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Just so you know, the places that flowers are sold in aren’t as pretty as the ones they grow in. But the adage that suggests there’s beauty in chaos is befitting when we talk of these flower markets of India. This is where you can have your fill of the freshest flowers in the country. By Rashima Nagpal
1. Mullick Ghat, Kolkata
Famous as the biggest flower market in Asia, the Mullick Ghat attracts hundreds of visitors each day. Located towards the southern end of the Howrah Bridge, along the Hooghly River, it is over 130 years old, and one that functions almost all day every day. Thousands of vendors gather here with the fresh stock at three in the morning; expect varieties of roses, marigolds, jasmine, lilies, hibiscus, orchids, sunflowers, and more. However, West Bengal’s state flower harshringar and the native togor phool (another variety of jasmine) should particularly be on your list.
2. Ghazipur Flower Market, Delhi
The Ghazipur flower mandi is a staple among florists big and small around NCR. With over 50,000 kilograms of flowers being traded daily, it is one of India’s biggest flower market with at least 50 varieties of flowers being imported and exported. Apart from states like Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh, flowers such as protea, banksia and ilex find their way to this market from countries like New Zealand, the Netherlands, South Africa and Thailand. It begins operations as early as 03:00 am in the morning and offers a delightful mix of local and exotic varieties, sold at wholesale rates.
3. K R Market and Russel Market, Bengaluru
Bengaluru is home to not one but two major wholesale flower markets. The more popular one is located on Avenue Road (known as the K R market), and the other is part of the Russell Market. The former, which is housed within a worn-out concrete building, open up as early as 02:00 am and goes on till 10 pm, and caters to the demand of the more traditional flowers like jasmine, rose, and marigold. Russell Market in Shivajinagar is one of the oldest marketplaces in the city that sells not just flowers but also fruits, vegetables, and meat.
4. Devaraja Market, Mysuru
The fragrance of jasmine is almost omnipresent in the South of India. But Mysuru values the Queen of Flowers rather specially. The local variety of jasmine in the region, the Mysore Mallige can be found in abundance at the Devaraja Market in the city. From blossoms by the kilo to garlands that are sold by the meter, the fragrance here is as uplifting as the sight.
5. Floating Market, Dal Lake
Few things are better than beginning your day at the crack of dawn amid the evergreen Dal Lake. Add to that the smell and sight of the fresh fruits and flowers that grow in its floating garden. The florists that line up along the edge of the lake, towards the Mughal gardens, every day are known to have the best of flowers. Think dewy roses, daisies, and water lilies. To catch the lotus blossoms native to the region in all their glory, plan a trip during the summer.
6. Dadar Flower Market, Mumbai
The Dadar Phool Gali is the biggest and the only wholesale flower market in Mumbai. To catch the pulse of it, visit between 04:00 am to 09:00 am, when as many as 600 stalls unfurl and put up their best floral show. Marigold, roses, orchids, lotus, chrysanthemum, hydrangeas, rajnigandhas, daisies, lilies, peonies–if you won’t find then in the commercial capital of the country, then chances are you won’t find them anywhere. It’s a riot of colours.
7. Gudimalkapur Flower Market, Hyderabad
Although well-known, Hyderabad’s treasure of flowers can be a hunt. You’ll have to walk down under the PV Narsimhrao Flyover, with a keen eye on your left, until you sniff an overwhelming fragrance of flowers draw you in. The market starts as early as 05:00 am and usually, the wholesale buyers close their deals by 10:00 am and then it is a playground for retailers, photographers, and travellers alike. Like most flower markets, this one too showcases a range of regional as well as exotic varieties including rose, mogra, marigold, daisies, dahlias, orchids, tulips, and peonies.
8. Mattuthavani, Madurai
The market of Mattuthavani in Madurai is one of the largest in south India. You can find it teeming with as many as 10 tonnes of flowers each day! Look out for the ‘Madhurai malli‘ or jasmine and the ‘sampangi‘ or champak flowers, among others, while here.