Thursday, December 30, 2010

Faces in the Bazaar

There are cherished memories of listening to Dashrath Patel whenever he talked about the world that he discovered every day through the photography, the collages and the design experiments that his life was filled with. When he spoke, he described what his mind’s eye saw and it was this beautiful sharing that I am grateful for as I remember him today.

These are just some more pictures from the Kadlekai Parishe at Basavanagudi ...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Marketplaces for Tourism

Sketch plan of existing Russell market precinct

It may be a good time for us to revitalise our traditional bazaars by developing a few bazaar zones as tourist destinations. In order for us to do this, we need to ask ourselves : How does one deploy cultural heritage as a marketing strategy for tourism and retail sectors just so that it heightens the sense of pride in traditional values? What will be the guidelines and incentives for land-owners to refurbish their shops in a bazaar? How can we conceptualise and implement a revitalisation plan of a bazaar that benefits all the stakeholders? What are the views of the tourists, residents, local visitors and the merchants who belong to the bazaar?

In Amsterdam, tourism is so much a part of the market. There are dutch souvenirs everywhere. There are Tulip bulbs packed in delft blue and wooden tulips on sale for tourists. Flower markets in India are primarily for the domestic market. International tourists visiting India do often visit our flower markets, but the markets are not designed to serve them as tourists.

In the Indian flower market, most of the flowers are loose flowers sold in kilos for temple offerings or garlands for wedding ceremonies, garlands for funerals and garlands for political events!

In Amsterdam, the architecture, the canals, the dutch bicycles and the tulips make an interesting tour for anyone who loves the bazaar.

This blogpost is part of an article I wrote that was recently published in Architecture+Design - an Indian journal of architecture. To READ MORE refer to the A+D Vol XXVII no. 12 December 2010 issue

Related Posts :
What is Russell Market
How Green is my Bazaar

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Groundnut Fair in Bangalore city

When we first moved to Bangalore three years ago, we were quite awed by the malls and the glass facade IT buildings lining the road where we lived. We made up our minds not to like the city. This was not a place for us. But, we had to continue to live here. As time passed, we discovered the old, charming parts of the "booming metropolis". It had remnants of what we knew Bangalore once was "the garden city" in South India. There have been small and beautiful places and happenings within the city that have unveiled themselves gradually and finally made us feel like this is a city we like!

This week, I read in the news : “On the last Monday of Karthikamasa (a month in the Hindu Lunar calendar), the traditional Kadlekai Parishe, a two-day annual groundnut (peanut) fair will begin at Basavanagudi (Bull Temple road) and Groundnut growers from many neighbouring towns will be here”

Every year over 200 vendors come to the city of Bangalore offering for sale tonnes of groundnuts and other products such as puffed rice, colourful toys and so on. The entire stretch of Bull Temple road is pedestrianised for these two days, vehicular traffic is reorganised and security arrangements are made for the evenings as the excitement of the fair attracts visitors from all over. 

I change my plans for the day and I’m at the Gandhi Bazaar by the afternoon. It is at the Ramakrishna Math circle that the fair starts. I begin to walk…

I couldn't believe that this was all happening in the heart of Bangalore city... a tradition that had to continue no matter how much the city contemporarised itself.

Read about: 
Peanut festival in Bangalore
Udaipur City
Art in Urban Spaces
Fish market Mumbai

This post is part of the blog carnival 'Carnival of Cities' hosted at Sophie's World. - a carnival about cities from around the world. Do check it out!