The atmosphere is festive.
As soon as you enter, the sweet and pungent smell of fruit invades you. There are bright lights and colorful art installations around. And the aroma of grilled meat and fried chicken from the food stall manned by De-ssups trained under the De-suung Skilling Program.
These stay with you after the walk at Kaja Throm, a farmer’s market next to the Centenary Farmers’ Market (CFM) on Chhogyal Lam in Thimphu.
Rigsar songs play softly in the background as vendors chatter away.
Children enter with their parents, delighted to see a large face-to-face popcorn photo booth and sculptures of dinosaurs and wild animals.
Farm products, animal products, cereals, powder and incense sticks, flowers and plants are carefully presented in wooden boxes.
Local bands play live in the evenings.
Food, entertainment and pleasure come together at the riverside market which was established in July this year.
Dawa, 32, is a saleswoman. She said she likes the new space.
“I lost some of my regular CFM customers, but connected to new customers. The business was struggling the first week after we moved here. Now it’s better,” she said.
For her, the most exciting moment she said was His Majesty the King’s visit to the market.
Dawa said, “We say among ourselves that even if the business is not going well, we are lucky to have His Majesty the King’s audience. This is enough for us to continue in life.
Kezang Choden, a vegetable seller, said she preferred the new space to CFM. “We don’t have to pay any fees here. Even if the business is not profitable, it is encouraging to interact with people and meet old friends visiting the market. »
The throm’s wide pathways, VAST Bhutan’s playful art installations and sumptuous cuisine entice parents to bring their children shopping on weekends.
Passang Dema, 31, an employee of the company, said even children have the opportunity to experience something new and different.
Throm vendors have left the first floor of the CFM as the Thimphu Greening Initiative works on its renovation.
The move is only temporary.
While many vendors have made the new space their home, some vendors are still yearning for space at CFM.
“My business is not doing well here,” said a salesman. “I hope my business will pick up.”