The flower market in Shabagh, near Dhaka University is the largest flower market in the country. It is known for selling an abundance of roses, hibiscus, gada flowers (type of marigold), and some other variations- all beautifully decorated or bundled up for sale. Beyond the street of flower stalls is an area just under the bridge where from six o’clock in the morning until eleven o’clock, flower merchants sell these traditional flowers wholesale. The flower bazaar is open air and an exploration of red, yellow, white, and orange from an otherwise greysih morning. Many are already strung together in thread into necklaces (used in weddings) to bed decorations (chains of flowers used to hang over the wedding bed for the newlyweds). In just these five hours, owners and representatives from flower shops all over the city come early to this location to purchase such flowers in bulk to take back to their stores around the city to see for the day. Those who come early enough will be lucky to score the freshest and brightest of them all.
We reached the market a little before eight in the morning and we were overwhelmed by the smell and noises of the sellers and buyers. Men holding strings of gada would pass by me and stack them in a mountain of orange and yellow, standing over the pile, shouting out prices. Haggling for the best deal resulted in raised voiced and shouts but because the market was open for only a few hours, most just gave in and bought stacks of flowers before a competitor took them away. Nearby, women sat around together on the floor, stringing together giant, bright red roses and stark-white jasmine flowers together. The floor was splattered between dirt from the street and flower petals.
I asked one of the sellers if I could stand in his spot to take a photo with the piles of gada flowers which he happily (and in a confused manner) let me. After the photo though, I fell on the way back because the path was slippery from gada petals. It was embarrassing but I think the man selling the flowers almost expected it. At least I may have provided some entertainment for the day for the few that saw what happened.