Seven years ago I spent 2 months in Kolkata, arriving for the first time at the wonderful Howrah station, planning to take a taxi to my pre-booked hotel. Stepping outside the bustle and noise of the station I immediately saw that taking a taxi would not be wise; the traffic jam stretched out of the station and apparently right across the gleaming, silver meccano bridge which is Howrah. Pushing my wheely suitcase I threaded my way through the immobile taxi ranks, avoiding the elongated puddles which harboured foul water as best as I could, and joined the long line of people waiting to step onto the very same silver bridge as soon as the crowd allowed.
I had arrived at Kolkata, the City of Joy.
Besides the river Ganges/Hooghly and traversing both sides of the mighty Howrah Bridge in Kolkata can be found the Mullick Ghat Flower Market, one of the largest flower markets in Asia. Both flowers and colour play substantial roles in the world of Hindu worship and everyday, in a fascinating spectacle of humanity, vendors and buyers meet to fulfill the spiritual requirement for flowers over west Bengal.
The market starts around 4 am in the morning with flower sellers from adjacent areas of Kolkata gathering with their colourful merchandise. The sellers displayed their merchandise – roses, marigolds, sunflowers, garden balsams and other flowers lay in all their colourful glory. There is utter chaos everywhere, the market is overcrowded, but the experience of seeing such a vibrant market is altogether unique. Quite obviously, the market becomes all the more booming during the festive and marriage seasons.