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Know Your City: ‘Capital of flower markets’, Ahmedabad’s Jamalpur Bazaar relies on vendors’ bonds, customers’ joy | Ahmedabad News


Across the Sardar Bridge from the NID side over the Sabarmati river is Jamalpur Phool Bazaar, Ahmedabad’s only dedicated wholesale flower market.

Open almost 24×7, the busiest hours at the bazaar – in the area famous for the Jagannath temple – are from 3.30 am to 8.30 am when even the wholesale vegetable market in the neighbourhood opens. After wholesale trade, the market opens for retail sale.

The market has 32 stores that get flowers from all over India, but the majority of the flowers are sourced from the areas in a 40-km radius of Ahmedabad, mainly Naroda, Kheda, Sarkhej, Dholka and as far as Bharuch. Outside the state, they are sourced from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bengaluru and Chennai.

It first began with flower sales from front porches in the street named Fulgali in Teen Darwaza area about 2 km away. Due to traffic and space constraints brought about by the market’s growth, the vendors banded together to create an organisation to raise funds and thus came about a market in 1989. Traders say, each merchant “contributed 25 paisa” to build this exclusive flower market.

Festive offer
Jamalpur Flower market Approximately 500 households from the neighbouring areas outside the flower market purchase flowers from the market and use them to create garlands for a living. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

Located in a congested and busy part of old Ahmedabad opposite the Saptarishi crematorium, the market customises orders for every occasion from births to weddings and deaths. As per the season, the fragrance of marigolds, lilies or desi roses waft through as one walks in.

Rizwan Ahmed Shahid Arab, who heads the Ahmedabad Wholesale Flower Merchant Association, says, “Flowers play such a significant role in our lives. We all need flowers during both birth and death.” Arab’s family has been in the flower-selling business for the last 120 years, he adds.

As the wedding season has started, marigolds, country roses, gladioli, Dutch roses and carnations are the popular flowers. Loose flowers are sold mostly during festivals like Diwali and Navratri for worship. The Dholka region in Ahmedabad district farms the roses, marigolds and chrysanthemums which are then brought to the market on trucks, either by traders or the farmers themselves.

“The special thing about our market is that all the merchants have good mutual understanding, and customer satisfaction is our priority. The market rate depends on the volume of flowers, the customers and the festive season. Flowers like orchids come from Thailand and reach Ahmedabad through Delhi and Mumbai,” Arab says.

‘Flowers part of our soul’

Nimesh Modi, a flower merchant who has been in the business for 40 years, says, “This is the capital of all flower markets in Gujarat. Flowers are now like a part of our soul since we are attached to them. However, this space is very constrained and we hope to get a bigger place for our market.” His most-sold flowers are lilies, roses and chrysanthemums, the roses sourced mostly from Dholka and Vadodara.

“The imported varieties like Dutch roses, gladioli and some chrysanthemums come from Bengaluru,” says Modi, adding that besides traditional delivery persons like autorickshawalas, the traders have tied up with online delivery apps like Rapido.

Hasmukhbhai Gandhi, a flower merchant, sources his imported stock from Pune, Bengaluru, Delhi and Nashik while the local varieties come from Dholka and Anand. He says a majority of his clients come between 4 am and 8 am for higher volumes. The ecosystem of the bazaar is built by the close bonding of the farmers, merchants and vendors who live within 15 km of the market.

Jamalpur Flower market As the wedding season has started, marigolds, country roses, gladioli, Dutch roses and carnations are the popular flowers. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

Approximately 500 households from the neighbouring areas outside the flower market purchase flowers from the market and use them to create garlands for a living. Sangeeta Ravariya, a regular vendor from Shivranjani, told The Indian Express, “I have been in this business since childhood. I buy flowers from the wholesale market and sell them on the streets of Jamalpur along with other vendors. Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, and Navratri are the festivals during which flower sales increase.”

Third-generation flower vendor Rameshbhai Patel specialises in garlands and bouquets, while Manguben Sara, a flower seller from the Odhav area, makes gajras and garlands of all hues. “I have been coming to this market for the past 10 years. It is generally seen that during Diwali and wedding season, the number of customers is high compared to other periods. Our day starts at 2 am and we are busy till 11 pm without a break. Most of the customers buy rose flowers and garlands,” Sara explains.

The downside

However, the business has its lows too. Lakshman Kumar, a flower trader from Pansara village of Anand district, buys the stock from farmers and brings it to Jamalpur at 3 am. He says the sale of flowers varies from day to day. “Sometimes we must throw away all the flowers due to a lack of customers. There is always a rush in the morning when the market is opening as vendors grab their respective areas and start selling. Rates are not always the same, sometimes the market is so down that we have to sell flowers worth Rs 200 at Rs 20. Sometimes we bear so much loss that we cannot afford our transportation expenses,” he says.

Brijraj Pandey, a priest and regular customer from Kalupur, comes here to buy roses and orange-coloured flowers for worship. “I came here to buy flowers especially for today’s Ganesh puja. Market prices vary daily. Today roses are available at Rs 50 (a kg) and sometimes it reaches Rs 300. I always buy flowers from this market whatever be the event — a puja, havan marriage, housewarming, or Ganesh sthapana.”

Asopalav leaves, used mostly for torans, are also sold here. Mohanbhai Marwadi, a vendor from Ambawadi in west Ahmedabad, says he sells asopalav leaves sourced from private bungalow gardens. “I cut them with the permission of the landlord and bring them here for sale early in the morning. Customers buy asopalav leaves for decoration, garlands and during festivals. Only my family sells asopalav leaves, unlike other vendors selling flowers. This is our third generation in this business initiated by my grandfather,” he says as vendors across the bazaar continue to string garlands, gajra and torans even as others decorate cars for special occasions.

(Nidhi Bhadra is an intern with The Indian Express) 





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