iShop Manek Chowk - Old Vegetable Market

Wholesale vegetables and fruits in a quaint red brick building

Many inner cities face a cycle of prosperity and decay every few decades, so is the case with Ahmedabad…but thankfully, this market has been able to sustain. We love working here!
— Bharatbhai, fruit vendor

Fruits & vegetables

A quaint, colonial brick-arched building houses the large Manek Chowk fruit market. Next to the mighty Jama Mosque, it was the first market within the walled city of Ahmedabad. Brimming with fresh seasonal produce and featuring over a hundred shops, the market is a grocery shopper’s paradise. “Originally it was a wholesale vegetable market, but over time the shops changed to selling fruits” recalls 65-year-old shopkeeper, Jitendrabhai.

From father to son

So typical for Ahmedabad, you find a wide range of ethnicities of traders, from Sindhi, Muslim, Gujarati to Rajasthani. Many have inherited the shops from their fathers and grandfathers. Replete with many stories of both times of prosperity and misfortune, the shopkeepers to know more than just fruit prices! With great pride fruit vendor Bharatbhai recalls: “On busy days the market would be washed thrice a keep up with the flurry of visitors.”

Ingenious design

The design of the building using a system of columns and beams creates a grid that neatly organises the shops and stalls inside the market. Look out for the centralskylightt, especially around sunset, it envelops the interiors in a warm, golden glow! You will find original light and fan fixtures suspended precariously from the high ceilings, for optimum natural ventilation. In the southern corner stands a slender, spiral staircase leading up to the terrace. Climb your way up to witness a spectacular view, just make sure there aren’t any monkeys around!

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