When the portal approached me to write an article about Gariahat market, I whooped with joy. All shopaholics who love to shop at Gariahat will understand the feeling. I have always thought that Gariahat is a complete shopping destination and I’m sure, generations of Kolkatans will second the statement. “You can get even Tiger’s milk in our Gariahat market” - I have heard people boasting to their out of state relations, half jokingly of course. But in reality, apart from a thing or two like Tiger’s milk, the range of products that Gariahat market has on offer is simply amazing.
Gariahat market can be divided into three parts - the proper shops along Rashbehari Avenue and Gariahat Road, the makeshift stalls in front of them (`Footpaather Dokaan’ in the local lingo) and the sprawling Municipal Market. Among the three of them, they offer a whole cornucopia of things that one can possibly need. The big shops obviously store high end goods, branded or unbranded. There are all kinds of shops selling all kinds of things, but shops selling clothes are in the majority. As a point of fact, the bestselling item here is the saree. One can safely say that in terms of range, variety, quality and competitive pricing, very few markets in the country can rival Kolkata’s Gariahat market.
The makeshift stalls on the footpath are no less fascinating. Sometimes, when you are in a hurry to reach some place, they do annoy you, because they take up so much space; but when you are in the mood for shopping, these stalls seem heaven sent. They offer everything at much discounted prices. You can bargain with the stall owners at your heart’s content and on your lucky day can end up with an enviable booty by paying almost next to nothing. Clothes, junk jewellery, kitchen essentials, purses, bags and wallets, decorative items, you name it, they have it. Footpath stalls are also great for a host of mouthwatering delicacies, extremely good quality street food.
Now, let’s march onwards to the Gariahat Municipal Market. A part of this big labyrinthine market is a couple of stories high. Apart from various kinds of shops, the building houses some Government and private offices. It boasts of a huge fish, meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables market. Some forgotten spice that you need to cook a recipe from your granny’s old recipe book, you head straight for this market. You have a tongue for the cuisines of other countries; this market is one of your best bets. Trust them to stock all kinds of exotic spices, sauces and vegetables to make that totally authentic continental dish. All kinds of pots and pans, stationery items, items you require for a Puja at home, all kinds of household goods, everything is available in the municipal market. The gardener in you will love the part of the market that has an array of gardening tools, potted plants and seeds on display.
Gariahat market to me is like the cave of Aladdin, where all sorts of goodies are waiting to jump into your bag. On an idle day, there is no better alternative than exploring this market with a bunch of like minded buddies. Cheerio then, catch you at Gariahat market some day.