MumbaiTravelDiaries, Travel Tales

#Travel – A visit to the Dadar flower market in Mumbai


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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.

dadar flower market - mumbai-maharashntra- india- journey- trip- ttot- lillies in a basket- two women selling flowers in a basket by the roadside

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.

Ð You could read about my visit to the flower market in Bangalore

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.

dadar flower market - mumbai-maharashntra- india- journey- trip- ttot- lillies in a basket- two women selling flowers in a basket by the roadside

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.

dadar flower market - mumbai-maharashntra- india- journey- trip- ttot- lillies in a basket- two women selling flowers in a basket by the roadside

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.

dadar flower market - mumbai-maharashntra- india- journey- trip- ttot- lillies in a basket- two women selling flowers in a basket by the roadside

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.

dadar flower market - mumbai-maharashntra- india- journey- trip- ttot- lillies in a basket- two women selling flowers in a basket by the roadside

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.

dadar flower market - mumbai-maharashntra- india- journey- trip- ttot- lillies in a basket- two women selling flowers in a basket by the roadside

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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dadar flower market - mumbai-maharashntra- india- journey- trip- ttot- lillies in a basket- two women selling flowers in a basket by the roadside

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!

 

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15 thoughts on “#Travel – A visit to the Dadar flower market in Mumbai

  1. One of my favourite places to go to. You are right about the light at 6 am but if you go in summer, it will be quite warm and by 6 most of the flowers are gone! December is really perfect for the flower market as all the exotic blooms flood the market. And yes the vendors have the strangest of names for their flowers thanks to their weird pronunciations. The flowers also depend on the season – around Valentine’s Day you will just see hundreds of red roses while during Dussera and Diwali time there will be millions of marigolds.
    This post has inspired me to make a trip to the bazar….. but to make a quick dash between 6-7 seems quite impossible. Perhaps I’ll try it on Saturday when the household has a holiday from work and school. Thanks for sharing this Shalini. Your photos are great!

    1. Thanks Sunita and you are right about summer and winter daylight! Plus the various festivals and occasions will also vary the variety of flowers available. I just couldnt get enough if it – just wish there was more space to walk and click. This is such a narrow street with that flyover and everything; impossible to click without being jostled.

      I hope you do get to go- I was dying to buy flowers but as I was staying in the hostel and also headed to museum afterwards, the flowers would have died!!!

    1. Ha ha!! I was on a total touristy roll and thus this had been on my list since ages!! It was very crowded and loud that early in the morning but it was great fun too! Next trip – try and go there.

  2. Beautiful narrative accompanied with lovely pictures, Shalini. You seemed to have packed quite a bit in your week long visit in Mumbai. I have been hear for 12 years and I still haven’t visited this market. I have passed by it on a couple of occasions and saw people setting up stalls, but never stopped. In fact, I have been to Kolkata flower market which was as colourful and vibrant as Dadar’s. But now that you have mentioned it, I will make it a point to visit this place too.

    1. Ha ha Lata – thats ok! It happens to the best of us. I havent been to the Delhi one for ages as its been shifted to the city limits and is now a cumbersome drive!

  3. I absolutely loved your pictures. They look so fresh and beautiful. I have gone a few times to the flower market here in Pune and it is just as delightful. In fact wholesale markets of any kind intrigue me. I went to the vegetable market and the fish markets too. It’s a delight. Apart from the stink of fish of course :-).

    1. Thanks so much Tulika.Yup these wholesale markets are just so beautiful; I love street photography and these make for best photo-ops. Yes Nay to the fishy smell from my side too! I skipped visiting the Sassoon docks in Mumbai as I wasnt sure if I will be able to handle the smell 😉

  4. Growing up in Mumbai, this place was quite popular with most of my family and even extended family and friends. Every time there was a big pooja or wedding etc, they always wanted to source flowers from this place. And to be honest, back then I never understood why, because living in Borivili, Dadar was pretty far away. But clearly once I visited this place, I never questioned their choices again, lol.

    That being said, you managed to take some good shots, considering how cramped and busy the place is (or used to be anyway).

    1. Thanks Shan – I simply adore flower markets and have been working up my guts to go visit the one in Delhi. Its been relocated to a very far off venure – the earlier one was frequented by me with gutso and great frequency!

      I simply love the buzz of such street markets and love the challenge of photographing it – happy to know the pics are being liked 🙂

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