My Visit to Traditional Tribal Nakulnar Market Dantewada, Chhattisgarh

The traditional tribal Nakulnar market of Dantewada is operated by the locals, of the locals and for the locals! They call it haat! I was blown off my feet by the scenes of authentic culture of the people there. The scene is colorful, vibrant, noisy and busy, so different from the shopping malls I am used to. Vendors sat on either side of the narrow dusty road with their wares. Some have walked around 10kms to reach the market with their products.

What is for sale at Traditional Tribal Nakulnar Market…

The farm products on sale are so different, some I have never seen in my life. I did sample a few of their edible products. The pattern I observed is they would make small heaps of their products. Each of them would be of Rs. 10. I was surprised similar amounts of tomato, dry chilli, dried fish and more… all cost the same. Rs. 10! And while I stood there wondering how all could be same the locals went about purchasing their requirements without haggling one bit.

Rs. 10 for any of these heaps

Food and Drinks at Tribal Market of Nakulnar

The market seemed to be based more on food. Though there were small set ups selling garments, footwear, agricultural tools, jewellery, food seemed to dominate the scene more. Alcoholic drinks ranked next, I couldn’t believe that! Men and women both involve in drinking. The cups are made of leaves, pegs are poured into that and the customer drinks then and there and takes refills. Again one peg is for Rs. 10. They do sell bottles of these locally made alcoholic drinks.

1. Edible roots 2. wild fruit 3. dried fish 4 Dried Mahua flowers

Heaps of mahua flowers are on sale. The flowers are fermented to produce the alcoholic drink mahua, country liquor. Jungles of central India have dense growth of Mahua Trees. Tribal use the different parts of the tree for different purposes. The dried flowers are distilled in earthenware pots to make heady beverages.

Men and women all consume alcoholic drinks openly.

Women at Nakulnar Market

I could see more women making the sales. Almost all were well dressed up for the market, some I would say were decked up very well in terms of choice of jewelery. Oiled and neatly combed hair pulled back to bun, colourful attire and some having a permanent smile, it was a real pleasure to interact with them. I ventured into their jewellery section, just as I often do in malls, hoping to find some traditional stuff. They mostly had glass bangles and chains of colorful beads. There I made a couple of purchases and their endeavor to sell the best touched me!

What else was on… at Nakulnar Market

These markets usually close with cock fights which can go on for 3 hours. It is usually held in the evenings. Unfortunately due to lack of time I could not make a second visit to the traditional tribal Nakulnar Market to witness a real cock fight. The price of cocks used for fighting shows is around Rs.1000, but for consumption they cost much less.

Nakunar Market Dantewada

Cocks for cock fighting cost more than those for consumption.

Cocks for cock fighting cost more than those for consumption.

Nakulnar, the Village

Nakulnar is a large village located in Kuakonda of Dantewada district, Chhattisgarh with total 330 families residing. The Nakulnar village has population of 2050 of which 978 are males while 1072 are females as per Population Census 2011. Most impressive fact about Nakulnar village is that it has higher literacy rate compared to Chhattisgarh. In 2011, literacy rate of Nakulnar village was 84.99 % compared to 70.28 % of Chhattisgarh.

The traditional tribal Nakulnar market of Dantewada is operated by the locals. They call it haat! This lady is selling dried fish.

I made this trip to traditional tribal Nakulnar market Dantewada while on a FAM trip for #BarasurMahotsav courtesy Dantewada District Administration .


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59 Responses to “My Visit to Traditional Tribal Nakulnar Market Dantewada, Chhattisgarh

  • I’m always fascinated with traditional tribal markets 🙂 I’ve been to a couple of similar markets in Vietnam and totally loved them. Very interesting article you have written here!

  • I had the same feel when I was in Ahmedabad for a weekend bazaar. To see all vegetables at Rs.10 I was so astonished that I rechecked the price with those sellers! Lolz!! I’d love to taste those natural alcoholic drinks too!

  • Definitely want to visit the tribal market of nakulnar! Food, drinks, and alcoholic drinks…3 of my favorite things!

  • Very colourful pics,these markets are truly so different,living in cities and visiting malls,we tend to forget that that this is still the picture of a major part of our country .

  • I’m always used to haggling down prices at the markets – interesting that even the locals didn’t do this! I would love to take home a few souvenirs of the edible variety 🙂

  • The colours and vibrancy of the tribal market come across vividly in the post. The candid pictures capture some wonderful moments of the activity in the market.

  • All vegetables at rs 10. Interesting. Never have been to any tribal market but your post made me feel I was walking with you.

  • blair villanueva
    11 months ago

    Oh my this is what I love during my travels to visit local markets to see, window shopp and eventually hoard items! I like those bracelets she’s selling 🙂

  • I’ve never had the opportunity to visit a tribal market. It is very interesting to see those people sewing right there, in the middle of the market. I’ll add Dantewada on my to do list, should I ever get to visit that part of the world.

  • Just like in our country, the market place is full of vendors. And they could even occupy the sidewalks with their products laid in sacks or cartons. I like how you were able to tell the story through your words and colorful photos.

  • Interesting that you noted the presence of women in the market. It seems women are active agents of trade in these spaces, through the things they sell and the relationship that is built with the customers over time.
    The cockfight is something I’ve never seen live before. 3 hours? That’s a long time!

  • This looks like a weekend market in our place. Only it seems that yours look cheaper. I do hope that the sellers are still paid for their hard work which sometimes are being marketed too low without them accounting how much of their time was spent on growing crops, sewing garments, etc.

  • Markets really is an interesting way to get in touch with the locals. Especially in smaller villages where the sellers are not as desperate to sell as they tend to be in larger cities. Going to a market in a tourist area is usually a bad experience in comparison. 🙂

  • I love visiting traditional markets like this one. It reminded me of arpora flea market in Goa and Shipgram in Udaipur that I visited last year. The locals also get a support to keep their traditions and crafts alive when we visit and buy. This one seems to be another great find 🙂 Thanks for sharing, will visit here when I go to chattisgarh

  • I have a real fascination with markets and it’s my first goal when I visit a new place.
    This one looks amazing!!
    The colors and the people reminded me the great time I’ve spent in India!
    Thank you for your tips!

  • Super interesting. I love visiting traditional markets! I’ve not been to many but they are always amazing. I can’t believe how colorful this one is though compared to the ones I’ve been to.

  • I’m so fascinated by tribal markets. I’ve unfortunately never been to one, but your photos have me wanting to go. It looks so colorful!

  • Loved to see the vibrant colors of this traditional tribal market. Everything looks so simple and far away from the glimpse of whim and fancy world! Only, I’m little curious to know why everything was Rs 10?

  • We go to the market every week to buy our weekly food supplies. But the place we use to visit is a lot smaller than this. This one has more variety of products, this reminds me of a bigger market here in the PH called Commonwealth Market. It is located in Quezon City. Such lovely photos!

  • The first thing that really leaped to me are the colors. The clothes that they wear, the accessories, so vibrant. What an interesting market this is, and some products are all priced the same, I wonder why. They drink alcohol using a leaf? That’s very interesting.

  • The market sounds very interesting. I would be so curious to try the local alcohol. Not sure I could bear to watch a cockfight though!

  • It’s so cool how the colors are so vibrant in this traditional tribal market. I’d love to pay this place a visit next time because it looks so simple and away from all the problems of the business world.

  • Wow, I’m truly amazed me with how they run their traditional tribal Market. I’ve read that some of the vendors used to walk 10 kms just to reach the market and sell their harvested products from their farm and that is a long journey to sacrifice. I truly enjoy every colors I’m seeing and how they all look like . I would love to visit this place someday if I get the chance. Thank you for sharing!

  • Very impressed with this tribal market. All seems so organized and the fact that the women dress up for market day just makes it even more special. It’s like they’re really proud to participate in the event. I’ve never been in India but always have the impression that the markets are really confusing, but I didn’t get that feeling from this one. Was it confusing to walk around?

    • Indrani Ghose
      11 months ago

      Hi Marlene, thanks for the comment. It wasn’t confusing to move around. There were small paths, then smaller paths . People were seated on either side.

  • I love visiting traditional markets while traveling! This one looks just as vibrant and full of wonder as I’d expect at an Indian one. I would love to try the mahua drink, it sounds pretty interesting and I’m sure would be a great way to meet some locals!

  • I love traditional markets like this one, I think one can learn a lot of a culture from these markets. Also love your colorful pictures 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing this market! Very unique & full of its local culture, would love to visit it one day 😉 cheers, SiennyLovesDrawing

  • What an amazing place to visit! I love going through markets and finding out local products. It’s great that the market is run by locals only.

  • Ah markets like these are nice to check out. So many unique finds. Shopping at markets like these would definitely help the locals. For those who walked 10kms to sell their products… Wow, respect!

  • Rustic markets are always so amazing! You find stuff at a fraction of the cost and they turn out to be better. Hope they don’t get the wrong ideas to commercialise it…

  • I love how vibrant and colorful that marketplace could be. Well, of course, the locals especially the women contribute to that because of their colorful clothing. Anyway, you did a great job in taking photos. And it’s great that you blogged about them. It’s a good way for them to be promoted and they’ll have more customers.

  • I’ve never heared about this place in Chattisgarh. The place is so busy and everyone is busy selling their product and too just for Rs.10. You have written it so well i could feel as if i have experinced it all. The pictures so good anyone after reading will think of visiting nakulnar market. Thanks for introducing this busy and intresting place of Chattisgarh 🙂

  • Well if I could get past trying to pronounce the names of each place I would be in good shape haha. I love all the vibrant colors and how happy these people seem living in simplicity!

  • Everything for just Rs10? That is quite interesting. I would love to sample the Mahua drink. I did not expect this tribal district to have such a high literacy rate. I would love to visit Chattisgarh one day.

  • Fascinating post Indrani! So intrigued to know more about how they manage to sell everything for just Rs 10! Btw did you try some mahua brew 🙂

  • We have something similar here in the province and we call it tiangge. Every friday, sellers would gather in the town plaza and would sell different stuff. Food, Clothes, toys, animals, etc. It’s fascinating to know that other countries have this sort of tiangge too.

  • This seems like such a lovely cultural experience. I know that I would have found it very interesting. And the fact that it is just so reasonable. Lovely pics.

  • Hello Indrani, I am Asif from Bangladesh. I am planning a trip to India this year and your post gives me good ideas about some trip attractions. Please keep posted more contents on traveling India so that I can keep visiting your website frequently. 🙂

  • This looks like a wonderfully colorful market. I like the leave cups for the alcoholic drinks!

  • Amazing market. I´ve been in India and i really loved it. It´s a cultural challenge…. and this place seems very nice to go also.
    Congratulations for the blog.

  • I love local markets, one of my favourite things to do when travelling. Being able to see how the locals shop, and unusual food items which are local to the area. Interesting that you didn’t see anyone haggling.

    Not sure I would have stuck around for the cock fighting even if I had time.

  • What a wonderful look at the culture of the market! I’m fascinated with all the uses for the different parts of the tree. What do they do with the roots?

    • Indrani Ghose
      11 months ago

      These are edible roots. Looked like a mix of carrot and potato to me. 🙂

  • These photos tell such a wonderful story. Absolutely stunning, and the market looks so fascinating. As always, your writing is superb!

  • What a great market. We love to visit markets while we are travelling as it gives you more insight of the local life. I love that you have more personal shots of the locals. Sad they are selling Rooster for cockfighting though. 🙁

  • I love exploring local markets when I travel and this one looks like one that shouldn’t be missed. The crafts look beautiful and the perfect things to take home to a trip. Thanks for sharing.

  • I would never want to see a cock fight! The Nakulnar market of Dantewada sounds like a trippy place to travel though, just to get an authentic slice of local life. And a glass bangle or two. Or three.

  • This is very interesting! I try to go to local markets whenever I travel. If I would be there, I would also be curious to try the mahua drink. More interesting that they serve it in tea leaves for cups! Have you tried it? If so, how was it?

    • Indrani Ghose
      11 months ago

      I did not try the drink… not sure how it would be. 🙂

  • I do love a market and also try to visit when I travel but I can honestly say I could not support anywhere that has cock fighting. This has no place in 2017 and certainly should not be considered entertainment in my view. I find it quite odd that you would comment on women sellers and even odder that you would find it acceptable to comment on the ‘decency’ of their appearance and hair style.

  • Such colorful pictures! I always try to visit markets when we travel, it gives you such an insight into local life. Although I really wouldn’t want to see a cockfight.

  • Nakulnar Market looks amazing! I’d love to go sample everything, but I have no idea how I’d choose one vendor over the other. While I find it strange that everything is priced the same, it would really make thing easy. And although I am not big on alcoholic drinks, i’d love to try mahua.

  • Everything is cheap. That market is amazing. I love the colors and all. I want to go and sample things.

  • Yogi Saraswat
    11 months ago

    Me too unable to recognize most of these items to be sell . Their cost of each item Rs 10 is amazing and their style is just unique.

  • Wow! Truly amazing … Great knowing about this market and what they commerce seems interesting. Indeed coloful


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