise prefer camel meat and poultry.

Delicate woven straw baskets, aluminium trays filled with season’s dry dates like Barhi, Niloufer and local Al Ain specialties were aplenty. Most vendors were Keralites who had settled here many years ago, working on farms owned by locals.

I struck a good bargain, as a fellow Indian and offered AED 13 Dirham per kilo. These dates he explained ‘were season’s fresh, not dipped in any sugar syrup and unprocessed. And no packaging too’. He offered me 3-4 different varieties of dates to taste. There… I was burping again!

It was time to refresh with some cool Labaan, a popular yoghurt drink with enough salts and dairy to refresh you on a hot day. Small air-conditioned shops nearby catered to needs of the shopkeepers and buyers. Fresh vegetables like lettuce, mint, coriander, green leafy vegetables and bananas, melons and papaya – mostly grown in nearby greenhouse farms made their way to this market. The refrigerator kiosk was filled with dairy products.

Carrying plastic bags filled with fresh dates for friends and family, it was time to bid goodbye to the city market. We left richer – with bag loads of fruit and a deeper knowledge of the summer conditions that ripen the fruit. Locals briefed us about the nutritional content and importance of providing sustenance to those tired, weary desert Bedouins. No wonder then Mother Maryam was advised to ”shake that palm towards you, and the dates will fall and feed you” as mentioned in the Holy book.

 

Have you been to a date plantation ? Share your experience. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Postcards from Nagpur: City Market and a Town Market

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I take you through a photo journey of two markets, one in the city and other in a small town. One in Nagpur city, other on its outskirts on the highway in Kanhan. One brings out quiet, authoritative mood, the  other a lively, colourful ambience. Oranges, the winter’s bounty was  abundant in both, yet the city market stocked the round, unblemished oranges neatly piled high. In the street, roadside stalls, pushers and peddlars made brisk business.

Situated in central India, Nagpur is not only the winter capital of the state of Maharashtra but also the orange capital of India. It has the right winter temperatures, light rainfall and proper soil to grow this fruit. Famed for its juicy, thin skinned, sweet oranges this home grown mandarin fruit finds its way to local markets as well as the international stalls. Haldiram’s, a popular food enterprise has specially made an ‘Orange Barfi’ a boiled milk and sugar syrup based sweet dedicated to this city!

Photo courtesy: http://fnw.com/everestorangebarfi

Behind the Nagpur railway station stretches the fruit market. Logistic proximity to the trains that criss cross entire India, with Nagpur as its route centre makes this site more convenient than SitaBuldi market, which caters more to clothing and cotton products.

In the winter season when fruit is bountiful, the best crop is often sent to overseas markets or other parts of India. Sadly, the inferior quality often finds its way to the streets and push carts in Nagpur city, lament the locals. Prices range from Rupees 120 -180 per dozen, and are in fact nothing cheaper than other city price.

In contrast, here is a street market in the small town of Kanhan.

This industrial town takes its name from the river Kanhan that flows  through. Kanhan lies on the state highway route from Nagpur to Pench Tiger Reserve. Every weekday the market sets up in different sub areas, thus known by names of the week ‘Som bazzar, Mangal bazaar etc, Wasn’t I lucky to be at the right place at right time!

Street stalls, cycle peddlars, kiosks and push carts all made for a dramatic and hectic scene. Mounds of green peas, white cauliflower buds tight in their green flowery stalks, clusters of neatly arranged ginger and garlic pods sat on jute mats on the street.

In the midst of it all, the mild winter sun made a peep in and out of the clouds.

In and out wandered women in traditional border Nagpuri sarees and bright synthetic modern sarees. Old locals clad in dhoti or shirt and trousers haggled over prices to seek the best bargains.

As my camera took the better of me, passers by looked strangely..’click, click, click.’ Just one more, one more. Finally, a young vendor posed long enough for me, and I snapped up four kilo pea pods in return. Phew! what a task lay ahead to shell the pods for those little, crunchy, sweet peas on my train journey home! 🙂

For a spicy Nagpur style peas snack click here

Peas vendor

Nagpur ….I loved all the fresh vegetables and cotton dress materials much more..than I did your oranges. Didn’t get time to taste that ever so popular Barfi too. So next year, juicy, sweet Nagpur oranges will be bought fresh..right in my city!

Have you ever been to Nagpur? What did you see or buy?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2017) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer.

Retracing the Nawabi steps at Muzzam Jahi Market, Hyderabad

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Imagine baskets brimming with Persian fruit, women in black burqhas clutching shopping bags, children running between corridors of the stone building housing the market, vendors and errand boys carrying baskets for the Nawab’s family and friends. And above this all stood the clock tower of the Muzzam Jahi market in quiet aristocracy!

Sadly, it’s all gone now. The splendid market is just a piece of history and architecture.

But don’t lose heart. In spite to the distance from my part of the city (the market is located in Koti, Hyderabad) braving the chaotic traffic of honking cars, buses and cyclists, I was determined to visit and relive a piece of history. In fact, to take delight in the ‘Famous Ice Cream’ and buy some Dilkhush biscuits at the nearby Karachi Bakery were important too.

Majestic Muzzam Jahi market building and tower

Majestic Muzzam Jahi market building and tower

m-jahi-right-arcade

 

The Nizams did everything in grandeur, this market too was built with utmost care. It was constructed during the reign of the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan in 1935, and was named after his second son Moazzam Jah. Originally meant to be a fruit market, it soon turned out to be a place where one could find just about anything — fruits, vegetables, flowers, groceries, earthen pots, arms and ammunitions….yes that’s true! And paan, ice-cream, dry fruits, hookahs and ittar.

The fruit vendors, have been moved to Kothapet market and Monda market, others had stalls on the adjoining roads. Mounds of seasonal juicy oranges and soft. green custard apples lay scattered on the street floors.

street shop selling custard apple fruit

street shop selling custard apple fruit

As I walked into the central circular area, there was a round building lined with shops. From here, the semi- circular stone corridor was almost breath taking! What precision and calculation of exact height and width of the stone columns and the arches made this an architectural masterpiece! At both ends of the corridor a helix staircase lead to an upper open floor. The market building was made of brown stone brought from central Deccan plateau. The main tall clock tower at the entrance faced outwards. Pigeons seem to co exist with humans and vegetables in the central courtyard. Shopkeepers regularly scattered grains for the fluttering birds. Well, spot them here if you can.

central-courtyard-round-shops

Retracing the steps of Nawabs, their women folk and dozen children, I softly stepped up the stone corridor, peeking in and out of the numerous arches. Maybe a love story opened here? Romance,  demure fleeting glances, giggling girls hiding behind the columns, young men darting a glance? Imagine.

market-corridor

Today the wooden shop doors, looked vintage. Some were painted in a myriad of bright colours. Blue, brown, green, yellow and white – some shut, some half open, some begging for renovation. The interior space was deep, dark and air stone cooled. Out of the seventy odd shops, only a few remain functional today as grain stores, vegetable shops, oil traders and a few hookah and ittar shops. Chatting with a few Muslim fruit sellers they remembered how everyone lived here in harmony since past 50-70 years.

shop-door-painted

Exotic fruit. That was what the market was initially famous for. Hyderabad being in central India made it an important trade route. The Nawabs had elaborate kitchens and matching Khandaani cuisines that were renowned in the Arabic and European aristocracy. Figs and Narangi from Iran and Persia, Dates from the Arabic region, apples from Afghanistan and Kashmir, dry fruit of badam, pista, poonji, kishmish. Olives and olive oil from Iran and Spain. A well catered market.

Lastly, it was time to find THAT Famous Ice Cream shop…yes that’s it’s name!

Located on the outer corridor facing the noisy road, it was well tucked in. Red plastic chairs and tables lay out in the open courtyard in front. One corner had stainless steel ice cream churns and large vessels to boil milk. The other side displayed an old tempting menu board. The old man and his younger son have owned this shop for over 70 years, scooping out delicious, fruity soft ice cream, to young and old, and many a romantic pair. Spoilt for choice I was. I ordered one scoop of malai anjeer (cream and figs) and another of sitaphal (custard apple) and enjoyed those melting moments of cream in the mouth. For a recipe on sitaphal see here.

Famous Ice cream menu

Famous Ice cream menu

Now won’t you follow my footsteps to this grand Hyderabad market? Tell me about your experiences, maybe at other ice cream, hookah or candy shops that still open doors to customers. Till then,  Khuda Hafiz…Bye.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

 

 

Festive Market: Light up for Deepavali

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Festive Market: Light up for Deepavali

Yes, it’s Deepavali or Diwali once again. Streets and shops are brimming with latest sarees, dresses, lamps, festive puja items, fruit and mithai and electronics. Sale! sale! Glittering gold, red and green twinkling lights and confetti decorate shop windows. There’s hurry (and pressure) to buy the latest designs – be it bumper TV or iphone….or fashion wear! Festive markets are so colourful and fun.

Deepavali, a Hindu festival of lights (deepa) is celebrated all over India with much pomp. Traditionally, festive lamps or diyas, made from baked mud /clay are lit and kept at door entrances. Large colourful Rangoli or Kolam designs dot the floor spaces at entrances of homes and shops, boxes of mithai and meva arranged in colourful baskets, boxes laced with golden trimmings sit on store shelves awaiting customers. At home, every kitchen is given a good scrub. Preparation for making traditional sweets and savoury like sev, ladoo, chakli, halwa, chirote, namkeen begins days earlier. And on the last day…the noise and sparks from fire crackers and sparklers fill the streets.

For a recipe of Besan Ladoo see here.

No wonder, this family festival brings crowds (literally) to the streets. Here are a few photos that to brighten your mood and give you a glimpse the festival.

Diwali items for sale at street Bazaar

Diwali items for sale at street Bazaar

Colourful paper lanterns for sale at street kiosk

Colourful paper lanterns for sale at street kiosk

Here are the festive mud /clay lamps that add colour and bring in ‘light’ to the doorstep.

Festive Diyas or lamps

Festive Diyas or lamps

Many stories about the festival revolve around Lord Rama, the fight of good over evil, light and wisdom over darkness. The significance of lighting the lamps itself is symbolic of removing darkness and negativity from our life and the colours of Rangoli symbolize role of colour in our daily activity.

Here is a small compilation on books, stories and Rangoli:

At home, I enjoyed making simple paper lanterns or Kandil. Soon it will be time to decorate home with earthen lamps, colourful Rangoli and prepare gift plates and Kandil for distribution to friends and family.

Home made paper lanterns

Home made paper lanterns

At centres with disabled or mentally challenged children, economically low /troubled women, jail interns and other organizations teach and sell diyas and kandil to support such groups. It’s a time to light up THEIR life, by making small sacrifices and reaching out to those in need.

 

Beautiful Aakash Kandil. Made by students of Vishwas Special School for Mentally challenged (Thane). Contact: +91.9699699486

Beautiful Aakash Kandil. Made by students of Vishwas Special School for Mentally challenged (Thane). Contact: +91.9699699486

 

                                  Happy Diwali to all my friends who are celebrating.

Don’t forget to leave your comments on how you spent Diwali.

Colourful Rangoli floor design

Colourful Rangoli floor design

 

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

Festive Market: The Elephant headed Ganesha Idols

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Come September, streets of Mumbai and Pune in western India, as well as many other cities prepare for the most loved festival Ganesha Chaturthi or Vinayak Chaturthi.  The elephant headed God Ganesha, (known by several other names)  is prayed to for prosperity and wisdom.  Amidst loud chants of ‘Ganapati Bappa Moraya’ the colourful idols that once occupied rows of shelves on street shops are lovingly bought and carried home to the altar.

Weeks before the festival day, street markets begin cleaning, making stands, preparing clay, pre booking orders, contacting artists and helpers. Soon the frenzy of activity heats up, as the festival draws near.  Idols are traditionally made with mud or clay, giving them a brown colour. During the prayers idols are smeared with sandal wood or turmeric paste. These eco-friendly idols thus make for easy visarjan or dipping into flowing water after the festival. However, Plaster of Paris (POP) is the new preferred material. It is cheaper, lighter, but certainly harmful to Nature as idols cannot dissolve in water.

Mud Ganesha idols

Mud Ganesha idols

Artists arrive to major cities, sometimes from rural homes, the festival provides a big income and a platform created by co-operative organisations. It takes many weeks of patience, dedication and exact materials and temperatures to prepare the idols. The whitish grey or brown idols are left to dry on street pavements (or shop kilns). Once dry, colours transform them magically! Turmeric yellow, leaf green, vermilion red, glittering gold, peacock green…how  beautiful the rows of Ganesha idols look standing on the street stands. And why not add some glitter, beads and fancy ornaments for a festive aura? Prices vary according to size and decorations ranging from Rs. 200 to 2 crores!

With great pomp and music, the super size idols are carried to community halls, temple foyers and public gatherings. Smaller idols bought by family members, make their way home covered by traditional silk cloth.

Super sized Ganesha idol

Super sized Ganesha idol

Now, Ganesha is known to have a great liking for food, just look at his big tummy! There are many mythological stories to support this. Festival markets are filled with plenty of fresh fruit – bananas and pomegranate being favourite. Besides garlands of flowers, rose petals, marigolds, banana stems and leaves, lotus flowers occupy every inch of floor space in the market.

It’s a frenzy of hectic activity! Loud noises of people bargaining, soft swishing of women in sarees, young children begging to choose a special idol, bright lights add to the human frenzy, screeching cars and vehicles passing by. Suddenly rises a loud chant from among the crowd ‘ Ganapati Bappa.. Moraya’ ..Salutations to the God.

All is in abundance, all in good spirit.

Flower seller

Flower seller

When a special guest comes home, the house ( or community hall) needs extra decorations and twinkling lights. Another visit to the markets before the last day – decorative lamps, earthenware pots, trinkets, bells, twinkling lights and ….just some fancy stuff!

Suddenly… an eerie quietness descends on the street and shops, on the Ganesha Chaturthi day. Action moves indoors. Prayers, social meets and abundance of festival food.

The markets will have to wait for another year.. till Ganesha visits again.

Ganesha idols in shop

Ganesha idols in shop

Have you celebrated this festival? What did you buy from the market? Do share your comments.

For another blog on Ganesha see here.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

 

 

 

 

Focus 12 : Markets as Fun, Outdoor Classroom

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Ask any young child if he or she wants an indoor or an outdoor classroom. ‘Outdoors!’ comes the instant reply. Even adults are known to be more attentive and engaging in an outdoor planned environment.

Can you recall one of your own experiences?

Many years ago, as a primary teacher, I took a Grade 3 class to the Serangoon market, Singapore. It was not just an outdoor field trip, but a planned Math lesson, with students bringing their worksheets.  Mathematics on the street, without calculators! Ever wondered how the uneducated street vendors quickly calculate prices even for 350 gms.? After completing interactions with vendors and doing additions, students then relaxed drawing scenes from their visit.

Many everyday problems require quick, approximate answers. Street-Fighting Mathematics teaches a crucial skill that the traditional science curriculum fails to develop.”
Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics, Harvard University

Once as a tourist in Toulouse, France, I noticed a Kindergarten class at the local street market. Teachers and volunteer parents were at hand. And what were the students engaged in? With peels of laughter and some noses tuned up and squeaky, they were exploring textures and smells of various vegetables. On their worksheet columns they had to draw ‘Red’ and ‘Green’ vegetables. For a back to school activity, teachers bought fresh vegetables to make ‘Vegetable Soup ‘ or Soup au Pistou.

http://www.traditionalfrenchfood.com/french-soups.html

http://www.michaelppowers.com/prosperity/stonesoup.html

Kindergarten and Primary classes often have thematic play learning areas to simulate real-life activity. eg. market store, house corner, hospital etc. Thus after an outdoor field trip, children can transfer their learning in a simulated, creative classroom environment. Can you hear the young children play  ‘I want to be the grocer’ and ‘I will be Mummy, going to the market?’

Check out story books for children: One Bean, The Tree is a Plant, The Tiny Seed, The Cherry Tree.

http://the market mystery / read aloud /youtube

http://www.vegetables-for-kids.com/

Source: Internet. Kindergarten Dramatic Play area Market scene

When children go with their parents or elders on a market visit they can engage in multi sensory activities, reducing the boredom of walking around aimlessly or running between stalls. Parents can use this opportunity to teach their young children to touch /feel/pick up vegetables, check the price, talk to the vendors, learn about plant growth and care, likes and dislikes etc. Imagine an education centre with their very own farm and market! The process from growth to care and farming tips, to the plucking and pricing of the produce to be put up on the market stall. One HUGE learning game! Not only will the diet, awareness, physical and mental activity of the school improve , but it can be a great community involvement, besides hands-on learning.

Talking about Art students – Many times we see painters set up their canvas at a river side, near monuments or in green rice fields. Have you seen someone take centre stage at a market? Isn’t it a great package to unfold about culture, food, clothes, colours and people?

A Village Market scene. Source: Internet. Cameroon Art.com

What about cooking schools and fresh markets? If you’ve been to Italy, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand or any other country for a cooking class, a visit to the local market is certainly a MUST! My own experience goes back to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Along with 6 other guests and the hostess , we were taken by tuk-tuk to the local market to buy necessary vegetables and ingredients for the class. As we picked up fresh green leafy vegetables, chillies and rice – we were told their Thai names and uses in food.
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Sydney, Australia boasts of a very popular harbour side fish market and cooking class. You guessed right! Guests are taken to the fish market to learn about the varieties, before heading to the exquisite culinary experience.

 

 

Here’s a recap of how students (and adults) benefit from a learning outdoor at a market:

1. Children get outside and more active
2. Involves hands-on thematic activities
3. Creates opportunities to learn how to handle outdoor risks safely
4. Connects children to nature/farms/people/ community in ways making deeper connections
5. Teaches children about cause and effect through sensory activity
6. Provides a holistic development and love for eco systems.

Students play chess at a Farmer's market in Alamos.

Courtesy: Internet. losalamos/.dailypost.com Students play chess at a Farmer’s market in Alamos.

All you teacher and parent readers, I do value your comments! How did you like this post? What is your experience?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

Focus 12: Types of Markets

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Markets are a common place, where goods are purchased and sold. Generally located centrally, markets need to be easily accessible by people and transport, thus soon becoming a hub of activity.

Different markets are set up for different needs: livestock, fresh vegetable and fruits, flowers, textiles and clothing and sundry items. Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, Asian Wet markets, New Zealand Art and Craft Sunday markets and Jaipur’s camel market are some examples. The type of market depends also upon the geography, logistics, the area of land cultivated and the people living nearby.

Some markets are covered, others work on open streets. Some even exist on waterways! Some are work at fixed place, some are ‘on the go’ operated using trucks or buses.

Indoor Covered Markets

In most big cities, the local municipal authorities designate an area for selling fresh produce, flowers, meat and poultry etc. The care and maintenance, infrastructure facilities for loading /unloading bays, toilet and food facilities are taken care of by the governing body. They are well covered and thus operational for longer hours and all weather conditions. The Asian Wet Markets, Mercato in Spain, Chatucheck market in Bangkok and the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul are popular.

Courtesy: Internet /La Bouqueria, Barcelona

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Covered fresh produce market in France

Street Markets

Street markets work an a fixed day and fixed street. They may be seasonal in the colder countries. Depending on the weather, street markets sell seasonal items like winter clothing, summer fruits, varieties of handmade breads, bakery products and baskets. Watch out for the general chaos, traffic, and debris on the street, especially in densely populated countries. http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/shop/where-to-shop/street-markets-and-shopping-streets

Floating Markets / Boat Markets

When a country or province is criss- crossed by canals and water ways, like in Venice, Bangkok, Srinagar or Kerala, much of the community and livelihood depends upon the use of these water ways. In Bangkok, the Ayyuthaya kings developed connecting the canals and improving life along the banks. On Dal lake, Srinagar, is India’s only floating market where the graceful boats are bedecked with the valleys flowers and fruits.

http://www.thaiwaysmagazine.com/thai_article/2505_floating_markets/floating_markets.html

http://www.phuket.com/phuket-magazine/kata-market.htm

Flea Markets

Flea markets are a great place to buy second-hand stuff, cheap stuff and old goods. Probably they began as tourists disposing their collections. However, flea markets around the world exist in every nook and corner of a city and have regular business on a particular day of the week.

Singapore Flea market, tucked in a lane near Serangoon a quiet place. Items are placed on the street itself on cardboards or cloth. One can browse old antiques, junk maps for reuse, collectibles like pipes and screws and pens, variety of paper, tea pots, old clothes and hats.

In recent times, there are more than one Flea market catering to particular items. Check out, before you head to one.

Take a look at ‘what’s hot’ in the Flea market in Goa, India.

http://www.mustseeindia.com/Goa-Flea-Market/attraction/12843

Livestock Markets

Don’t worry if you are not buying a camel, goat or sheep. Enjoy a trip to the nearest livestock market and wander among the large cages housing livestock. It can be a great place for children’s education too. Beware of the stench of animal fodder and poo!

My  visit to Al Ain ( U.A.E) camel market was a wonderful experience in Arabic culture and offered a closer look at wobbly legged camel babies. Beware! this is a dusty, noisy place with the distinct smell of camels and other livestock. This traditional souq, situated near Bawadi mall is very popular with the locals. Guides offer to take you around for a small fee of 10 -20 Dirhams, narrating camel stories.

Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s markets or direct grower’s markets are found in most countries from America, Europe, India to Sri Lanka, Australia and more. The aim is to cut off the middle men, creating opportunity for the grower /farmer to directly sell his produce on a weekly or daily basis. In India, Rythu bazaar is one such model.

As a tourist in the small town Picton, New Zealand I visited a Farmer’s market. What delight! Fresh baked breads, assorted cheese cuts, hand-made candles and soap  were the novelty, other than the usual pumpkins, avocado and fresh seasonal berries.

Fresh vegetable stall at market

Fresh vegetable stall at market

Online Markets

In keeping up with technology, welcome to the online bazaars or markets. They cater to an ever-growing demand, mostly from a younger and educated population. Maybe cheaper, easier service just using the finger tips! Gone by are the days of picking up a basket, taking a brisk walk down the street, meeting people on the way and experiencing the freshness and activity typically seen in markets.

Flower Market

A visit to a flower market is always a refreshing experience. There’s always hectic buying and selling, pruning and caring for flower bunches, a wide display of colours in every hue and the faint fragrance hanging in the air. It’s not just fresh cuts like tulips, chrysanthemum, lilies one can buy – bouquets, garlands, garden plants, seasonal bulbs planted in trays and other decorative garden items beckon the visitor.

I’ve visited the Ghazipur flower market, Delhi, Dadar flower market in Mumbai, flower markets in Europe and Amsterdam. Truly, one can just sit with a paint brush and paper, trying…only trying to match Nature. For a narrative on Delhi Flower market see here.

https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/what-to-do/shopping/amsterdam-markets/flower-market

Pak Klong Talad is Bangkok’s biggest wholesale flower market. Its crowded, colourful, hectic and a rush on all the senses. People throng the market just after midnight, as truck loads arrive. Flower bunches need quick care and action for maintaining freshness till 3.00 to 4.00 am. Early morning is the most hectic time, when business is brisk.

What other kind of markets have you visited?  What was your experience?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer