A thousand flowers bloom

Early November may have been blemished by high levels of pollution but amid the foul air, the Ghazipur Flower Market blooms

A thousand flower blooms

ALIGNED ENCHANTMENT: Workers making garlands out of a variety of flowers. (All photos: Shehwaaz Khan)

November has brought upon us pollution, which is burning our eyes and making our throats go sore. But celebrations are also imminent as the flower market in Ghazipur, an eastern quarter of the Capital, appears in full bloom with stocks of marigolds and other varieties ahead of the marriage season.

A few small shops are selling gajra (strings made of jasmine, roses and other flowers to be worn on hair by women at weddings) while decorative items made of plastic are also in demand besides the real flowers.

At the entrance of the mandi – which includes both the flower market and vegetable market – are small makeshift shops selling flowers made of plastic and other decorative items for weddings.

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Colourful floral signages of mehndi and haldi are on display to attract customers.

“A lot of customers tend to buy these plastic items, especially flowers, because they don’t wither in a day or two. This is the time when a lot of weddings are taking place in Delhi and we have decided to sell these items,” says one of the vendors.

But the fragrance of roses, jasmine and marigold is something that defines weddings, he says. “A lot of people buy real flowers for the fragrance and these items [only] for decoration,” he adds.

At a glance, one can see a number of activities that add up to the overall environment of the place: women and kids making garlands, workers loading and unloading bundles of flowers, and vendors negotiating with the customers.

The white guldavri (chrysanthemum) makes the place look heavenly. When it mixes with marigold yellow and the many colours of jalbhara (gerbera), it synchronises with the hustle-bustle of the market – giving it a surreal aura.

As far as the eye can see, there are flowers of many kinds, both domestic and imported: anthurium, rajnigandha, orchids, carnations, roses, lilies, among others.

One of the largest and most well-known flower markets in the country, the Ghazipur Flower Market deals in a variety of flowers, including those imported from Europe and Southeast Asia. These are thereafter sold all around the nation.

Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka are the biggest suppliers of flowers to this market. The majority of orchids come from Bangkok, as traders here have direct contact with exporters in the Thai capital.

STRENGTH AND BEAUTY: A labourer loading bundles of yellow flowers
GET SET READY: Floral signages for Mehendi and Haldi ceremonies
PICK A COLOUR: Different colours of roses ready to be sold
MAGIC YELLOW: Marigolds are in high demand due to the wedding season

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Shehwaaz covers community, sexuality, gender, and other social issues for Patriot.