This article is part of a regional reporting project in partnership with GoUNESCO, a UNESCO New Delhi initiative.
Visitors in Jaipur may be surprised to find store after store in every space imaginable in the heart of the city that one bazaar area leads to yet another bazaar, then another, then another… It seems, a simple activity as “going to the market” is an endless loop on itself.
Jaipur is divided into two, the Old City and the New City, by a massive pink wall. Whatever is inside the wall is Old Jaipur, and whatever is outside is New Jaipur. It is safe to say that whatever lies inside the wall gives a story on how the region was built into Jaipur, and what lies outside is a testament to how Jaipur was built into the city that it is today.
That being said, the oldest bazaars in Jaipur are built inside the wall. The Indian continent, being part of the legendary Silk Road that linked Asia and Europe, is a sight to many ancient trading places. It is not unusual to meet merchants manning stores with histories that go as far back as the 18th century, or merchant families that expect their children to follow the same profession. Entering the Old City, you will find yourself immersed in a somewhat overwhelming array of choices with an overwhelming “pressure” to recognize a merchant’s presence. It is not “pressure” as we know it today, though, but good old “marketing.” It’s just how things have been working here, so patience from the visitor is appreciated.
All bazaars are interconnected and while the whole of Jaipur is famous for its textiles, each bazaar area has its unique character (i.e., is known for products it offers):
Bapu Bazaar: for leather shoes (most popular items sold are made from camel skin), local perfumes, and textiles.
Indira Bazaar: for new and used electronics, and home furnishings.
Johari Bazaar: for jewelry, sarees, silver items, and textiles.
Kishanpol Bazaar: for textiles.
Mirza Ismail (M.I.) Road: for blue pottery, brass items, jewelry, and wood items. It is also famous for its traditional restaurants and street food.
Nehru Bazaar: for traditional attire.
Ramganj Bazaar: for local shoes.
Sanganer Village: for block printing, blue pottery, and handmade paper.
Tripolia Bazaar: bangles, carpets, ironware, marble carving, small souvenirs, textiles, and utensils.
It is easy to walk through these bazaars as they arranged in a loop. Here is the Google Map link for your reference: https://goo.gl/maps/Vym3i1PoNjJ2.
- Why it’s a must to visit local bazaars while in Jaipur: You may get overwhelmed with the sights, sounds, and smells, but personally I find it the best way to experience Jaipur. No other grand structure can replicate this living museum!
- As with any country in the world: do not quickly assume. Make sense of the why behind the what first and while you’re at it, get lost and find yourself. Happy travels! 🙂
P.S. The keys to sustainable travels are universal: take public transportation | stay in accommodations where cooking is allowed (private or shared, it doesn’t matter) | walk as much as you can | wake up early | stay away from guidebooks | immerse yourself in local language, culture and history | visit local cafés | know that the possibilities are endless | listen to your gut❤