Gundreebazaar

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Gundreebazaar in Darjeeling in around 1912.

Gundree Bazaar comes from two words – Gundree (Nepali) means a blanket made of rough wool. Bazaar (Persian) means a market place. Gundree was the quintessential all purpose cloth for the Gorkhas. They used it as a bedsheet which could be laid over the bed during summer and worn over during winter. Interestingly, the Gorkhas flocked to small towns and cross-roads during the specific day of the week to sell their products. These were known as Haat Bazaars. Many such places developed into small towns and came to be known by the day of the week in which the Haat Bazaars were organised such as Sombaria, (Monday) Manglabaria (Tuesday) etc.

Darjeeling also was popular essentially as Haat Bazaar. Haat Bazaar used to take place here during the Tuesdays. Later when the British arrived and the place developed into a proper modern town a permanent market place came into existence. The British offered the native residents a place to sell their products in what was then known as the Parade Ground. It was surrounded on the four sides by Municipal Buildings and the police and soldiers stationed in the town were housed there. During the day, people from all across the hills flocked to the Parade Ground right from the dawn. They would carry their goods in their bamboo baskets (Doko). Once they reached their specified place, they spread their Gundree and put their goods on top of it. Since almost every seller used to spread their goods over Gundree, the market came to be known as Gundree Bazaar.

Gundree Bazaar is at the core of the Gorkha Heritage. In 2017, a group of entrepreneurs came together form an online shopping network devoted towards promoting products from Darjeeling Hills and Sikkim to the Global Market. Gundree Bazaar was not just appropriate, it was a Heritage worth preserving since a great deal of emotion of the Gorkhas are attached to it. The Motto of the Gundree Bazaar, Our Heritage, Our Bazaar now Online says it all.

 

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