A trip back to my hometown is just not complete without getting lost in the hustle and bustle of New Market!
Located in the heart of Kolkata, this area was home to some of the earliest British settlers. As an increasing number began to call this city home, demands for British-only markets instigated the construction of this massive shopping arcade which opened its doors in 1874. Affluent colonials from all over India descended upon Kolkata to shop at some of New Market’s exclusive retailers.
Sir Stuart Hogg, then Chairman of the Calcutta Corporation (responsible for the infrastructure and administration of the city) offered heavy support for the plans to build the market and so, it was eventually named after him in 1928. Today, the entire area along with some smaller nearby markets is known as New Market.
This market has survived two fires (1985 & 2011) and regular floods and despite modern shopping malls popping up at every nook and corner of the city, it still remains one of the most popular shopping destinations in town!
There are over two thousand stalls selling everything from clothing to food to jewellery and leather goods. There’s even a specific Christmas section during the holiday season! The list just goes on and on. You’re spoilt not only for choice but also the incredible bargains that you wouldn’t find in a five-storey air-conditioned shopping mall.
It’s easy get overwhelmed in this maze of a market, especially because you often find yourself not knowing where to look first or which deals (voiced proudly to you by the shop-owners as you stroll by) sound the best! Row after row, lane after lane and shop after shop full of colour, craftsmanship and tradition; things India knows how to do best!
One of the best things about this market is that it’s well suited for all budgets such as the pure gold and silver jewellery shops versus the above artificially made ones. They sparkle just the same!
I headed to Kolkata after a five-year absence and visiting this bustling place brought back the fondest memories from my childhood of frequent trips to New Market with my mom, wanting to take a little piece of almost everything I came across there.
It’s incredible how this colonial structure has survived so many years and continues to be bursting with life! A few notable places to check out:
- Nahoum & Sons – Famous for their pastries, cakes and general baked goods. There are often queues leading out of the shop during rush hour!
- Chamba Lama – My favourite place to pick up some of the most beautiful silver jewellery
- Jimmy’s Kitchen – Located slightly outside the covered market area, I have been coming to this restaurant since before I can even remember. The best taste of Indian-style Chinese food
It used to be (and still is) a welcoming treat to lose myself in here. For me, New Market is the heart and soul of Kolkata.
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PS. Apologies for my week-long silence but I’ve been working on some updates and changes to this blog which have taken me longer than expected. I hope to reveal everything fairly soon!