Ima Market Imphal

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2014

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I went to Manipur in November 2014 to enjoy the very popular Sangai Festival. Since I was there for the entire ten days had time to visit other places. I was happy to discover IMA Market or Mother''s Market. It is an all ladies market spread over three buildings. Starting about 4.30 am ladies sit outside selling veggies, the shops inside open between 8.30 to 9.30 am.

There are 3 buildings. One has veggies/fish and other two clothing. U see a lady opening store. There is a platform on which material for sale are kept, in evening it is put back into boxes and locked. Lady selling material for Puja etc.

A very sporting lady offered to showcase her product that too with super smiles. In lady wear top clothing is called INAPHI and lower PHANEK. The lower clothing is a constant whilst saw many experiment with upper clothing. For formal wear upper clothing is called MAYEKNAIVI ie worn on top of a blouse. I think what you see is formal upper wear.

On my request ladies covered themselves with SHAWL. U get them for ladies and gents. By shawl design u can identify which tribe it belongs to. The shawls you see is what I bought -very warm. Paid about Rs 400/ each for male shawl. Best time to buy is when they open shop say 9 am, less crowd so can select and everyone wants to do Bauni or first sale of the day.

Another morning view. Shawls in lovely designs, some with intricate hand work. Also get Stolls/Mufflers. Seeing the stuff I wanted to buy more and more. Could not since they occupy lots of space and planned to go to Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura after this. A friends wife shopped as if there was no tomorrow.

This is a thin material ka shawl, loved the peacock design handwork done locally. Bought this for Rs 350/. Ladies also sell bridal clothing and what is used in Raas Leela Dance.

Another peacock design one. Number of lady shopkeepers said we will model for you only if you buy from us. Obviously could not buy from all. Number of ladies were very sporting. They were curious to know where I was from, why did I come to market so often. With the ladies who spoke Hindi had some lighter and enjoyable moments.

This lady selling Puja ka samaan ie material. Handloom items including small shoulder bags are also available in a shop opposite the Marwari Dharamshala. Next to that is a rest that serves dosa, milk shakes, aloo paranthas, dhoklas, jalebis and lots of other goodies.

Pic clicked during day. Overview of market. High ceilings, lots of space to walk around, well displayed with lots of light. Manipur has a very rich tradition of weaving, most of the stuff sold are hand woven. Am not an expert on textiles, in case of any errors please mail me shall correct.

Selling artificial jewelry. Red thing that u see in centre of pic is used during Ras Leela Dance.

Ladies having early morning cuppa of tea and catching up. This market sells veggies, fish and sweets.

Back to the garments market. The cell phone has changed our lives in more ways than we can imagine. For most days cell and internet connectivity in Manipur was very good meaningWhats App worked. Saw wide scale usage of Whats App in Imphal.

Ladies at work. It was cold in November hence shawls.

Ladies selling artificial jewellery and what is used during Manipuri dance. To see pics of Applique Work by ladies of Barmer, Rajasthan Click here

At the inauguration of the International Polo Festival, ie part of the Sangai Festival, you see a Manipuri girl holding balloons. Note ornaments - love the design. To see Ornaments worn by people of Jaisalmer during the Jaisalmer Desert Festival Click here

Took this pic from top of flyover, probably at 7.30 am. From a distance the building looks like a monastery. This is bldg one where veggies and fish are sold. Just behind it is bldg two that you saw earlier ie where handmade garments are sold. Bldg three is across the road where again handmade textiles are sold.

One section of bldg one has fish. U see lady cleaning fish.

A lady does early morning hisaab (meaning writing account).

Lady sells fish on the roadside.

Minutes away from this market is Main Shopping Market called Paona Bazaar where everything from Ray Ban glasses, Pepe Jeans, Nike Shoes, China made shoes, clothes, woolens and lots more is on sale. Nice market probably a 1.5 kms walk through. Enjoyable. Get good aloo paranthas and chai in one of the shops there. Pic is inside the Ray Ban shop.

Chilies for sale. Much bigger than what we get in Mumbai. Was told that most Manipuris love chilies. In Hornbill Festival Nagaland there is a chillie eating competition. U see ladies sitting outside bldg number one of Ima Market, say 9 am.

Lady selling home made sweets for eg til a ladoo. I had quite a few, loved it. Lady in centre of pic - observed her every time visited market. Always had a gentle smile, dealt with customers very nicely, did her work quietly. She works hard, comes by 8ish to leaves by 6 pm. Loved her smile.

Vegetable vendor. In Manipur sunrise by 5 am. I stayed close to Ima market. One day went for morning walk at 5 am and saw truck loads of veggies coming from villages. Onions and potatoes invariably came from Myanmar ie thru Moreh border or from other parts of India. To see pics of Moreh Border Click here

Fruits on sale. Lady also doing knitting.

Evening view of the veggie and fish market.

Manipuri lady in Ima Market. Reminded me of my Nani ie Ma''s Ma.

Green round colored you see in front of pic is called THANGJING, grows inside water. It is used to make chatni.

Mother daughter duo sell pottery items.

Dry fish shop. Row one are chilies on sale. In Imphal stay in Classic Hotel say Rs 2-3000 per day. For cheaper hotel Rs 500-1000 try Hotel Tampha 9863814663. Nirmala Hotel is very good, 0385 2459014orClick here rate under Rs 2,200/. Try Apollo Hotel ie about 10 minutes walk from Ima Market cost Rs 1200-1500/. Get good Punjabi food there.

Some more ladies selling dry fish. To see pics of Woolens of Munisyari in Kumaon Uttaranchal Click here

At the inauguration of the 8th Manipur Polo International 2014, a very popular Manipuri dancer performing. Her name is MANGKA. She danced very well. Visit her impressive face book page Click here

In Kangla Fort met these women who had come for a talk. Note dress. First look might appear they are wearing a sari actually not. There are 3 garments. One is lower ie tied round the waist called PHANEK. Above blouse what is tied round like a sari is called INAPHI. Since these ladies have come for a formal meeting what they wore is a formal top garment called MAYEKNAIVI. To see pics of Block Printing in Sanganer Jaipur Click here

The traditional hockey of Manipur is called "MUKNA KANGJEI" which means wrestling and hockey. Players have hockey sticks like elsewhere. However, a player can pick up the ball and run to the opponents goal to score a goal. Players u see standing together is actually player of one team holding back player of another team so that their team member who is running with ball is not stopped. Fun to watch.

U see the very popular Cheraw or bamboo dance. Girls dance at the rhythm of dram and bamboos. The color combination of dress and stepping in between bamboos creates a rhythmic atmosphere. To see pics of Tribes of Tripura Click here