Though the widening of Hosur Road reduced shop sizes, it brought in business for vendors and convenience for their customers

First-time visitors to Adugodi and Madiwala may be excused for thinking the area is one big market place — of furniture, utensils, clothes, household decorations, and of course, food products.

“People come here when they are setting up a new home. It makes sense for them to be able to buy everything in the same area,” says Mahaveer, owner of Mahaveer Marble Gallery (22115873).

His shop is itself a newcomer to the ‘marble market’, right behind the Mico-Bosch factory. It does not sell marble slabs, but decorative figurines, mantelpieces, vases and pots. “The pieces are made in Rajasthan and assembled here. We are able to take customised orders, to be delivered anywhere between 15 days and a month,” Mahaveer says. Less ornate granite decorations are also available here.

Once there was space

Gopal Das, manager of Sheetal Marble Centre (22117124) explains that the area once had plenty of space to stock marble slabs coming from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. “Trucks could easily come here to make deliveries and pick-ups. So, many marble merchants set up their shops here,” he says. “Now, we have additional warehouses in Jigani because trucks can’t come here all the time.”

The marble market is a little off the Hosur Main Road, which is the arterial road for Adugodi and Madiwala as well. Furniture and woodwork shops have been established on this main road. “Fifteen years ago, when we were looking to expand outside Shivajinagar, this area was outside the corporation limits, and it was easy to rent a place here,” says Md. Mukram, who runs Relax Cane Works (25710237) with his brother Md. Mouzam. “It is also easier to store and transport furniture from here.”

Business development

Mukram’s shop is located in a corporation complex, which also houses a government office. Opposite the complex are clothing stores flanked by ceramic and woodwork shops. The striking feature on the road is the row of small mutton and poultry shops.

“People come all the way from Koramangala or BTM Layout to buy from us because the meat is never more than a day old. There is no cold storage or transportation involved,” says 41-year-old Afsar, owner of Karnataka Mutton Shop. “After all, these were only villages before, and there were no supermarkets selling processed meat. When the area was brought under corporation limits, we got a license and continued doing what we were doing. The only difference is, now, our customers come in cars.”

Unmarked market

Though the widening of Hosur Road reduced the sizes of shops and some even had to settle for street vending, it brought in business for the vendors and convenience for their customers.

It is not just fresh produce and flowers that is sold on the streets here; you can also spot plush carpets sold from a cart, helmets, plastic chairs and clay pots by the side of the road.

Many of these vendors also set up shop in the Sunday bazaar opposite the Madiwala police station. Some have permanently settled in the Madiwala market, one of the seven erstwhile ‘santhes’ of Bangalore.

On a Saturday afternoon, just as crowds start gathering at the mall nearby, a truck unloads coconuts at a shop in the market. “We have a farm in Bidadi and have come all the way here to drop off our produce. This is still one of the few markets where we can sell our products directly, and the price is better than the government procurement rate,” says Ramesh, who is supervising the unloading. “Many farmers in Bidadi sell to supermarket chains, but you have to go through an agent for that and they insist that all the coconuts have to be the same size. That is just not possible!”

Says P. Arjunan, a fruit vendor of 18 years, “I go to the farmers’ markets near Hosur to buy my stock daily. Business is going fine here, though there are periodical threats to transfer the market elsewhere.”

In fact, the market was spread across both sides of the road until 10 years ago. It was then organised on one side of the road to make way for traffic.

Patronage

It now has many newcomers such as 45-year-old Valliyamma, who lost her husband recently and so began selling fruits, and 25-year-old Yatheesh, who moved here from Chikmagalur two years ago and mans a flower shop for his uncle. Both of them pay rent to a man, who bought many shops in the market a few years ago.

The man, a merchant named Akmal, runs a fish shop, a new entry to the market too.

“When I was doing my research in 2001, the market sold only vegetables and fruits. The fish and meat shops must be a new addition,” says Bhuvaneswari Raman, a researcher who studies markets in cities. “When Madiwala was brought under the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, the market was not included in the new BBMP maps. An IT park was to be built at the junction where the mall stands now,” she explains. “So, a group of businessmen from Koramangala and Jayanagar bought the shops.”

According to her, though the market is always liable to be called illegal as its validity has been allowed to lapse by the BBMP, it enjoys loyal patronage from old time residents of Koramangala. “For them, all the supermarkets that have come up in their own area are not inviting. It is this market that they come to.”