One of India’s most famous flea markets is located in Goa – The Anjuna flea market at Monteiro Vaddo. It starts from the rocky part of Anjuna beach and ends towards the paddy fields further inland. It is about 10 km from Calangute and about 21 km from Panjim. The flea market is only open on Wednesday’s from early morning to the late evening. If you are a shopaholic and interested in buying some unique trinkets, this is the place for you. The best time to visit would be in the evening when the sellers are wrapping up, and one might end up with a good deal. Take note that this is a cash only market, so, if you intend on buying anything please do carry enough money with you as there are no ATM’s nearby. The first market of the season is around early-November, continuing till the end of April. The market is pretty easy to find if one travels in the direction of Anjuna Beach. You can easily spot it from the road while driving towards the beach. There is a convenient parking spot provided by the regulators where one can park the vehicle and proceed to explore the market at leisure.
No one knows how this market came to be….. but according to folklore this market was born in 1975, started by the man known as the Godfather of Hippies – Eight Finger Eddie. What is known for sure, is that in the earlier days Anjuna was one of the favorite places for the so called “hippies”. They used to flock here in numbers and even after exhausting all their money, used to sell or barter off their possessions, everything from clothes, guitars, jewelry, art, music and much more. What started as a source of survival, became one of the most famous flea markets in India. Nowadays, it has become a tourist attraction where most people go to re-live the history.
There are quite a few unique shops and trinkets which one might stumble upon on exploring the market. Likewise, I found a shop selling antique looking telescopes, which had the feel of being salvaged from a pirate ship. They were being sold for around 4000 Indian Rupees. Another shop was selling pocket watches and compasses from the British era, all of which looked as if they belonged in a museum, but were being sold around 2000 Indian Rupees. If I had been carrying some cash (which I wasn’t), I might have bought a couple of items after some superhuman haggling. There were also many shops, selling colored crystals, which the sellers claimed were excavated from deep underground caves. In some shops you can find handcrafted bongs or chess board which looked really good. There is a separate section for Tibetan shopkeepers who are selling various Tibetan artifacts. The stalls get repetitive after walking a bit and it becomes a bit boring (for an anti-shopaholic like me). Majority of the items being sold here are spices from the local spice plantations, jewelry in various designs and carvings, various types of Buddha idols, carpets and cloths. The cloths and jewelry being sold here are mostly of poor quality and they items can be bought in and around the city at much cheaper prices, but if something catches your eye and you want to buy it, bargain really well as the prices are highly inflated. One can easily bargain to about 70-80% of the initial price offered.
Overall, this market is a true depiction on how the flea markets around the world have evolved. There is a history to be found here, but it also helps the locals to earn money from that history. The Anjuna flea market might not be one the most amazing markets in India, but you never know what treasure you may stumble upon while browsing – an old and extravagant relic or may be just a plain souvenir for your loved ones back at home. That is why, this is a definite visit if you are in Goa, on a Wednesday.