The bazaar of blooms

Rajeev Tyagi | Updated on February 15, 2019

Asia’s largest flower market, Mullik Ghat in Kolkata, is a riot of colours, with nearly 4,000 vendors selling everything from marigold and jasmine to imported lilies

When in Kolkata, a trip to the colourful yet chaotic Mullik Ghat/Jagannath Ghat flower market is a must. Whether for weddings, festivals or temple rituals, you can find every kind of flower here. Located under the magnificent Howrah Bridge, at its south-eastern end and adjacent to the Hooghly River, it is the largest flower market in Asia.

Nearly 4,000 sellers arrive at this 131-year-old market at 3 every morning, armed with everything from roses of different hues to sunflowers, marigolds, hibiscus, orchids, lilies and more. Marigold, in every form, from loose petals to large garlands, and used extensively in religious festivities, is one of the biggest draws here. West Bengal’s state flower, the Night Flower Jasmine (harshringar), is popular for its supposed health benefits.

The flowers are sourced from various places in and around Kolkata, such as Howrah, Santiniketan , 24 South Parganas, South and East Midnapore, Nadia, Darjeeling and Bardhaman. Some varieties such as jasmine arrive from Bengaluru and a few including Oriental and Asiatic lilies, carnations and chrysanthemums are imported from countries such as Thailand.

The flowers in their thousands make for a pretty sight, drawing droves of tourists and photographers alike, who can click amazing frames from atop the adjacent Howrah Bridge.

Rajeev Tyagi is a Delhi-based photojournalist

Published on February 15, 2019

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