Learn about the largest women-only market in the world… established by an Indian kingdom 500 years ago

Amman Today

publish date 1970-01-01 03:00:00

India includes the Emma Keithel Market, which is a huge and distinctive market, as it is considered the largest women’s market in the whole world, and the rows of sellers extend along the market between products ranging from fresh fruits, to fish, and fabrics.

The huge market, which includes more than 5 thousand stalls distributed across three multi-storey buildings, and a sea of ​​huts, you cannot help but admire one of its most prominent features, which is the presence of a woman at each stall, according to CNN Arabia.

Melanie Chingangbam, 65, a vendor who has sold ritual products in the market since 2002, said: “We are just like a family, like sisters.”

Emma Keithel Women’s Market

The “Emma Kethel” market located in Imphal, the capital of the state of Manipur in northeastern India, is considered the largest women-only market in the world, and its name means “mother’s market” in the local Metian language.

Men are allowed to enter, but only to buy goods, carry them, guard the place, or provide the women with cups of tea with milk. Meanwhile, women stop to leave offerings at the shrine of the goddess of wealth, commerce, and the main protector of the market, Emma Imoeno.

Emma Kettle Market

“You can have anything you dream of,” said Lena Muirangtheim, a local tour guide. “The market is cheap and it’s in the heart of the city…the whole economy of the state is really powered by these women.” Only married women can officially trade in the market.

India's women's market
India’s women’s market

The history of the establishment of the Emma Kethel market dates back to the Kingdom of Kanglibak in the 16th century, when it was launched as a temporary foreign market for the exchange of crops and to strengthen the country’s efforts in the war against Burma and China. Conscription became compulsory in Manipur in 1533.

India's women's market
India’s women’s market

All the males were trained from a young age to protect the kingdom, and then, the women were left to run the city, but the bold women of the market also played an important role in the field of social and political activity in Manipur throughout the market’s 500-year history, up to the present day.


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