Imphal's Khwairamband Bazar, a symbol of women empowerment

Imphal (Manipur), Dec.4 (ANI): The centuries-old Khwaraimband Bazar in Imphal is the world's only market where shops are owned, run and controlled by women.

Currently, women vendors are in the process of shifting from traditional sheds to new complexes built by the government.

Women vendors at Khwairamband Bazaar are a happy lot.

Over 3,500 vendors performed traditional rituals before shifting from sheds to three newly constructed complexes - namely Ima Market, Laxmi Bazar and the Linthoinganbi Bazar.

After a religious procession, in all six deities sculpted by an artiste from Khongman Zone-III were installed at the three market complexes.

Built by the Imphal Municipal Council, these new markets have facilities like drinking water, power back up, banks and food stalls.

"After we shift to new markets we hope they will become more popular among the customers. We want to thank the government for preserving this historical women's market, which will be passed on to the coming generations," said R K Radhesena Devi, a vendor in the Khwairamband Bazar.

Local women who are referred to as the Imas, meaning mothers, sell various products in the market.

If the market has handloom products that make excellent souvenirs for tourists who visit Manipur, it also has vegetable, fruits, fishes, household utensils and jewelry for the local people.

"We feel happy that we will be able to start our business in the newly constructed complexes. We believe that we will be more comfortable doing our business here and will do much better," alita Devi, another vendor.

The new market complexes were completed in six years and cost about 70 crore rupees.

Considered one of the largest women-oriented markets of the country, Khwairamband Bazar is an immensely popular tourist attraction in Manipur. (ANI)