Bazaars in Manipur
Be it purchasing traditional woven clothes or any decorative handmade items, there are a plenty of options for shopping in Manipur. Although there are no big shopping malls here but Manipur’s dazzling street markets full of sound, colour, and smells of sizzling delicacies. Buying everything from affordable souvenirs to inexpensive clothes, these market places offer good bargains.
If you are a shopaholic and looking for shopping options in Manipur then there is a fascinating all women market known as the or the Nupi Keithel
in Imphal. Another very important shopping place in Imphal is the Paona Bazar
The crowded lanes of Paona Bazaar
has number of shops that sells beautiful things like hand-woven shawls, silk saris, bamboo and ivory items, and papier mache products. You can get these items at very reasonable rates. If you happen to visit this bazaar then you must definitely visit Manipur Handlooms and Handicrafts Development Corporation Sales Emporium. Here you will find some unique and valuable collection like Lanshingphee blanket, bamboo artifacts, colorful mats, Tangkhul scarf and scarf.
Khwairamband Bazaar or the Nupi Keithel
literally means Women’s Market or Mother’s market. Also known as the Ema bazaar this is Manipur’s oldest and the best known market. One of the most peculiar features of this market is that the 3000 odd shopkeepers of this market are all woman. In all the shops it is women who are selling goods. This bazaar is also one of the largest markets run by all woman in India.
You can find almost anything and everything at the Ema Bazar. Once you are in the market you will see Manipuri woman wrapped in sarong-like phaneks and scarf-like innaphis, their foreheads smeared with elegant streaks of sandal paste and their teeth discoloured from chewing kwai (betel), busy dealing with their customers. If in one corner, a woman is found knitting and selling freshly made woolen items to happy customers while in another corner a woman is busy weighing and selling a kilo of fish.
You can easily find commodities ranging from food items such as vegetables and fresh fruits, fish, meat and dried fish to local herbs to traditional costumes and woolens and clothes. Bamboo and metal items are also found in the shops.
Another very interesting thing you will notice when you visit the market is that, the bazaar consists of two sections one where handloom items of the state is sold and the other where fruits, vegetables and necessary items are sold. You will find mostly local products sold in the markets.
You will also see some strange and shockingly different food items than elsewhere sold in the markets like the wild and cultivated vegetables. The Manipuri people are die hard fish lovers. The market is also popular for selling fermented dried fish called Ngari. Being run only by women the bazaar emits a homely exuberance. Visiting the bazaar you will find a strong sense of community.
Another very common sight you can see while travelling to Manipur is the highway markets.
These markets are usually small vegetable and fruit market areas located along the highway. Mostly you will see organic and seasonal products sold in these markets. If you someday intend to visit Manipur then you must definitely take a quick stroll in these so called Highway markets. Visiting the local bazaars of Manipur is one of the state’s unique travel experiences.
One of the important highway markets of Assam in Ramva
, behind Assam Rifle camp. While passing through the highway, the travellers have to sign their vehicle registration number and mention their purpose of visit. As the cars stop by, people get down to much a bite or two. Some of the common items sold here are fried beef and dry fish. vegetables like cabbage and baboo shoots and a typical local roti called tan.