Fascinating Story of Kathmandu’s Oldest Market, 1700-Year-Old Asan Bazaar (With Photos)
Kathmandu, March 18. Asan Bazaar is the oldest historic market located in the heart of Kathmandu. It is speculated to have emerged during the Lichhavi era, spanning from the 4th century to the 9th century AD.
Legendary Tale – The birth of Asan Bazaar
One of the most famous tales associated with the birth of Asan Bazaar is about a rice seller from Bhaktapur.
Hari Maya Shrestha, a 69-year-old shopkeeper in Asan, shared the story with DC Nepal.
A long time ago, even before the Lichhavi era, a farmer from Bhaktapur came to Asan chowk with a sack of rice. Asan at that time was nothing but a forest. For a whole day, he sat on the ground selling the sack of rice he had brought from home.
In the evening, when he wanted to return home with his sack of rice. As he tried to pick up the sack, he felt that it was stuck to the ground and could not be moved. He tried everything he could, but the sack didnot lift off the ground. He then returned home with a sad face.
The following day, upon returning to Asan, the rice seller discovered that his sack of rice had not been moved from its original spot. This led him to believe that the location held some sort of spiritual powers, prompting him to offer a portion of his rice as a form of worship to the powerful entity he felt was present there.
He continued to do so every day, and soon, other farmers and traders from the surrounding areas began to gather there to exchange their goods. They too followed the tradition of offering a portion of their grains to the spot. It became a cultural practice.
“In due course, a temple was erected in honor of Annapurna, the goddess of food, at the very spot where the rice seller had left his rice sack on the first day,” 72-year-old Mohan Krishna Shrestha added that even today, many merchants and buyers offer a portion of their food to the Annapurna deity.
From Lichhavi to Malla and Today
The market continued through the Lichhavi and the famous Malla era. Today, it stands as a bustling marketplace, offering a diverse range of products, from exotic spices and herbs to beautiful textiles, exquisite jewelry, modern electronics and traditional handicrafts.
Despite the passage of time, Asan Bazaar still has its unique charm and remains an important center of culture and economy in Kathmandu. With its lively streets, exciting atmosphere, and rich history, Asan Bazaar is a landmark that everyone should visit to experience the true essence of Kathmandu.
All Photos captured on Saturday morning by Simon Paudel / DCNepal
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