The pretty capital city of Meghalaya, Shillong is among the most sought after tourist destinations in North east India- beyond any doubt. The natural bounty, serenity and numerous sightseeing around the hill city attract tourists all over the year. However, Shillong’s attractions are not limited to the vast lakes, serene waterfalls and beautifully maintained parks. To get a glimpse into the life of local tribes and soak in ambiance- you should visit the Lew Duh. Also called the Bara Bazaar, this is the major shopping destination in the city for tourists.
Nuances of the Lew Duh
This busting marketplace in Shillong is known as one of the oldest and largest trading centers in North east India. The name ‘Lew duh’ denotes a market of common people in regional dialect. The noteworthy thing about this marketplace is the majority of sellers are actually women hailing from nearby rural areas. Located at the Mot Phran square, this market is abuzz with activities and crowd most of the times. For first time visitors, morning is the ideal time to explore Bara Bazaar. At other times, you may find yourself getting lost in labyrinth of alleys in the market.
What to buy at Lew Duh
The vastness and variety of products sold at Bara bazaar in Shillong can leave you a bit baffled at the beginning! You can shop a lot of things- either for personal needs or as souvenir for friends and family. The local vegetables, handicrafts and exotic spices are things you can explore in this regard.
The Khasi tribes are very fond of chewing betel nut and so this is sold in huge amounts in this market. The Areca nuts or betel nuts are called Kwai in local dialect. If you want to buy fresh produce, visit the market in morning hours. While most of the sellers are women, meat section is dominated by men. Items brought from Bangladesh like crockery items and home décor stuffs are also sold in abundance here.
One unique thing about Lew Duh is here you find a section for buying second hand garments. Along with the fruits and vegetables, you can buy dry fish and silk worm as exotic delicacies here. A lot of small bakeries are there selling almond cookies and other freshly baked stuffs. You may also buy various types of kitchen appliances and cookware here.
Experiencing the ambiance
As the locals often say, Bara bazaar is more than just a market. This place gives you insight into life of the tribes and you experience Shillong in a different way here. The alleys may be small and not clean but once you get past these, the atmosphere of the place will seize your mind. Apart from buying, watching the shops replete with fresh organic fruits and vegetables- resembling riot of colors- is a visual treat. The prices of most items are also wallet friendly.
Apart from buying gifts, you can also satiate taste buds while exploring the bara bazaar! A breakfast with hot Poori-Bhaji is advisable. The Jadoh food stalls are aplenty too and these are ideal when you are rather hungry and want a sumptuous meal. The tourists also love gorging on pusyep- rice cake with pork stuffing inside. You may have some pineapple and carambola after meals.
Related: Food to try out while in Shillong
You can take images but it is better if you ask the people for their permission. In April every year, Bara Bazaar gets a new look. Khlieh Iew, the prominent part of this market is where local rituals are held. These are done to pay tribute to U Blei Shyllong- a local deity and get blessings for trade and prosperity. You can see large monoliths named 'mawbynnas' being set up and worshipped.