The Potey Bazaar at Indrachowk is a historical market in Kathmandu. Locals also call the area Kashmiri Bazaar, probably referring to the Muslim heritage of the place.
The market, which in previous years used to be bustling with customers especially during the wedding season and in the month of Shrawan when Hindu women follow a tradition of buying glass bead necklaces, had gone quiet for more than a year due to the prohibitory order imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
But now with the order being eased the market is again coming back to life albeit without the crowds of the previous years. Shahid Uddin, who owns a shop in Potey Bazaar, shares, "Compared to previous years business is really low. Even now when it is a peak season we do not have as many buyers as in the previous years.”
He adds only a few people have been coming in the mornings and luckily they have been buying quite a few items which is a big relief for the shopkeepers there. Uddin informs that people buy different colored necklaces in different seasons. “In Shrawan, women come looking for green glass bead necklaces whereas during the wedding season and Teej the color red is in trend,” he adds.
Reminiscing about the first lockdown, Uddin says, "The first lockdown was a big struggle since we were not prepared for it at all. However, it has not been as bad during the second prohibitory order as the first one taught us how to manage our finances."
The shopkeepers in Potey Bazaar have been in the business for a long time and have formed a tight-knit community. Khalid Uddin, a 65-year-old, says he has been weaving glass bead necklaces and selling them for almost 52 years now. “We have been in this business for a very long period of time and it is now being handed down from generation to generation,” he adds.
Shahid meanwhile says the Potey Bazaar is a fantastic example of religious unity. “The glass beads are produced by Christians in Europe which they sell to Nepali Muslims who weave them into necklaces that are worn by Hindu women,” he shares.
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