Pune’s Flea Market – Juna Bazaar

While there are surely roadside markets specialising in secondhand goods the world over, India must be outstanding, in this respect, for many reasons. For one thing, most of us have less money than those in many other countries. For another, it’s a country with a whole lot of ancient stuff. Given that we’re a very vocal democracy, roadside markets are hard to eradicate, though they can cause traffic hell and other problems.

To my sparse knowledge, Delhi has the best ones. Pune, I discovered, on relocating there, also has one to its credit.

I forget who told us about Juna (Marathi for old) Bazar but do recall seeing a certain sprawling market on one auto rickshaw ride through the city sometime before we finally moved there. I’m not really fond of being in jostling crowds but do adore the concept and an occasional brief visit to public markets where milling hordes haggle over trinkets.

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Apparently, Juna Bazar is also called “Old Market”.  From antique coins to every kind of screwdriver, this market sells crockery, knives, axes, hardware, clothes, furniture, duplicates of branded products, electronics, old music and film cassettes/CDs, antiques, small copper/ brass statues and other artefacts, household goods, wood carvings, cheap costume jewellery, suitcases, automobile parts, footwear, agricultural tools, and even vegetables! We were amused at the heaps of rusty gym weights which are there in abundance.

I seem to have only taken photos of the area where second hand clothes are sold and that would mainly be because it would be awfully hard to take pictures in the main pavement stretch that is the Juna Bazar!

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The market survives, wedged amidst living spaces, themselves very makeshift.

Cheap clothes, second hand or merely factory rejects, enable a uniformity of appearance amongst the youth in India. Labourer and entrepreneur alike sport jeans. Gone are the days when the underprivileged gratefully accepted your old clothes!

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Juna Bazaar operates on Wednesday and Sunday on a pavement of the Veer Santaji Ghorpade Road, near the Maldhakka Chowk (Pune) and it’s open from 9 to 5.  Locals go there to find a good bargain but it’s mostly the not-so-well-off. 

With nothing really worthwhile for a tourist, it’s still a must-see place if you want to catch a glimpse of the chaos of a local “antique” market.

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Gems to avert/attract bad/good fortune? 

It’s sights like the one above that you will find, glimpses of worlds now fast fading out of daily life.

Xmas and more in Temple Town Thrissur

Thrissur was my introduction to Kerala some thirty odd years back. As a young bride. Thus, for the next so many years, all visits there were basically confined to the four walls of an in-law’s house.

And so it was that, this year, I finally got to see a bit of the town, loitering around on my own.

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One could probably say that Thrissur kind of revolves around the Vadakkunnathan Temple, as there is a ring road around it. A major festival is held at this temple every year.

Thrissur or Thrushivaperur is so named because it is home to three Siva temples. We stayed near the Vadakkunnathan Temple. The black stone piece (villakku) in the centre of the picture is for lamps. It was interesting to note that it had a tortoise as base.

Apparently, only Hindus are allowed into this temple. I’m somewhat ok with that as I’d not like to see a horde of tourists thronging the place just for the heck of it.

However, this temple has many items of archeological worth which, tragically, evidence neglect. There are murals and more which would benefit from the right kind of care and attention.

The temple has large grounds and somehow brings to mind a Buddhist ambience. I’d have dearly loved to have spent more time there, preferably with someone who had many relevant local myths and legends to relate.

Thrissur was my first introduction to life as a Hindu. Although I’d grown up in a Hindu family of sorts, my father had a very unique outlook on all things, including religion and, thus, meeting the in-laws was my first formal foray into that world. I confess it was more than a bit bewildering.

In later years I acquired a friend who came from one of Thrissur’s Christian  communities. Her Thrissur world seemed a far cry from all I’d experienced.

It was serendipitous to be in Thrissur in time for Christmas and the roads were serene on Xmas morning as we took a post breakfast walk around.

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This is, reportedly, the third tallest church in Asia, famous for its Gothic architecture.

We passed Our Lady of Dolours and went into the compound. The history of Kerala’s Christians is ancient and, thus, churches appears to have evolved in harmony with local architectural frills. The tall thin pillar you see in the above picture, for example, is similar to what is to be found in a local Hindu temple.

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A Christian Vilakku

Unlike what I’d experienced in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode, the Muslim population was more muted here. Continue reading