In an age where farmers markets are a big rage, many would admit that the local markets in our towns have been the main source for us buying veggies and so. The traditional markets model might prove challenging at times but there are few that have existed the test of time till date

Let’s take a look at two of these largest markets in the world that is run by woman

Ima Keithel at Manipur

This market was set up 16th century due to the imposition of the labour system. The words Ima Keithel literally translates to Mother’s Market. Historians and researchers believe that the all-women workforce originated after the Lallup-Kaba, an ancient forced labour system. Located at Khwairamband Bazar, this 500-year-Old market today is hub of Imphal’s commercial and economic activity and plays a huge role in boosting the state’s economy. This Asia’s largest all-women market, only married women are allowed to trade in the market and is also known as the Market of Matriachs. All vendors follow a schedule and each of them are given an opportunity to sell their goods on a rotational basis. This one happens to be the largest of all the women’s only market in all parts of North East India. The whole market area here is divided into multiple buildings. Each see their own administration unit. Men here are not permitted to run a stall here.

This market sees anything and everything from vegetables and fruits to jewelry, traditional Manipuri handicrafts, apparel and more woman sell all variety of goods. This market is also a great example of the local culture of the state. This bustling market cater to all the needs of locals as well to that of tourists, this market is absolutely spik and span and ultra clean. 

Mao market at Imphal

This market that was recently inaugurated has come as a relief and joy for the women vendors as the newly opened Mao market to sell their farm produce at ease in Imphal. The market sees some exotic varieties of fresh catch, fresh flowers, organic vegetables and fruits grown all of which is grown in hills of Mao, and bet each is of high quality and are in high demand. The women from the hills come down to sell their produce here. 

Chef Thomas Zacharias took to Instagram and wrote “Nagaland has many different tribes and each cooks and eats a little differently from the other. This is reflective at Mao market in Kohima, run mostly by women who hail from these various tribes. While it may be considered an extreme experience for the ‘faint hearted’, a visit here is necessary to really understand the ingredients which define the cuisine & food culture of this part of Nagaland. Apart from the seasonal produce of this north-east Indian state ranging from local mushrooms and bamboo to different types of chilies, beans and gourds, there are also wood worms, hornet bees, catfish, silkworms, and an entire butcher’s market to explore.

Chef Asano Angami (@asano_angami) and photographer Qhevika Swu (@qhevika__swu), longtime residents of Kohima themselves, have beautifully documented the stories and ingredients from this iconic Naga market on the latest piece in our #MarketArchives.