Thimphu Centenary Farmers Weekend Market & Kuendeyling Bazaam12 November, 2011
If you are here in Thimphu on a weekend, your itinerary will most likely include a tour around the Thimphu Centernary Farmers Weekend Market. Thimphu weekend market is one of the largest domestic market for Bhutanese farmers. The weekend market is crammed into a set of stalls on both banks of the Wang Chhu, just north of Changlimithang Stadium. It’s an interesting place to visit, where village people jostle with well-heeled Thimphu residents for the best and cheapest vegetables and foodstuffs. The market essentially is a farmers market, where every week vendors from throughout the region start arriving by Thursday evening and stay at the market till Sunday. Farmers from as far as Lingshi in the north, Tashiyangtse in the east, and Sarpang, Dagana and Tsirang in the south bring their farm products to the market.
The two storied building has about 400 stalls for sale of vegetables, fruits, meat and other farm produces. It also houses cafeteria and separate stalls for non wood forest products. The market is open 6 days in a week except Wednesday.
Depending on the season you may find potatoes, garlic, numerous varieties of chillies, red and white rice, cauliflowers, cabbages, lettuces, eggplants, asparagus, peas, several kinds of mushrooms and the young, curly fern fronds known as nakey. Fruits come from local orchards and from southern regions. You will find oranges, apples, bananas, mangoes, apricots, peaches and plums. If you wander off into one corner of the market, you’ll find an odoriferous collection of dried fish, freshly slaughtered beef and pork, and balls of datse (homemade soft cheese). During the winter you can even pick up a leg of yak (with the hoof still attached).
For a quick glimpse into the market’s activities, check out the video below:
Across a cantilever footbridge, Kuendeyling Bazaam, to the west bank is a collection of stalls housing clothing, fabric and handicrafts. If this is your first trip to Bhutan and this market happens to be your first tourist stop, you might be curious at all the colored flags hung along the length of the bridge. These are Lung Ta prayer flags – they are typically of square or rectangular shape, and are connected along their top edges to a long string or thread. They are commonly hung on a diagonal line from high to low between two objects (e.g., a rock and the top of a pole) in high places such as the tops of temples, monasteries, stupas, and mountain passes. They are also known as Wind Horse flags because the “Wind” will spread the prayers and mantras on these flags around the world at the speed of a “Horse”.
In this market, you will find locally produced goods (as well as plenty of stuff from Nepal), including prayer wheels, cymbals, horns, cloth, baskets and remarkable hats from various minority groups. Bargaining is very much in order and you may find your guide or a local can advise you on the quality of your intended purchase.
Getting to Bhutan
To book a trip, contact Bhutan-travel specialist Druk Asia (www.drukasia.com; +65 6 338 9909; email firstname.lastname@example.org).