As you plan for Meghalaya, do not forget to give a read about this Police Bazaar in Shillong, which covers the aspects of local culture and life of Meghalaya!
The state of beautiful waterfalls; Meghalaya, is not just worthy of your visit for these heavenly falls or scenic beauty, but also for the culture that every corner of this state upholds. Even the capital city has its charm when it comes to preserving the traditions for future generations, the essence of which can be best seen through the Police Bazaar in Shillong.
Being one of the largest tourist attractions in Shillong, Police Bazaar is a prime hub to showcase the beautiful and unique artefacts and handicrafts items made by the tribals and local people of the city and the state. No wonder, why the bazaar is considered to be the ‘heart of the city’!
As you visit the market, a big circle comes your way, which is the major landmark of this place. You will be amazed to see that there are a total of seven roads that originate from this circle in different directions, in a few of which, no four-wheelers are allowed. But isn’t that the utmost beauty of the market that offers you a chance to walk it down?
With no exact trace to its origin, a certain fact about this market is that it is also called ‘Khyndailad’. No one knows why! But what we know is it has a plethora of traditional bamboo handicrafts and cane-woven bags, baskets, handicrafts, and display items by the tribals that are sold here. People also love to give handmade woollen shawls and silk sarees a try. Apart from this, all the art and craft items made of wood and bamboo here are the ‘king’ of all the products that are sold in the Police Bazaar.
On the other hand, this is a place for shopaholics as the whole market includes various premium shops and brands on the lanes. However, tourists often get attracted by the roadside offering in the form of winter wear from Thailand, woollen printed pyjamas, caps, blazers, leather clothes, and more. Another most appealing thing here could be the regional apparel, and we suggest you should not miss having it!
Move ahead and you will also see large quantities of Tibetan jewellery, punk rock and Goth style apparel, and some chic accessories. If you are fond of regional jewellery, this place is the place to be. You can also let go of the beauty brands to replace them with beauty kits from Japan, Korea, and China that are offered by the market. And, worry not as beautiful shoes also await your presence here so that you can give a final touch to your outfits!
Sidheshwar Kumar Rai, who used to visit this market during weekends before going to Mizoram University in Aizwal, says that one can go there for all kinds of shopping. He also points out a few places in the market like Vishal Mega Mart is just a few steps away from the centre point, multi-storeyed car parking, which is near, and a two-wheeler parking, that is available just opposite the centre point.
However, Sidheshwar says that there are also options for people who get tired of shopping in this market as they can visit the nearby parks, Ward’s Lake, and Lady Hydari Park cum small zoo to refresh the mood. “Boating facilities are available in Ward’s lake,” he adds.
On the other hand, Barun Patro, an architect from Chennai, visited the market back in February 2021 and happily shared with us that while he was taking a picture of the market, standing in the middle of the crowded street, no one did cross across till he got his shot. “The active scene of Police Bazaar is an overwhelming and stark contrast to the laid back streets and landscapes of Shillong. I found a good mix of people from around the country living their day of life either as a tourist or as a seller,” he says.
A food paradise
If you have booked a hotel online, there are good chances that you will land at this place! Why? Because Police Bazaar has one of the best and most contemporary hotels that have redefined this market. Along with hotels, some cafes and restaurants have been winning the hearts of the customers for a long time.
If we say that the credit goes to the local cuisines, it will not be wrong! Being here, you ought to try Tungrymbai, which is prepared using fermented soybeans, Jadoh which is made of rice and gives a mix of sour and spicy flavours, along with Dohneiiong, which is prepared with pork using black sesame seeds and soy sauce as major ingredients. However, even Momos and Jalebis are to die for!
As Sideshwar states, the market also has Delhi Misthan Bhandar, where one can eat Chole Bhature, Dahi Bhalle, Chaat Papri, and Samosa in Delhi style. He says, “For the street food lovers, you can hop on the street stalls, near the 2 wheeler parking for noodles, chaats, chaat papri, sausages, barbeques etc.”
Owing to the majority of the Christian population in the state’s capital, there are a lot of small and large food joints making varieties of dishes with pork, chicken, and fish. Mostly, you will find them using the Khasi and Tibetan recipes where little spices are used, and the focus remains on boiling and roasting.
Many local grocery vendors sit in smaller areas in the market, selling a variety of fruits and vegetables. The vendors will happily cut fruits like pineapple into pieces for you. Apart from recommending the handcrafted wooden souvenirs which are made by the locals, Barun Patro also states that one must try the variety of berries and fruits that are not usually found elsewhere.
Even though the areas surrounding them appear messy and a little dirty, it is the best way to experience the local life of Meghalaya. And since you would be visiting this place to experience the ‘regional essence’, we don’t think you would like to miss dealing with these vendors!
In a nutshell, the Police bazaar is a mixture of modernity and tradition, both of which are at their best to make this place a must-visit in Shillong!