#19 – Amazing India Series: Woman’s Only Market, Imphal

Every day over 5000 traders come in and meet at the market with their farm produce and sell them. The specialty is that all 5000 traders are ‘FEMALES’.

Mother’s Market or ‘Ima Keithal’ or ‘Nupi Kiethal’ are some of the names of the 500-year-old tradition seen in the State Capital of Manipur – Imphal.

Image Source: The Culture Trip

In the beginning, the market was started by the women as an improvised way to earn a livelihood by selling farm produce, weaved clothes, etc. due to the ‘Lallup Khaba’–a system where the male from the Meitei Community was forced into labor to work away in distant lands and serve the Army.

What started as a livelihood, turned to a tradition, and eventually moved to become a way of life.

Located in Khawairaband Bazaar, in a complex that was reconstructed on the site of Purana Bazaar in the heart of the city, what started as a tradition 4 centuries ago has now become a source of tourist attraction for Manipur.

Products such as vegetables, fruits, textiles, toys fish, spices, and utensils are available in the market. It can easily be called the largest all-women market in Asia.

During the British Administration, the women here led a war called the ‘Nupi Lan’ or the women war. This was against the economic exploitation the British were subjecting the women to.  In fact, they have waged 2 such wars against the British to fight artificially-triggered famine and economic exploitation.

Know more about them here: Ima Keithel – Asia’s largest All Women’s Market

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