As the tourists from all over the world started to pour in McLeodgunj, many things unusual to a small, quiet, laid back Himalayan town happened there. Hundreds of small, big hotels, hundreds or restaurants, dozens of Yoga and Music classes and so on. Also bloomed was a big market. There are literally hundreds of road side shops which appear in the morning an disappear completely by night. The sellers just sit on a cot or some kind of temporary elevated platform they have built at the road side.
Some utmost interesting things could be found there for sale. The focus is mainly on traditional looking or ethnic looking things and artefacts. Although lots of brass things made in Kanpur or Lucknow [in India] are sold in the market, they are quite popular amongst the buyers – especially foreigners. One entire road side is full of jewellery. Mainly beautiful colourful necklesses made up of some stones and beads are a big fashion for several years now. Now a days you get the same in other cities of India, but the quality of the jewellery here is considered to be better.
Mcleodgunj Market Seller
Most Tibetans who run small stalls of food or jewellery or memorabilia, shift their stalls to Chandigarh or some other towns in the winters, as not many tourists visit McLeodgunj that time. Later in March or so these sellers return back to McLeodgunj as the touristy season starts that time.
I kept wondering on the streets when I had nothing to do. I found some lovely colourful patterns being created by the arrangements of goods on the stalls. Some of the arrangements were quite artistically done. While I tried to buy some things for Vinita, I chatted up with the sellers. Most were quite enthusiastic for talking. They had their own stories. Common factor being how they came to India several years ago when they were a teenager, and how India has supported them. Generally they were quite grateful towards India, but not necessarily every Indian they come across.
One day I witnessed an unpleasant incidence. While I was looking for some nice incense sticks, I was looking at some very small vendors’ stalls sitting on the street. Suddenly one elderly vendor burst out shouting at some Indian buyer. Apparently the Indian had insulted him. The Indian must have crossed the limit as he quickly disappeared from the scene. I went to the Tibetan guy. He had a small tear in his eye. He kept talking to himself about although he is a refugee, he too is human and a person with self respect. The street went back to the normal and onlookers lost the interest in the case. I kept chatting with him and soon he calmed down. I decided to buy some things from him and he offered some good discount to me which I politely refused telling him It doesn’t matter to me, You talked with me and I am happy for that.
Mcleodgunj Market sellers
In the course of time I bought lots of necklesses and some earrings etc for Vinita, and tested all my bargaining skills on the younger sellers somewhat successfully. If you ever go to Mcleodgunj, keep some time in the schedule for shopping 🙂