I had a few things lined up on my itinerary as I headed to Mumbai in December. I am quite the photography buff and very taken by the early morning flower markets that most cities have. It’s a place where farmers living in smaller villages, close to the city, grow flowers in their fields. They then bring freshly cut flowers to a morning market to sell from where the city florists and other flower vendors stock up their inventory.
It works as a wholesale market and one can buy good quality, fresh flowers for very low pricing. Only hitch is they have to be bought in some quantity. So this is a veritable hunting ground of sorts for events/wedding planners, florists, hotels and other such establishments which daily consume fresh flowers in kilos.
Dadar Flower Market
In Mumbai, Dadar is the location where this flower market is set up every morning, just outside the train station. I set an early morning alarm and reached Dadar by 6 a.m. The sun was not up but I could see loads of vegetable seller setting up stalls. Then I started spotting the flower stalls in the fading darkness. All was lit by artificial lights and not wanting to click under such harsh lights, I walked around to get a feel of it all.
The entire road on both sides had flower vendors and then I discovered a whole market of just temple flowers like marigold, roses, daisies, etc. This was a covered warehouse kind of area which housed open stalls where huge piles of cut flowers were displayed. I could see them being weighed and sold by the kilograms. I loved the variety in the colours of the marigold – all under one roof.
Then there were the beautifully hand crafted flower ornaments that the women folk favour as a daily wear around their buns and plaits. These are made out of Jasmine buds which are woven into a colourful thread in a circular band which can be tied around a hair bun.
Note: I asked for permission to take pictures everywhere, and some folks were keen to not feature in my pictures.
Soon the darkness faded with the rising sun and I walked back to the roadside market to get better shots. The magnitude of this market can be gauged not just by the quantity of flowers on sale but by the variety. There were the humble lotuses, lilies, jasmine to the more exotic ones like roses, orchids, chrysanthemums, and loads that I didnt recognise.
The flower sellers had their own pronunciation of their names, which made it impossible for me to figure out what they meant. The delicate ones were packaged so neatly with a gauze like mesh which protected the petals from getting crushed.
All in all, quite a busy and crowded market with everyone jostling for space and attention. Woven through this melee were the morning commuters, rushing to catch the train to work. The streets were filling up with vehicular traffic as well and it was time for most of the pavement vendors to wind up their shops.
When visiting Mumbai, I recommend spending an hour or two here in Dadar. The colourful transactions will delight the heart and the camera.
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Notes to self & others:
Coming as early as 6 a.m. was quite unnecessary as the morning light was not yet right to click photographs.
The warehouse market was a find and next time I would spend more time there.
This market is set on the street just outside the entrance to the Dadar station; ask anyone for directions. Even Uber picked it up as Dadar flower market.
Have you ever visited a flower market? What did you think of it? Does your city have one as well? If you have explored it, please share your experience with me!