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Published: June 11th 2020
Crimson, blue, amber, green and all, whichever you wish for, they are there for you. The scintillating bangles! These alleyways bedecked with vibrant colourful bangles seem a paradise virtually, for a lady like me. Your guess is right, as I am definitely speaking about the world famous “Laad Bazaar” in Hyderabad.
My visit to Hyderabad was though official; I almost made everything out of the stay. The very first day during our tour to the Charminar, I got the opportunity to have a glimpse of this teeming market. From that day I kept on longing for a visit to this insanely lively market.
It was a chill November morning, at Ramachandrapuram, Lingampally where my last official sessions were going on. I simply could not resist and after two sessions, I along with my colleague sat out on a shopping spree. Hyderabad is a big city and “city bus” journey was sure to be tiresome and time consuming. But still we opted for it as travelling in such buses takes you close to the people and you feel more like a local guy. Indeed, it was a long journey where we dozed off for some time, until the beautiful Charminar caught our eyes. And there was that bustling place; the so called “Bazaars of Hyderabad”. The popular stuffs here were the bangles, pearls, bidriware, perfume, silverware, wholesale clothes and bridal ware. Laad Bazaar has an incredible collection of bangles in varied designs and styles; its huge collection includes all types of glass bangles, metal bangles and the famous locally made ‘lac bangles
‘. The proper location of this “Choodi” Bazaar is in the lane leading west of the famous Charminar. We roamed through those colourful shops and were almost lost among the bangles. We tried many of them rummaging shops after shops .It was extremely difficult to choose one and reject other, as you feel like grabbing all of them back home.
Everywhere there was hustle bustle, everything unkempt, overcrowded, and congested– a true melange in every respect. It reminded me of the legendary poem “In the Bazaars of Hyderabad” by Sarojini Naidu
. Some typical shops’ names that caught my attention were Meena bangles, Fine Bengals, Nayeem Bengals, Famina Bengals, Akbar Bangles and so on. One important thing I observed here was the vendors’ etiquettes. They deal very courteously with the customers and they have their own style of convincing. Most of the floors in the shops were furnished with decorative carpets and mattresses on which we were allowed to sit. At Akbar bangles, the young shopkeeper in a nick of time made different combinations of colourful Bengals. You just simply need to tell the colour of the dress and they will display before you the best colour combinations, leaving you perplexed to make the choice. Unable to make a choice many a time, I bought all of them. The glittering bangles dangling all around the shop would compel you to make few of them yours. We came to know that the Hyderabad’s glass bangles were named as “ Sona Bai “.My colleague had a fondness for this “sona bai” and she bargained her best for those. While she was busy cajoling, I sat observing the conversation between the vendors and the customers. Along with us there was a group of burkha clad ladies, probably clans, who were busy matching bangles with the trousseau. I tried to see the face of the bride among them but the veil couldn’t be trespassed. The shopkeeper recounted some old tales of bangles and also informed that the name Laad came from the famous lacquer (laad) bangles. While another one told that the marketplace was built by some Muhammad Shah for his dear daughter Laad’s wedding ceremony and hence the name. Whatever be the story, the place indeed is unique in one of its kind and a must visit one. Above all, we were mostly interested in the traditional handcrafted lacquer bangles
studded with glittering coloured stones. These embellished bangles are expensive owing to the hardship required to craft these with accurate intricacies. This time we were in the shop “Fine Bangles” .We bought lots from there in the name of gifts; though back in mind we knew most of them would get their place in our own bangles collection.
Here the shops do not require special decorations to entice customers because the Bangles speak for themselves. Still, the beckoning tactics play a crucial role in their style of business. One person stays at the entrance of the shop beckoning passers-by to enter their shop. The very moment you go to have a look at those, you will surely succumb.
The next big thing of the bazaars of Hyderabad is the “Pearl”. While visiting Hyderabad if you have not purchased a trinket of pearl, your visit remains incomplete .Also it makes a good souvenir or a gift for your dear ones.
Coming out of the bangle alleys, we proceeded towards left to the pearl shops. It was a long shopping strip and every shop was more or less packed. We tried to enter Motilal Jewellers & Pearls but it was so crowded there that we were bound to leave. Moreover, we did not go for a few of them, owing to the fear of duplicity of pearls nowadays. At last we found some government certified authentic ones. It was Krishna Pearls where we finally shopped which stored an exquisite collection of genuine pearls. There were all types of jewellery from a subtle white pearl string to exclusive designer collections. Besides plain white pearl, coloured ones in many shapes and sizes are found here. Cultured pearls studded in gold and silver jewellery of intricate design were another speciality. You can get raw pearls by weight there too. However, the plain white pearls are always dear to most and I am not an exception. Pearls in Hyderabad were famous from the times of Nizams who flourished in pearl business. Pearls are pierced and stringed locally since then and given perfect finish for selling.
A little piece of advice for all is never to forget ‘the big bargaining’. Prices may go down below 40-50 percent of tagged price in Laad Bazaar. Bargaining and haggling is part and parcel of this market. It is very common that shopkeepers here keep exaggerated prices in the expectation of customers bargaining. You should speak out whatever price comes to your mind and I can assure you that it will bring you the iota of happiness. Another point to remember is to check the authenticity of pearls. A real pearl generally have a slightly rough texture.
Our next venture was the Medina market, mainly a textile market. Here goods were sold in wholesale rate. We meandered through passages and more passages came our way. We bought some soft cotton sarees in one of them. Then we entered another for some silk sarees and they had varieties from southindian silk to banarasi ones. There were also net, georgette and crepe sarees.
The fruit market, Moazzjam jahi, was another delight where we savoured the very popular Karachi Biscuits. Those were made from fruits and were very delicious. The market is situated at Koti after crossing river Musi.
Hyderabad is equally famous for delicious cuisines and one such is “hyderabadi biryani”. And thus we ended our day with the appetizing dinner at Hotel Paradise, with biryani and kebabs.
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