Apart from sea-side, sun bathing and sight-seeing, one can explore another important and most sought after facet of Goa- shopping in traditional Goan markets……
Far different from malls, stores and designer showrooms; Goan markets reflect and bawl multi-ethnic culture and essence of Goa.
While the colorful and vibrant flea markets are a kaleidoscope of artifacts, curios, trinkets, shells work, beach gear, carved furniture and mound of other items; the local markets exhibit the agricultural products, variety of fish- fresh as well as dry, homemade pickles, sausages, spices etc…… One can roam around the traditional beachside shopping outlets to gather some memorable souvenirs exclusive to the land of Goa. It is fascinating and ‘out of this world’ experience to wander and shop in small towns and villages.
Popular shopping areas of Goa are Panjim, Old Goa, Anjuna Flea Market, Mapusa Friday Market and Night Bazaars. Panjim is known for great shopping malls and showrooms. But if you are looking for souvenirs, exquisite mementos, handicrafts; traditional bazaar is your place…..
• Anjuna Flea Market:
Every Wednesday a flea market or swap meet is held at Anjuna beach in a grove of coconut palms between the rocky beach where inexpensive or second hand goods are sold or bartered. It is also called as hippie market as the concept was laid down by the hippies in 80’s. Many needy foreigners used to sell or barter their belongings to the locals. The market is said to have originated on Valentine's Day 25 years ago by an American hippie, Eddie Mazmaniam, for raising small scale funds.
It is one of the most vivacious shopping spots where you can look for souvenirs, beachwear, trinkets etc. You can also get your body tattooed, your hair braided, a piercing or even a haircut and Ayurvedic massage. It is a crazy, frenzied world of vibrant colors, hoi polloi, shouting, clamor and clatter and all kind of goods. From fabric, ornamental crafts, spices to local Goanese, Kahmiri, Rajasthani and Tibetan handicrafts; there is no end. You can go on a shopping binge till you get exhausted.
Trance music played by Latin band amidst the market makes this place even more happening!!! The stalls look spectacular and the ambience is incredible. Though most items are exorbitantly priced, one shouldn’t hesitate to haggle!
Many stalls are condemned these days due to alleged rampant sell of narcotics, but still this weekly flea-market at Anjuna is a showcase of different cultures-national and international. Shopping in the fascinating atmosphere of this secluded palm fringed beach makes your trip to Goa memorable.
• Mackies’ Saturday Night Bazaar:
At 10 minutes drive from Calangute bus stand and you will find yourself walking through lanes of attractive oriental artisan bazaar. The Saturday Nite Bazaar located along the bank of Baga river and salt-pans in Arpora offers you a wide window to turn into a shopping spree.
Every Saturday this quaint place comes alive to the sound of music and dazzling light. Vendors are found hunkered down on the ground displaying variety a souvenirs and knick-knacks that attract western tourists. A variety of cuisine can be tried like authentic Goan, Chinese, Tibetan and Indian fast food. Live music performances by the local bands will surely get your feet tapping. Breathtaking performances by jugglers, fire dancers, belly dancers amidst the coconut groves will definitely make your visit unforgettable.
• Mapusa Friday Market:
Weekly market laid down by Goan as well as migrant hawkers on Fridays is major shopping destination for many. The Mapusa bazaar is one of the few authentic places for thorough marketing. It is a colorful and vibrant market that usually begins at 8 in the morning on Fridays and goes on till twilight sets in. From fruits stalls to vegetable stalls, you can find anything here. On entering this market and you are greeted by the pungent aroma of spices and the dried fish and sausages.
It has plenty of fresh fish, a variety of locally produced vegetables, and exotic fruits. Pickles and preserves, spices, earthen pots, glass bangles, baskets, coir mats, and the famous Goan 'chouricos' (ready spiced Goan pork sausages), dried fish and prawns, clothing, junk jewelry, and the famous Country liquor is all sold at the most reasonable prices. Thus it becomes favorite shopping spot for the local as well as the foreigners residing nearby to procure their requirements.
Local women from the nearby villages gather to sell their commodities. There is lot of nerve wrecking bawling and chaos. One gets a chance to peep in the lives of local and get acquainted in their humdrum activities.
Mapusa being the prime location in north Goa, has led this market to boom and grow to this size. A stroll in this Friday market will familiarize you with the spirit of the natives.
Local drink feni and cashew nuts are also in the hit-list of the shoppers. Best of them can be found in Old Goa. Old Goa market looks very traditional and has also got the best of Goan handicrafts and antiques.
So enjoy the flavor of Goan market, but judge the authenticity and buy genuine items. Be free to haggle and do buy little souvenirs for relatives back home… Don’t deny them of the magic and charm of Goa…..