City (Flower) Market

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City Market, is without a doubt, one of the busiest and the most crowded places in Bangalore. It is also known as KR Market named after the king of Mysore, Krishna Raj Wodeyar IV. Possibly one of the oldest markets in Bangalore, it is a rich compendium of colours, sounds, fragrances with buyers, peddlers, vendors and the traffic contributing in equal measure to the constant cacophony and chaos.

Although there are the fruits and vegetable vendors with their carefully constructed small-sized pyramids of onions, potatoes and peppers or bananas, pomogranates and coconuts, I have, for some reason, concentrated on the flower vendors. The flower vendors seem to form two distinct groups, one catering to the boquets and floral arrangements comprising of roses, carnations and gerbera daisies while the other group caters to the more religiously inclined buyers/retailers and consist of jasmine, marigolds, lilies, frangipani et al. It was the colours that probably attracted me and the whole electric atmosphere around the place. The vendors with huge spirals placed before them on a constant look-out for potential buyers, the peddlars carrying small garlands, while the walls of the street adjoining the footpath decorated with the garlands of varying colours as well as sizes.

As one approaches the main building, although the major part of the merchandise is still the flowers, the huge cones of kumkum and turmeric rivet the eyes in very attractive reds, maroons, yellow and pinks. Many of these small shops in the basements also sell materials for a pooja. Under the dim lights provided by the bulbs, vendors sit beside or behind the huge heaps of marigolds, kanakambrams, and a variety of flowers. The lighting lends a lovely texture to the flower heaps and creates a certain charm and old-world mood.

The basement, however, has continued to be main attraction over the years, where blossoms are purchased by weight or length for various festivities. An array of baskets filled with coiled flower garlands in various colours and combinations and makes a very striking visual as the colours jump out of a usually dull setting with people around them in frantic activity..either vendors stringing these flowers into garlands or arranging them in baskets, or sprinkling water so that they stay fresh, buyers carrying large bags and looking for a good bargain

All in all KR Market is a treat to the senses and a visual delight. Abuzz from dawn till dusk it is a stage to so much drama that almost any frame that is randomly made would tell a story. Indeed a photographers paradise.

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