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Andool Bazaar in Pathankot

Andool Bazaar in Pathankot

Just as any other ancient city, Pathankot too can be divided into two distinct parts – the old town, which has grown up haphazardly on its own and new town, which was developed according to a plan. Andool bazaar, not only falls in the older part of the city but, in a way it also represents a way of life which is fast disappearing from most parts of the world.

Houses in Andool Bazaar

To be sure, anyone wishing to learn about the old city must visit Andool Bazaar; it characterizes the old part of the town in a very significant way. Its narrow alleys, which crisscross each other, are flanked by houses with narrow staircases and hanging balconies. These houses are mostly made with thin tile like bricks that have been cemented with lime and mortar. The wooden doors in some of these houses are still decorated in the traditional way. 

As you enter through the door, you will find a mini courtyard welcoming you. In all possibility, it is going to be dark, but not at all gloomy. In fact, the inner courtyards in most houses in Andool Bazaar hardly ever see the sunlight. To have a glimpse of the sky, one has to climb up to the roof.

The Roads in Andool Bazaar

The alleys too hardly ever have direct sunlight. In the day time, they are lighted by slanting rays of the sun. Let us now take a look around the neighborhood. However, we ought to be very careful; otherwise horse drawn carts may come up from behind unexpectedly. Sometime, the progress through these lanes may be hampered by a caravan of donkeys pulling sand filled carts behind them.  Indeed, such modes of transport are used more out of necessity than out of respect for old traditions. Larger vehicles can never negotiate these alleys. They are so narrow.

What to see in Andool Bazaar

The temple of Ashapurni Devi, one of the most important temples of this region, is located here. Apart from regular worship of the deity, Kanya Puja is also performed every day.  The temple also offers free meals to the devotees and hence along with the householders many ascetics also visit this temple every day.

If you are not interested in such spiritual aspect of this place, you need not put it out of your itinerary. The ambience at Andoor Bazaar is enough to attract any sensitive soul. At the ground level, one sees lines of shops selling different categories of merchandise at a competitive price. Near the Ashapurni Mata temple, you will find many metal workers using age old methods to create utensils and other metal objects out of sheets of metals. A visit to the shawl makers can also interest you. Indeed, in this bazaar you will find different tradesmen such as brassware makers, goldsmiths, shawl makers, tailors, bakers and cloth dyers carrying on their trade in a traditional way.

The area also has many kite makers and kite flying is a passion here. However, for that one has to climb up on the roof of any of these buildings. In all possibility, you may find the place lined with colorful pieces of cloth. The cloth dyers have colored those pieces and put them up on the roof for drying.

Life in Andool Bazaar

If you are lucky, you may also come across a bahura. He is actually a street performer and entertains people by dressing up as different characters. Indeed, the life in Andoor Bazaar is still governed by traditions. In this part, dhabas still open their shops at the strike of drawn; gujjars still unload their milk urns before the light spread across the sky. Bells and chanting from the numerous temples still resonate in the air.  Horse drawn carts and rehris (push carts) can still be seen negotiating the congested alleys. Bakeries here still use wood burning ovens and people here still live as one community in Andoor Bazaar.   Indeed, community feeling is very strong in this old part of the town.

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