A beautiful chaos -Kolkata’s Mallick Ghat Flower Market, India
It was one of those hot and humid days in mid-July when I was vacationing in Kolkata that one morning we three friends decided to walk around Kolkata’s Mallick Ghat flower market. It is said that this market is one of Asia’s largest flower market and the oldest too. More then 130 years old this market is located beneath the famous Howrah Bridge by the bank of the Hooghly river.
Once destroyed by a huge fire, the Mallick Ghat flower market has the history of decorating Kolkata since time immemorial. Starting from early morning this place remains crowded with vendors, flower sellers, whole-sellers buying and selling flowers of various colours, fragrance and beauty.
How to reach Mallick Ghat Flower Market
My friend Amrita stays in Bagbazar area of North Kolkata and after having a sumptuous breakfast at her home along with her I and Gargi, another friend of mine started on our expedition to Mallick Ghat on foot. We took the ferry from Baghbazar ghat and reached Ahiritola Ghat within 20 minutes. It was also the first time I experienced a ferry ride across the majestic Hooghly river. After we reached ghat, we started walking straight towards Mallick Ghat, it was approximately 2 Km long straight stretch of road.
You just need to keep walking. Although we had to walk for a long time we took this route since it was less time consuming as we wanted to avoid the traffic on the main road.
You can also take a cab and reach Mallick Ghat or take a bus towards Howrah. From the market area, there is a staircase that shall lead you right upwards from where the Howrah Bridge starts.
If you want you can also take a stroll around the Howrah Bridge and engage in some delightful Kolkata Street photography.
As we approached towards the market, my friend alarmed us to be careful with our bags and cameras as it would be much crowded. True as she said it was not just crowded but Mallick Ghat flower market was nothing less than a pandemonium.
There were heaps of rotten flowers here and there, muddy and slippery roads, vendors and buyers shouting at the top of their voices, cows making guest appearances here and there making it all very chaotic. Yet there was a unique charm in the chaos, the beauty of flowers, the riot of colours, it’s beautiful aroma all making the market a treat to my senses.
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Everywhere my eyes could see a sea of yellow marigold flowers since this is the most common flower used in temples, as offering to God, various rituals, decorations and weddings. Also, there was a lot of lotus bundled up for sale. There were heaps of roses of different colours and sizes and I was swayed in its beauty. I felt like buying it all.
Not just flowers I saw a lot of people sitting together and making garlands, selling bael leaves which are considered sacred in Hindu Pujas, Tulsi leaves, Durba leaves all of which are required in various rituals and pujas.
The market is the largest supplier of all kinds of flowers, you name it and they have it. It supplies flowers to almost all part of Kolkata and not just within the city but flowers are supplied to other parts of India and also exported abroad.
All Hindu festivals, rituals, celebrations are incomplete without flowers and my friends said that on those occasions you won’t be able to even breathe in this market it would be so crowded.
The best time to enjoy the market is during non-festivities, and best if you can reach early at around 5:00 am, but those not-so-morning-person like me, even if you reach after 10:00 am you won’t be disappointed.
The beautiful fragrance filled the air kept me hooked for a long time. We explored the several lanes, and what caught my attraction was this beautiful; floral tiara that Bengali Brides wear during their wedding, it was so pretty that I couldn’t take my eyes off. Wish I could adorn it on my wedding too.
After strolling around the market my friend who is quite a pro in knowing every alley and lanes of Kolkata took us to another ghat along the Hoogly river from where we enjoyed the magnificent view of the Howrah Bridge. The place is so creepy through which we entered that I would have never attempted alone. And we friends know how to explore a city in the best possible way.
When you are in Kolkata it’s a must-visit and I am sure Mallick Ghat is something you wouldn’t regret visiting. Mallick Ghat flower market is one of the favourite place for Kolkata’s street photographers and is also quite a popular location for brand shoots.
You get to see the largest flower market in it’s most authentic and crude form and the pleasure to capture the market scenes is divine. Hope you liked reading about Mallick Flower market and do let me know if you pay a visit. Do share this post with your friends.
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2 thoughts on “A beautiful chaos -Kolkata’s Mallick Ghat Flower Market, India”
Oh this brings back memories. I have been here many many years ago…
So glad it did that 🙂