place was crowded with all kinds of people young and old -
an old woman with a handful of vegetables, a small girl making
a garland with different kinds of flowers, some people standing
in a line in the meat stall, somebody selling tea; it is an
experience in itself to see the people work in this busy market.
If your guess was Russel Market, then you are absolutely
Built in 1927, Russel Market is one of the oldest markets
in Bangalore. The classical architectural design is
very Indian but still
more impressive though the building is a bit jaded.We spoke
to an elderly person who had a fruit stall and had been working
there for almost 65 years now and this is what he had to say:
"During our times we used to see memsahibs driven
in their carriages and there was one ice stall which imported
ice from Madras and to have ice was a great thing then. The
horse carriages of old have given way to the Marutis and the
Mitsubishi Lancers, which today carry the memsahibs into the
Mega Shopping malls on M.G. Road and other areas. And ice
is today available in plenty."
we entered the market, the first thing we could see was the
beautiful flowers, the fragrance of which spreads across the
corridor.Women standing in a queue patiently waiting for their
chance to buy jasmine buds in bulk. We also saw a lot of fruit
vendors selling apples, mangoes, grapes and avocados.Some
of the fruits are imported from different parts of the world
like Australia and New Zealand... Moving further we came across
the vegetable vendors who had varieties of vegetables. One
could just pick up almost anything there.
Thenfrom a distance, we saw a man chopping some meat and
just to see what exactly he was doing, we went closer towards
him. Reaching the central courtyard, there were neatly arranged
rows of meat shops. Strung up were fresh cuts of mutton. This
is Bangalores biggest mutton, beef and fish market.
There were a row of mutton stalls and people buying fresh
meat. Nearby, there were around 10 road side stalls selling
beef and mutton kababs. They were roasted and served hot.
They looked really yum but we did not want to take the risk
of tasting them as we were not sure of the oil they were using.
Arif, a regular customer to the mutton stall looked delighted
eating his kabab and was ordering for more. If you're one
of those with an open mind and mouth, you might just enjoy
the food they serve there and youll be surprised with
what you may encounter. The stalls selling dry fish are tucked
away behind one of the main roads leading away from the market.
The range and variety of dried fish is amazing.
We came out of the meat market and started walking through
the row of vegetable shops.We stopped at one particular shop
because we found a lot of rare vegetables that other shops
didn't have and the manner in which the vegetables were arranged
was something great. "It is an art to arrange these vegetables",
says Kumar who was arranging these rare vegetables. We were
really eager to meet the owner and without even a second thought
he took us to another building where the owner was helping
his people weigh the vegetables. His name is S. Siraj Ahmed.
Siraj Ahmed with the help of his brother runs this
vegetable store. He took us on a guided tour of the place
where there were almost 125 vegetable shops and 25
mandis. He says that most of the vegetables are from the
local farmers and some of them come from Chikmagalur, Chikballapur,
Hasan and Mandya.
you heard of Black Carrots, large Amlas, Red Jalapenos,
Red Cabbage, Artichokes, Brussel Sprouts, Endives, Ring beans,
Singaras (water cheese)? Well these are names of exotic
vegetables from different parts of the country like New
Delhi, Kolkata and Ooty. He is also one of the main wholesale
vegetable suppliers in the city. He is famous for his north
Indian vegetables like Tinda, Kamal Kakdi, Tar Kakdi, Parwaland
Parsley. He and and his brother Suhail Ahmed supply
their vegetables to Oberoi, KFC, Leela Palace, Pizza Hut,
Pizza Corner, Domino's Pizza, etc., on contract
When asked as to how they manage to have certain vegetables
all through the year, Siraj says: "There are certain
months where we face difficulty. During those days we select
some vegetables from the retail market and supply them to
our customers though it's a loss for us. If we do not we would
lose our tender and incur a bigger loss."
So the next time you eat in Pizza Corner, Pizza Hut, Domino's
Pizza, Oberoi, KFC, you know where they get these vegetables
#5& 6 Staircase Counters
Bangalore 560 051
Phone: 559 5479
Fax: 546 3123
Click here for a 360° panoramic view of Russel Market
Photographs by Ravindra Nayak C.H.