Monday, March 1, 2010

Competition Entry: Udaipur Spice Market in India

There is no better way to spend Monday morning than reading a bunch of interesting competition entries that arrived in our inbox over the weekend, thanks to everyone that sent in entries for our Worldwide Market Guide Competition over the last week. One of our faves was this one sent in by Kathryn Saducas from Sydney.  How amazing, colourful and vibrant does this market in India look?  We have to get over there to check it out for ourselves asap... Congratulations Kathryn, you are now in the running to win a $150 gift voucher.  Keep those entries coming everyone, only a couple of weeks left!

Udaipur Spice Market in India by Kathryn Saducas from Sydney

We recently travelled to India and stayed for 7 days in Udaipur – known as the Venice of India. Not quite Venice perhaps, but it is definitely cleaner than most of India, there’s not much hassle, and it’s a great place to relax and hang out for a while to embrace India. One thing is hard to find in India and that’s a map. But on a laminated map in our Hotel Mahendra Prakesh I saw the words ‘spice market’ and was determined to find them. You won’t find the spice market advertised in many travel guides because there are so many other more important sights in Udaipur, but if you want the real deal, you have to find these markets – which isn’t so easy.

Head along Lake Palace Rd towards the City Palace and turn right at the Jagdish temple, walk towards the clock tower and you will be close. As you wind through the packed little streets full of people, odours, stores spilling onto the streets with goods and produce you will get lost a few times before you find the spice market. All the streets are packed with locals doing their shopping in bright coloured saris. You will find loads of jewellery, kitchen wares, grocers, chai shops, what looks like store after store of $2 shops – all piled high and spilling onto the tiny streets winding like an ant farm through the back of Udaipur. Don’t bother asking for directions as no one will know what you are saying, but eventually you should stumble across the food and spice market.

There will be people haggling, ladies carrying vegetables high on their heads, piles of coloured turmeric, chilli powder, spices red, yellow, ochre, brown... you will find bars of handmade soaps, coffee, salt, strange vegetables, drinks, cows, people, rickshaws, cars, bananas, vegetables, saris, children, goats... all squeezed into tiny streets. People smiling and waving you over, thrusting corn cobs and chilli towards you. It was fabulous – one of my most memorable days – Incredible India!