Cheaper alternates: In G-B, landa bazaars thrive as winter approaches


Used winter clothes displayed at a Landa Bazaar in Swat. PHOTO: FAZAL KHALIQ/EXPRESS


As winter approaches, markets in Gilgit selling used winter clothes and bedding are beginning to thrive.

The markets, commonly known as landa bazaars, are spread across the valley and sell all sorts of home and daily use items. But with the onset of winter, these markets are sprouting at every nook and cranny, providing a range of items at affordable rates.

The bazaars have been set in nearly all major markets, including Jamat Khana Bazaar, Kashmiri Bazaar, Gari Bagh, NLI market and on Airport Road, Shaheed Millat Road and Hospital Colony. Markets in remote areas have also started selling items from these bazaars, but at slightly higher rates in order to absorb the transportation costs.

“Landa bazaars are a blessing for us,” said Tajdar Hussain, who works for a courier company in Gilgit. “All the clothes, shoes and quilts that we so desperately require for the winters are available here at cheap rates,” he explained.

A retired government official who purchased a second-hand blanket from the market said, “At times I wonder what we would do if we didn’t have these bazaars.”

Nestled along the feet of the Himalayas, Gilgit receives much of the cold southerly winds from the snow-capped mountains, at times plummeting temperature in the valley 10 degrees below freezing point. And given that nearly 85 per cent of the population of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) lives below the poverty line, buying used winter clothes and bedding seems a better option for the price-conscious buyers.

Tufail Ahmed, a vendor at a landa Bazaar in Gilgit city, said that from the beginning of November scores of people from all walks of life have started coming to the market to buy quilts, blankets, jackets, sweaters and warm socks and shoes.

“This isn’t unusual, as the markets thrive during the winters, which usually last from November to April,” he said.

Almost all of the items available at these markets are transported from Peshawar and Karachi, he added.

But with so many people opting to buy used clothes and bedding for winter, shops selling new ones witness a slump in their business. Locals say they only buy new items for winter when they are not available at landa bazaars.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2012.


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