15 October 2012

Phool Galli

If you leave Mumbai without at least visiting the Dadar Flower Market, which is the largest wholesale market of Mumbai, popularly known as the 'Dadar Phool Galli ', your experience will be incomplete. If you are up even before dawn in Mumbai, you may want to do something different for a change, skip the jog for one morning in the sparse green belts & head out to the Flower Market. If you pay a visit to Mumbai's Flower Market in Dadar, you will soon realize besides the riots of colours & freshness of petals & the dew how much money you land up paying for a nicely packaged bouquet of flowers brought straight off the road & creatively packed for yourself.

The market comes alive at 4 am in the early dawn & is wrapped up before the sun starts to heat up say about 9 am. The time is short but apparently enough for the retailers & decorators to stock up their stores. This is where you will find Mumbai's best florists shops. For the traveler, Dadar Phool Galli offers unique photo opportunities of colors, people & the regular Mumbai life. Dadar station is chaotic & in front of it is a huge flower market having amazingly display of colours & scents. The vendors out there sell such eye catching & sweet smelling flowers.

For those who prefer local trains one has to head towards Dadar station, exit from the western side & ask anyone where is Dadar Phool Galli. It won't take more than a minute before you land right in the middle of the Dadar Phool Galli. & for those who hate locals, well it depends on the highway you take. All I can assure you is that Bandra- Worli Sea Link is quite near Dadar Phool Galli which is worth giving it a shot. 

Formally opened by Chief Minister Manohar Joshi, this is the first market to be built by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) exclusively for the flower sellers. Dismissing allegations that a number of reluctant flower sellers were forced to shift to the new site which was next to the Kamgar Maidan on Senapati Bapat road. The chief of Dadar Navin Phool Vyapari Mandal & fomer MSEB director, Sudam Mandalik said, all hawkers union had, for the very first time united under the banner of the Feriwala Kruti Samiti & unanimously decided to move to the new plot. The shift was necessary if Dadar had to be decongested.

Everyday, the street turns into a colourful carnival of flower sellers, snack stalls & sadhus who do business with devotees coming to visit the temple. Over 1500 regular workers control this wholesale flower market & selling flowers happens to be the only source of income for them. Pune & Nashik is the only source of all flowers from where loaded trucks arrive in Dadar Phool Galli before dawn.

There are flowers everywhere. Marigolds heaped on tarpaulins on the ground & sold by weight, Champa in tiny baskets & sold by the number & delicately wrapped in broad leaves, the dazzling Orchids & the coloue co-ordinated Gajras of mesmerizing blooms, the cacophony of the sellers & buyers screaming & jostling all contributes to a spectacular audio visual symphony. It is indeed a delightful experience.

The accompanying smiles on the flower sellers faces early morning lingers in the mind. From the woman sitting cross legged on the ground weaving busily, to the young men weighing the flowers, the older man convincing you to buy garlands, to the young lady with matted hair selling fragrant Lotuses, they all have beaming smiles on their faces. But sometimes the Municipality officials arriving with those ugly grey vans & the street vendors fleeing with their wares & flowers.

They probably wake up very early in the morning to be here to sell the flowers. Their sales probably determined what they ate for dinner or if they went hungry. Many a times it appeared, that their whole life belongings were right there in that little jhola by their feet yet their grace & joy with the world, came through loud & clear. Indeed this market is a lovely experience..

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