Wedding shopping and Bara Bazar go hand in hand. We tracked down the best of the best at Bara Bazar.
Let’s face it. From the past few months, every time you log in to Facebook, you see a friend getting married!
The ornate decor, the grand attires and the huge number of ‘likes’ on the pictures transports you into a world of bling, accessories, glamour and glitz, every element you could have dreamt of in your wedding.
Now your groom may not come as a knight in shining armour on horseback (so you can strike one off your wedding bucket list) but getting hold of the perfect attire and customising the most suitable ensemble for your better half may be possible to execute, even in Kolkata. The misconception that resides in every would-be brides mind these days is that Delhi is the wedding capital of the country. Hold your horses for a second there, as Kolkata is no less in heritage and culture and is completely at par with the fashion trends taking the rounds in fashion town. So, if the pre wedding jitters are getting out of proportion for you to handle, wipe the beads of sweat off your forehead as Kolkata in all its glory has a corner in the city, tucking away the ultimate paradise for every wedding shopper – Bara Bazar.
With the first copy of Sabyasachi Mukherjees bridal ‘Lehengas’ that incorporate a Bengali touch to Manish Malhotra’s ‘Shararas’ with a hint of Bollywood in them, Bara Bazar, an offbeat market hidden away in Central Kolkata, is abode to everything ‘wedding’. If you haven’t already checked this insane market out, we suggest you head down right now with your bridesmaids and get ready to see the evolution of a girl next door into the perfect bride on your D day.
The bridal touch
You may have decided upon a classic red ‘Benarasi’ Saree for the wedding, a yellow ‘Taater’ Saree for the Aiburobhaat and Haldi and a chic contemporary lehenga for the reception. The dilemma being, where would you find all three and not have to head hunt and invest huge sums of money and time?
Bara Bazar is your answer. The gigantic market, a five-minute-walk from the Mahatma Gandhi Road Metro Station, is home to shops galore that flaunt the best designer lehengas and sarees. With the classic Benarasi in Priya Gopal Bishoyi to the zirdosi blouses in Saree Emporium, Burtolla Street is heaven on Earth for the would-be brides in Kolkata. If that’s not enough, be ready to be spoilt for choice at the Satyanarayan AC Market, right next to the Satyanarayan Bhagwan Ji Ka Mandir that has the largest and most up to date bridal attires.
The bright hues of reds and pinks and the eye catching yellows and oranges are wardrobe must-haves during the wedding season for the innumerable number of rituals you may want to attend, but in style. Enter from Gate Number 2 and you will be greeted by the most trend setting full gowns with a lace shrug to top it off. What’s more? The prices will leave you aghast. The lehengas start from a minimal amount of Rs 8000. IS THAT YOU WE HEAR SCREAMING IN GLEE? We all know the pain of not being able to indulge in a Sabyasachi for the big day, so go ahead. Celebrate!
Glam it up, bling it up
For the trousseau, the Jewellery shops at Bara Bazar define vogue. The Polki, Kundan, Jadau with stone setting sets, the pearls and the gold plated sets combine the ‘Nath’ (Nose ring), the ‘Matha Patti’ (Head gear), the necklaces and the earrings. As tradition has it, the ‘Churas’ or the Red set of 55 bangles that every bride is given by her maternal uncle is customary for the bride to wear.
To top it off, the ‘Kaleere’ or the tiny embellishments that hang off the bangles are all available here. Venture into the lanes near Fomra House, and you will find ‘Avon Collection’, a shop that boasts the most brilliant variety of bangles, specialises in the bridal bangle sets, the lowest price being Rs 400 and going up to a maximum of Rs 2000. While on a budget, the run of the mill shops at Bara Bazar that have jewellery designers perched on the roads, sewing away gorgeous sets of jewellery, sell the prettiest hand-made stuff.
Time to suit up!
If the bride is the eye catcher on the wedding day, the entire ceremony is incomplete without the groom, twirling their moustaches as they wait for someone to tell them how handsome they look. Everyone craves a little praise, and the ‘Sherwani’ range in Bara Bazar will leave you spellbound, as the praises will come showering upon you on the final day.
Rabindra Sarani Road, just a few bends away from Burtolla Road in the vicinity of Bara Bazar, exhibits the ‘Sherwani’ sets that add up to the glamour quotient to the bridegroom. With beige and cream being the base colours, this place is the holy abode for anyone on a budget, but with a trend in mind. The would-be groom will certainly be left in awe here as the entire stretch has embellished kurtas, and pre-folded dhotis, high-tone ‘sherwanis’ and muted tones of ‘pyjamas’ that will give any high couture shop a run for their money. Pocket pinch for these sets are just Rs 1000 and if you have your heart set on the best, the only hole in your pocket would be of Rs 10,000
Opposite New India Guest House at Bara Bazar are situated a few shops that also sell ‘Pagris’ and ‘Topors’ so beautiful, you might as well wear them everywhere. The pre-made ‘Pagris’ (Head gear for the groom) are an absolute steal as they range from Rs 300 to Rs 1000 and are a customary buy for the groom and his best man. Guys- a heads up, the adorned ‘Pagris’ will save you the embarrassment of a bad haircut on the most important day of your life!
The trousseau and the gorgeous give aways at Bara Bazar
Now that you both look on fleek after all the budget purchases you’ve made, it’s time to fulfil the families wishes by flocking to the stores on Rabindra Sarani Road. The ‘Tatwa’ and the brides’ trousseau are equally important investments to be made, and why go elsewhere when your hunt ends at Bara Bazar. Rajesh Ji’s shop is the one-stop-shop for everything ranging from the ‘Sindoor Kouto’ to the ‘Note ki Mala’, the decorative trays and the paraphernalia for the rituals. The flower market and the fruit market that have a vibrant collection of flowers and fruits are the perfect addition to your ‘Tatwa’ trays that sum up as the perfect give aways.
When hunger beckons
All the shopping and street hopping may leave your tummy grumbling. Fear not, as although the innumerable number of street food shops selling juices, ‘Pav Bhaji’, Sev puri, Puchkas, Chaat and Chillas may be galore, but when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Bara Bazar means The Royal Indian Hotel for a hearty meal of Mutton Chaap and Rumali Roti or the legendary Biryani that Kolkata is most famous for.
Satisfy your taste buds and get lost in the flavour packed extravaganza that Royal has on the menu for a few decades now
A journey together in vogue
Kolkata 700017 is the chic store house that you were looking for.
With lanes like ‘Khengra Patti’ that deal in laces and beads and other forms of embellishments or the China Bazar that has a host of stationery and decoration items you might need for the ‘Mandap’, the whole-sale rates at which everything is sold is an absolute steal.
So, what are you waiting for? Tick all your wishes off your bucket list as you and your groom set off an adventure into the unknown, kicking it off in style.
If gold jewellery isn’t your thing, here’s a list of silver jewellery shops in Kolkata.
Pictures: Sarodik Ghoshal