In The Middle Of The Fruit & Vegetable Wholesale Market Of Kolkata, India.
Great photo opportunities can be found at markets around the world. That’s why we love them so much. In Kolkata, we came across the fruit & vegetable wholesale market only by accident. We were on our way to the much praised flower market below Howrah Bridge, and decided to start walking from M.G. Road Metro station. Right after exiting the Metro Station, we noticed unusual activities: women selling tea, cooking of food right on the footpath, a coming and going of people carrying huge baskets or boxes on their heads, an unusual density of Rickshaw pullers, Tuk-Tuk drivers and many big trucks standing along Munsi Sadaruddin Street… All over sudden we were right in between the action.
What an experience!
The wholesale market for fruits and vegetables in Kolkata is an experience that is really difficult to describe. You make your way through dozens of trucks, which are parked only centimetres apart from each other, hundreds of porters, vendors, auctioneers, buyers and people who load & unload the trucks from their precious cargo – fresh fruits and vegetables that arrive here every morning from all over India, to be auctioned off right on the spot.
Words & photos are good for imagining such ongoing activities, but we also put together a little video (with out iPhone, so please excuse the quality) of the market’s happenings. This way, you’ll not only get an impression on the number of fruits auctioned off, the people who roam these streets, the heavy goods that need to be loaded onto trucks, but also the constant noise level…
Oranges, pineapples and bananas.
On the day of our visit, the main fruits that had just arrived were oranges, pineapples and bananas. Bananas (still on the stem) are a very attractive fruit and are sold piece by piece. How that works is that one porter stands in front of the truck, with the banana stalk on his head for display, while the auctioneer is shouting out the price. It’s a fast business, and all over sudden the bananas disappear in someone’s box or basket, and the next stalk is brought out for the auction.
With oranges it’s a bit different; they’re stacked up in a pyramid shape and sold tower-wise.
Obviously this place is hardly ever visited by foreigners. Many people asked how and why we came there and they were quite astonished when we said that we just wanted to have a look around.
We had the best time and the vendors seemed to ‘enjoy’ our company. A trader gave us apples from Kashmir as a present and everybody was keen to have his picture taken. It was a really great experience, yet it was a bit difficult to move along, because we didn’t want to be in anyone’s way … especially not if they’re carrying a 50 pound basket!