This 500 Years Old Market in Asia is for Women Only

Strange World Series - Part 1


Located in the picturesque North-Eastern states of India, Ima Keithel in Manipur is World’s largest market which has shops with women owners only. The 500-year-old market has been in existence since the time there was no currency used and the local women here used the barter system. The name Ima Keithel means mother’s market.

Manipur Women Only Market


There is no concrete evidence when this market actually started but historians believe that it has been there since the 16th century. In Manipur, there was an old system called Lalupa Kaaba which was followed by Meitei locals. In this system the men of the family used to work away from home while the women of the family did work in the fields, at home and sell their goods in the market. Since then, these kind of markets exist.

Ima Keithel Mnaipur India

Complete Overview – Ima Keithel (The Mother’s Market)

The market has been growing steadily for many years in terms of popularity. It attracts a large number of tourists from India as well as overseas.

What to Buy Here?

  • Local handicrafts
  • Clothes
  • Kitchen tools
  • Stylish bags
  • Spices
  • Local fresh fruits and vegetables

Manipur Handicrafts

Don’t forget to pack the spicy chilli ‘Morok’ which is one of the spiciest in the world and is exported too.

Interesting Fact about Ima Keithel

  • Only married women can set up their shops in this market. The stalls here are passed on from one generation to another. It’s considered as an honor to be owner of a shop here.
  • Do you know it costs around and is considered an honor? Women come from far-flung areas to set up their stalls which only cost about 1 USD.
  • There is an owner’s union comprising of all the women owning these shops.
  • The market offers credit facility where the owners can first take the goods and later repay the money to the union.
  • The owners who sit in the shop wear Manipur’s local attire displaying the rich culture of the state

Beat the crowd & explore this offbeat destination. Plan your trip now.

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