City’s home-remedy stores going strong for generations

Located in Gandhi Bazaar in Basavanagudi, they sell an array of roots and herbs, besides puja items and festive decorations.

People living in Basavangudi, one of Bengaluru’s oldest neighbourhoods, shop at the bustling, charming Gandhi Bazaar. While the bazaar is known for its vegetable, fruit and flower markets, it also houses shops selling spices, puja items, and home remedies that traditional families have been frequenting for generations.

Grandhige (also gandhige) angadis have stood the test of time and kept alive the essence of the old Bengaluru lifestyle. Metrolife visits some and brings you a festive lowdown.

 

Brindavana Stores

You are likely to miss this little shop even though it is located right next to the popular Roti Ghar restaurant. The store was started by Govinda Rao in 1971 and has remained more or less the same for 47 years.

“Running a grandhige store is not easy. We don’t have employees doing the hard work. We pick up and put back each and every item, and it is no less exhausting than any workout,” says Radha Krishna, brother of Govinda Rao, who now mans the shop.

Vara Mahalakshmi and Anantapadmanabha festivals are when sales peak. TV astrologers also cause an occasional clamour. “People come in search of items mentioned by astrologers,” he says. No licence was required earlier. But now, the government looks at all documents if shops sell home remedies and ayurvedic medicines. “Grandhige refers to home medicines and roots used by our ancestors to cure common ailments. Grandhige angadis are referred to as ‘pulsar stores’ in Tamil Nadu,” he says.

Kannada TV producer-actor Ravi Kiran is among the store’s customers. The shop sources its stocks from the Chickpet wholesale market. Agarbatti, camphor, turmeric and vermilion are their bestselling items.

 

Ashwini Stores

This 85-year-old grandige store is one of the oldest in the city. The store got its name only in the late 90s. Until then, it was just a regular box shop selling medicinal herbs. It was started by Veerappa, and is now run by his children Venkatesh Babu and Anjan Kumar.

The decor has been modernised in recent years. “Customers come more for decorative items than traditional items. So we sell everything,” says Anjan Kumar. “Though TV astrologers have an impact on people, the craze subsides after two-three days. People are learning to be realistic these days,” he says.

The place sells all kinds of medicinal herbs, including ashwagandha and amruthaballi, ordered from suppliers in the Himalayas and in Kerala.

 

Jinendra Stores

This has been around for 60 years. It was started by Bhojaraja. The shop has modernised, but Jinendra, who runs the shop, gives importance to traditional products selling over the generations.

“We have customers coming for decades. In fact, people who live abroad visit us to remember the days they used to come here with their grandparents. Words just can’t describe relationships like these,” says Jinendra.

Kumkum and turmeric are their bestselling items. People from all over Bengaluru visit them for their turmeric, considered pure. Business peaks ahead of the Gowri Ganesha, Dasara and Ugadi festivals.

Satish Stores

Started by Chandrhasa in 1958, it is currently run by Vijay Kumar and Harsha Kumar. The store is frequented by actors Sreenath, Chitra Shenoy and Roopika.

“Our business is the highest ahead of the Gowri-Ganesha, Varamahalakshmi and Sankranti festivals,” says Vinay, manager. The store is spread over two floors. The first floor sells condiments and puja items. The second floor has ayurvedic roots and decorative items. “Items used for marriage rituals, like decorated copra and jodi (couple) dolls, are among our best-selling items,” says Vinay.

The place sells many herbs like jatamsi, japatre, hippali, bujapatre, Kasturi, jestamadhu (used by singers to clear their throats), baje beru, tunge gadde, ashwagandha, nagakesari, alalekayi, manjista and gorochana.

“Except during the month of Ashada, we are crowded all year. We also have ‘homa’ items,” says Vinay.

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City’s home-remedy stores going strong for generations

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